Oxford History: The High


69–70: Pens Plus

69-70 High Street

These are the eighth and ninth in the terrace of eleven houses and shops belonging to Magdalen College that is attached to the back of Magdalen Gate house. This terrace was rebuilt subsequent to the widening of Magdalen Bridge that took place in 1772–8.

Nos. 69 and 70 are the two halves of this building, and were united as one shop in c.1990. They were in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

It has a modern stuccoed front, but there is an eighteenth-century staircase and panelling inside. The building is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1115468).

According to Salter, at the time of the Survey of Oxford in 1772, before the widening of Magdalen Bridge and the rebuilding of this area, the former two houses/shops on this site were occupied by Mr Watson (a grocer) and Mr Homes.

The present No. 69

At the time of the 1841 census the grocer James Dormor was living over his shop with his wife and three young children, plus a shopman. He was still there with his wife in 1851, and they now had seven children and three servants, and his assistant grocer as well as a lodger (a solicitor’s widow) and her servant were living with them.

In 1861, Charles Laker, the grocer, lived over his shop at No. 69: he was a widower with one daughter and his sister was his housekeeper. Laker was still here in 1891.

In 1901 Walter Edward Andrews, the proprietor of the china shop downstairs, lived over No. 69 with his wife and five children. In 1911 he occupied the fourteen rooms over both Nos. 69 & 70 with his wife and their son, plus a boarder.

The present No. 70

At the time of the 1841 census Thomas Walker, a college servant, lived here with his wife and young daughter and their two servants.

In 1851 this was still a private house, occupied by Richard Blake, the Common Room man of University College, and his wife and servant.

Catherine Whiting, a 33-year-old widow, lived here in 1861 with her four-year-old daughter, her sister, and her elderly father. It appears to have been unoccupied in 1871.

In 1881 a journeyman tailor called Roger Simmons lived here with his wife, three children, and niece.

In 1891 Hannah Quarterman kept a lodging house here, probably aided by her two daughters.

In 1911 the premises were occupied jointly with No. 69 above by the shop proprietor.

Occupiers of 69 & 70 High Street


69 High Street

70 High Street

By 1839–1851 

James Dormor
Grocer etc.

Various tenants:
Thomas Walker (1846)
Richard Blake (1851)
Robert Simmons (1861)
Mrs J. Whiting (1866–1871)
Robert Simmons (1870–1880)
John Owen, university lodgings (1884–1887)
Mrs Quarterman, university lodgings (1889–1896)


Charles Laker
Grocer & wine merchant


Walter E. Andrews & Son, China & glass dealers


H. Kelson & Son. Tailors,
Hosiers, outfitters, & robemakers


P. W. Powell, Antique dealer (1932 only)

Eamonson & Stanton
Health food stores (1934 only)

Oxford Health Food Stores (from 1935)


R. J. Bartlett


Scottish Amicable Building Society

Oxford Health Food Stores


Russell Butler & Marks
Auctioneers & estate agents, also agents for
Bristol & West Building Society


Miell & Co.

R. C. Phillips Ltd, Pen distributors
(Writing Instruments and Handwriting Consultant)

By 1993–present

Pens Plus
Dealers and repairers of vintage & modern writing equipment

Upstairs since 1984: Part of Stanford House

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 30 June, 2018

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