Oxford History: The High

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83: Oxford Bus Company


83 High Street

No. 83 is probably the only bus drivers’ rest room in the country to sport Ionic columns with the god Bacchus looking over the scrolls. It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1320571).

The building dates from the seventeenth century, and at the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford was recorded as occupied by two people: Mr Taylor (with a frontage of 4 yds 1 ft 3 in.) and Mr Bayliss (with a frontage of 2 yds 1 ft 3 in.).

It was greatly altered in the eighteenth century, when it became part of the Angel Inn (shown below in the 1820s, with No 83 second ffrom the right ). It was presumably at this time that its front entrance was removed, as it would be approached internally from the inn and not from the street.

In 1855 Samuel Young Griffith had put the declining Angel Inn up for sale, and while no buyer came forward for the main building, the grocer Francis Cooper paid £2,350 for the residue of a forty-year lease on Nos. 83 and 84, and for an annual rent of £120 had the former coffee room at No. 84 for his shop and living accommodation, while letting out this shop at No. 83.

In the 1860s No. 83 here was Henry Hine’s tailor’s shop, and the 1861 census shows him living over his shop with his family.

 

Angel Hotel

In 1867 Frank Cooper (1844–1927) inherited the family business at No. 84 next door from his father, and immediately expanded into this shop. It was over this side of the shop that his family actually lived and where Mrs Sarah Cooper made her famous Oxford Marmalade.

In 1871 Frank Cooper (26), as yet unmarried and described as a grocer & wine merchant, was living here with his brother Arthur (21), his aunt Mrs Ann Hill, who was his assistant, and his cousin Harriet Stone and Maria Morris, plus two servants.

The 1881 census shows Frank Cooper here with his wife Sarah and their four sons aged 6, 4, 2, and 1, as well as an assistant grocer (who presumably looked after the shop together with Mrs Cooper) and a housemaid and two nurses. (Interestingly, he is described as a station warehouse manager employing four men and 14 boys rather than as a grocer.) Frank Cooper Marmalade still survives today, though it is no longer a family firm or based in Oxford: it is made by Rank Hovis McDougall, which is now part of the Premier Foods Group.

Frank Cooper remained at Nos. 83 and 84 High Street until 1919, when the retail grocery shop was sold to Twining Brothers, who remained until about 1939. It then became a Co-op shop.

From about 1950 to 1976 the whole building was an annexe of University College.

In 1976 the Oxford Bus Company (then the City of Oxford Motor Services) moved here from its former home just two doors away at No. 85.

In the early 1970s, a transfer of property between The Queen’s College and University College brought No. 85 came under the same ownership as its neighbours to the east and the upper floors of Nos. 83–85 were made into a single unit, which has been occupied by students of University College since that date.

English Heritage: Nos. 83 & 84 in 1905

Occupiers of 83 High Street

1846

George Shrimpton, Boot & shoe maker

Upstairs: part of the Angel Hotel

By 1851–1852+

Robert Fletcher, Cabinet maker & upholsterer

1861–1867

Henry Hine, Tailor & hatter

1869–1919

To 1872: F. T. Cooper (jointly at No. 84), Italian warehouse
1875/6: F. & A. Cooper, Italian warehousemen, grocers, wine & spirit merchants
1880–1919: Frank Cooper, Italian warehouseman

1919–1939

Twining Brothers (jointly at No. 84), Grocers

1941–1943

T. Pritchard (jointly at No. 84), Ironmonger

1945–1949

Oxford & District Co-operative Society Ltd Café (jointly at No. 84)

1952–1975

University College annexe

1976–present

City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd, now Oxford Bus Company

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 August, 2016

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