Oxford History: The High


46 & 47: Sahara

46-47 High Street

Nos. 46 & 47 occupy this green block, which was rebuilt by St Edmund Hall in 1975 in the late eighteenth-century style. It was designed by Gilbert Howes, and incorporates college accommodation above.

No. 46 was owned by Tyrrell Knapp until his death in 1869, and it was then put up for auction.

Nos. 46 & 47 were turned into a single shop in 2005.

The former 46 High Street

Francis T. Cooper was originally a hatter and hosier in the former shop that was on this site. After acting as an agent for Ridgeway’s Tea he went over to become a grocer in about 1845, and in the 1851 census is described as “Tea dealer and Italian warehouse”. He was then living over the shop with his wife Decima, his three young sons Frank, Frederick, and Arthur, his porter and three shop assistants, and two servants. He also found room for two lodgers (a barrister and his wife). In 1856 Cooper moved his shop to 83 High Street, where his son Frank was to create Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade.

It then became a draper’s shop under Henry Stew, who at the time of the 1861 census was a widower living upstairs with his four young children, three servants, and three lodgers (two of his shop assistants and the Curate of St Mary Magdalen Church). The shop was then owned by Tyrrell Knapp of Headington Hill, and was auctioned under the terms of his will in 1869. It was described as a large shop extending to a depth of 116 feet with a plate-glass front, a sitting room and drawing room on the first floor, nine bedrooms, a kitchen, cellar, stable, offices, garden, and yeard, with a side entrance. It was currently let at £90 per annum. Henry Stew remained the tenant, and was here in 1871 with a new wife and three more children. By 1881 he and his wife were here with five children.

The former 47 High Street

Miss Elizabeth Dry, a fundholder, lived at No. 47 with a servant at the time of the 1851 census. It was unoccupied in 1861. In 1871 the physician Henry Banks Spencer lived here with his wife, daughter, mother, and brother as wll as an assistant surgeon and a cook, housemaid, and groom. It was either a private house or lodging house rather than a shop from the 1830s until it was rebuilt in 1975.

Occupiers of 46 & 47 High Street
Darker background = occupier of former building on this site


46 High Street

47 High Street

By 1839–1853 

Francis Thomas Cooper
Hatter, hosier etc. (to 1852)
Grocer & Italian warehouse (from 1853)

Miss Elizabeth Dry


Henry Stew
Draper & mercer

F. Winter Clarke, General Medical Practitioner


Henry Banks Spencer, M.D., Surgeon


T. Carter & Frederick Carter, Lodging house


Ernest W. Twining
(later Twining Bros.)


Mrs C. Knott, Lodging house


Walter James Carter


Percy R. Gillam
University lodging house


Andrews (Oxford) Ltd., Saddlers


Not listed:
probably university lodgings


Nicholson & Kenn, Works of art


Slatter & Rose Ltd.
Booksellers, newsagents & stationers


Wyman’s, Bookseller
(& Post Office in 1962)

John Menzies in 1968 only


Vacant/Being rebuilt

Vacant/Being rebuilt






Save the Children Charity Shop

By 1998–2004

Sahara, Ladies’ fashion



©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 9 February, 2017

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