Oxford History: The High


55 and 56: Both vacant

55 & 56

Nos 55 and 56 are two fairly modern brick houses. They were built by New College to replace three houses it had bought in 1863. They were in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

Former No. 55 (left)

At the time of the 1841 census the chemist Richard Jones lived here over the shop with his younger wife Mary and their five children, plus two chemist's apprentices and a servant girl.

In 1851 Charles Laker, a widowed grocer of 29, lived over the shop with his one-year-old daughter, a grocer’s assistant, a housekeeper, and a servant. A second family headed by a college servant also lived over No. 55. By the next year he had moved to No. 69 on the other side of the road.

In 1861 and 1871 Frederick Timms, a greengrocer who had his shop here, lived over the premises with his family. In 1881 he was living in retirement here.

Former No.  56 (right)

This occupies the site of two earlier small houses that were part of the East Gate.

At the time of the 1841 census the linen draper George Sergeant lived here over his shop with his wife Emma and their two small children, plus three young shop assistants, an apprentice, a lodger, and two femaie servant.s

In 1851 census Ebenezer Tarry was living above the shop with two of his four draper’s assistants and a house servant. The living premises were unoccupied in 1861.

Frederick Flight, the confectioner here and at 1 High Street, went bankrupt with £900 in debts on 23 June 1887.

In 1863 the Hungarian photographer Jules N. Guggenheim advertised that he had moved from the Cowley Road to more commodious premises at 56 High Street. At the time of the 1871 census he was living here over his studio with his wife and children. They were still here in 1881, with a total of eight children.

In 1911 Henry Bacon (63), an accountant, lived over this shop with two servants.

In the twentieth century the shop became a photographers’ shop again, occupied by Gillman & Soame, a business that still survives.

Occupiers of 55 High Street
Darker background = former building on this site, now demolished


Richard Jones, Chemist & druggist

Until 1851

Charles Laker, Grocer

By 1861–1880

Frederick Timms, Fruiterer & general shop (later General dealer)


J. Corbett, General dealer


University lodgings


George Ernest Weeks, Confectioner


Miss Eva Gale (1905) then Miss E. Shipperlee (1906–7), Fruiterer


Food Reform Supply Stores (1908)

George Gardiner (restaurant) (1910–11 only)
George Gardiner (architect & surveyor) (from 1911)


Wootten’s Motor Cycle Garage (also at No. 56 from 1919–1925)
renamed Wootten’s Motor Showrooms (from 1923)

Upstairs to 1921: George Gardiner (architect & surveyor)


George Leslie’s Studio Ltd (incorporating Gillman & Hills & Saunders)
Photographers and Hills & Saunders, Fine art dealers (1934)

John Howes, cycle dealer, with
Mrs G. Davies, Café (1939)

Howes Cycles Ltd (1941)


C. Wright, Furrier


Oxford Coin Centre, Coin dealers

By 1990–1995+

Joe Austin’s florist

By 1998–2003

Goggles, Eyeware consultants


Sassi Shoes






Occupiers of 56 High Street
Darker background = former building on this site, now demolished


Robert James, Confectioner, and
George & John Sargent, Linen drapers

1846, 1852

Ebenezer Joseph Tarry, Draper & mercer


J. Guggenheim, Photographer and dealer in old china, prints, &c.


Frederick Flight, Pastry cook, confectioner, bread & biscuit maker


James Soame junior, Photographic artist, printseller, & picture-frame maker

Wheelers (later Eastgate Coal Exchange), Coal merchants

N. S. Herbert, Pastry cook & confectioner (1889 only)


(Some confusing
during this period)

Eastgate Coal Exchange (John Wheeler) (to 1896)

Miss A. E. Stew, Draper

at 56a: Jonathan Hind, Monumental mason

Henry Bacon, Tobacconist & billiard rooms
[Billiard rooms become university lodgings from 1895]


George Cooke, Tobacconist (1899–1903)

Hadley Vicary Storey, Bookseller (1905)

Frank Smith, Stationer (1906–7)

Miss E. Smith, Stationer (1909–11)

Valentine Clutten, Stationer (1911–15)

William Hunt, The Pioneer Typewriter Dealer (1915–17)


Wootten’s Motor Cycle Garage(Motor Showrooms from 1925)
(also at No. 55)


F. E. Wootten, Wireless manufacturers


Lomman & Co., Tailors


Gillman & Soame Ltd (incorporating Hills & Saunders), Photographers


County Bookshop


Indian Emporium, Gift shop

By 1998–2000

Auguri Fashion


Neal’s Yard Remedies [moved to Westgate Centre]


Vacant (temporary pop-up shop for Sahara in 2018)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 6 October, 2018

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