Oxford History: The High

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44–45: Oxford Bus Company Ticket Shop


44-45 High Street

This large building is numbered 44 and 45, but is only one shop, with accommodation for St Edmund Hall upstairs.

There were formerly two separate shops on this site, but in 1968 they were rebuilt by St Edmund Hall as one double-fronted shop in the late eighteenth-century style. It was designed by Marshall Sissons.

The former No. 44

Eliza Clements, the widow of John Clements the watchmaker, who had been at No. 44 since 1808, was living over the shop at the time of the 1851 census with her two daughters (both dressmakers) and two sons (an engraver and a watchmaker). In 1871 the baker William Bayne lived over this house with the four bakers who worked under him.

The former No. 45

In 1851 John Hewitt (described in the census as a hairdresser) was living over No. 45 with his mother, sister, and a servant. In 1861 Richard P. Huthnance (described as “incapacitated for business”) lived here with his milliner wife and daughter, his three other children, an assistant milliner, and three servants, including a young messenger. In 1871 Henry Storr, a linen draper, lived here with his large family.

The two former houses on this site were combined as a cabinet maker's shop in the late 1870s, and the upstairs was probably used as part of the business, so that at the time of the 1881 census, Nos. 44 and 45 were both uninhabited.


Minty’s Furniture

Minty

By 1898 Norman Minty, the founder of the Minty Furniture firm, operated from this pair of shops. He also had No. 60. The firm remained at this shop until 1966.

The founder of the firm was Norman Edward Ernest Minty, who was born in Oxford in 1860. He was only 20 when he opened his shop at 45 High Street. In a workshop at the back, he made a wicker chair known as the “Varsity”, and it was said that every undergraduate had one. Minty eventually purchased 44 High Street, and moved the factory side of the business to Cherwell Street in St Clement’s.

During World War One, Minty’s made canvas good (including stretchers and tents) for the armed forces, and after the war the firm continued making marquees. Additional shops were opened in London in 1920 and Manchester in 1932.

Norman Minty died in 1934, and the firm was taken over by B.B. Bowles, the managing director. The advertisement on the left dates from the 1950s. In 1966 a new purpose-built factory and showroom opened on the Horspath Road industrial estate in Oxford; but in 1992 the firm went into receivership, and in 1994 it was sold for £1.1m to its rival, Cornwell Parker.

Occupiers of 44 & 45 High Street  
Darker background = former buildings on this site, now demolished

Date

44 High Street

45 High Street

1839

John Clements, Engraver, Watch & clock maker

{Alex & William Bayne, Bakers at 44A behind)

Harris & Co., Tailors

1846–1853+ 

John Hewitt, Perfumer

1861–1876

Maria Bellamy, Bookseller & stationer (jointly at 43)

(William Bayne, Baker at 44 High Street Passage behind)

M. Huthnance (1861)

Frederick W. Ansell
Upholsterer, cabinet maker,
& paper hanger
(1866–1876)

1880–1884

Frederick W. Ansell, Upholsterer, cabinet maker, & paper hanger

1887–1966

Norman Edward Ernest Minty, Cabinet maker, later Minty Ltd, House furnisher

1970–1980+

Campus, Boutique

By 1993–2006

Marie Curie Cancer Care charity shop

2007–2012

Red Cross charity shop

2013

Oxford Bus Company Ticket Shop

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 11 May, 2014

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