Oxford History: The High


58: Taylors and 59–60: Vacant

58, 59, & 60 High Street

No. 58 on the left of the above photograph and No. 59 in the middle are the two halves of a fine Georgian house, which is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1047283). The present No. 60 on the right was rebuilt in the 1930s, and is now linked to No. 59 to form one shop.

These houses were in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957. Since 1849 the building has been owned by Magdalen College, and the rooms upstairs are known as their Longwall Annexe.

The numbering is confusing here. The whole Georgian house was formerly numbered 58, leaving the number 59 free for the shop tacked on to the corner. But after it was divided into two in 1894, it was renumbered 58 and 59, and the corner shop was then allocated the number 60. (This had the knock-on effect that the Magdalen Gate House on the other side of the road, which had formerly been numbered 60 and 61, became just 61.)

The Georgian house (formerly No. 58, now Nos. 58 & 59)

The former building on this site, called the Tower House, was at the east end of the East Gate of the city. For details of the leaseholders of this building from 1666 to 1772, see H. E. Salter, Oxford City Properties (Oxford Historical Society, 1926), pp. 311–12. The city sold the Nos. 58 and 59 to the mason John Townsend in 1772, after the Paving Commissioners commanded that part of the premises should be pulled down.

At the time of the 1841 census this house was occupied by Henry Dixon, an independent gentleman, and his wife Caroline and their five children, plus one male an four female servants. In 1849 Magdalen College bought this house from Dixon and from then until 1894 it was the boarding house of Magdalen College School from about the middle of the nineteenth century until 1894. In his book Old Magdalen Days (1913) Lewis Tuckwell, the Precentor of Magdalen College choir, wrote,

“Hitherto Choristers whose homes were not in Oxford were lodged in small houses in Long Wall Street. This was not in any way a happy arrangement, and in 1849, at the suggestion of Mr Millard [the Revd James E. Millard, the new Master of Magdalen College School], a large house in the lower part of High Street, now known as No. 58, was bought by the College of a Mr Dickson, and there the Choristers were placed under the care of the new Master.”

Thus the 1851 census shows the Revd James E. Millard living at No. 58 (now numbered 58/59) with 23 boarders aged from 8 to 16, plus the school matron, the school cook, and two housemaids.

By 1861 the school also occupied the house next door, No. 57. The census that year shows Millard living at the present Nos. 57 & 58/59 with 48 boarders and six servants.

Richard Hill was the next Master, and in 1871 his wife was here with their six children and 24 boarders.

Similarly in 1881 the then Master, the Revd Harmer C. Ogle, lived here with his two spinster sisters Helen and Camilla, and 33 boarders aged from 12 to 18, plus the school matron, cook, and six domestic servants.

The headmaster used the front entrance in the High, while the pupils used a side entrance around the corner. Kelly’s Directory for 1891 described that on the west side of Longwall Street there was:

“the scholars’ entrance to the head master’s boarding house, together with a private chapel for the use of the boarders. The private residence of the head master faces the High street, and is distinguished by the arms of the college placed over the entrance.”

In 1894 the school moved across the road into its new building on the west side of Cowley Place.

Soon after Magdalen College School had moved out, the Georgian house previously numbered 58 was divided into Nos. 58 and 59, with the former shop at the corner that had been No. 59 being allocated the number 60.

In 1911 James Chamberlain (70) and his wife Ellen (68), both described as lodging house keepers, lived over No. 58 with their daughter, while Henry George Chamberlain (48), also a lodging house keeper, lived over No. 59 with his wife and his nephew. In 1918 the building became one again and was a hotel, but twenty years later was split into two again

The former building at No. 60 (demolished in the late 1930s)

For details of the leaseholders of this building from 1628 to 1842, see H. E. Salter, Oxford City Properties (Oxford Historical Society, 1926), pp. 313–14.

From the 1840s to the 1930 this was a printseller's shop, a Japanese art store, a tobacco store, and finally an umbrella makers. At the time of the 1841 census the printseller William Thompson lived here over his shop with his wife and three young children and two female servants.

Speedwell dry cleaning

The present group of shops

The new shop at No. 60 had opened as Halford's Cycle store by 1939, while No. 58 was an antique shop and Speedwell Cleaners were at No 59.

Photograph of Halford's in 1949

At the end of the 1960s the shops at No. 59 and 60 were combined into one.


Right: This advertisement for the Speedwell Cleaning Co. at 59 High Street dates from the 1950s

Occupiers of the present 58, 59 & 60 High Street

(58 & 59 were No. 58 in the nineteenth century, and 60 was 59. Grey background = earlier building on the site)


Present 58 High Street

Present 59 High Street

Present 60 High Street

By 1841–1849

Henry Dixon
Civil engineer

William Thompson
Print seller (later also Painter & Decorator)


Magdalen College School House
with the following Masters in residence:
Revd James E. Millard (by 1852–1861+)
Revd. Richard Hill, DCL (1866–1876)
Revd Harman Challoner Ogle, MA(1880–1887)
Revd W. E. Sherwood, MA (1889–1894)


W. R. Bowden
General printer, stationer,
& music seller

With Hartwell de la Garde
    Grissell, MA, FSA
    Chamberlain to H.H. The Pope
    from 1895–1897


A. W. Brazier
House valuer & furnisher


James Chamberlain
Lodging house <

Mrs Quarterman
Lodging house

Norman Edward Minty
 Japanese art depot


Henry George Chamberlain
University Lodging house 

The Eastgate
Tobacco Store
(George Cooke & Co.)


Mrs Selby-Smith
Private Hotel




Bland & Son
Umbrella makers


Victor Afia
Antique textiles, oriental rugs

Lodging House

Halford Cycle Co. Ltd


Ronald Carpenter Ltd
Antique dealers


Speedwell Cleaning Co.


Oxford Travel Agency


Oxford Travel Centre


Parmenter’s Delicatessen


Harvey’s on the High
Sandwich takeaway
then Taylors


Shop called “Oxford” with various other services,
e.g. letting shop, Quickprint, Imperial Foreign Exchange


Souvenir shop
(with Gigafix computer repairs, now at 136 High Street)



©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 29 July, 2021

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