Oxford History: The High


84: The Grand Café

84 High Street

84 High Street when Cooper's

No. 84 is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1047292), belonging to University College. The picture above right is a detail of a painting by William Matthison, showing when it was Cooper’s marmalade shop in c.1905.

The1772 Survey of Oxford shows two people living at No. 84, sharing one entrance: Mr Sadler with a frontage of 3 yards 1 ft 9 in., and Mr Dickinson with a frontage of 4 yards 1 ft 4 in.

From 1813 the building was leased from the college by the landlord of the Angel Inn, and in the following ten years or so it was rebuilt with bedrooms and sitting-rooms upstairs, and a pillared coffee-room occupying the whole of the ground floor.

Nos. 83 and 84 (on the right in the engraving below) have no front entrances in 1820, as they were approached internally from the inn, and not from the street.

Angel Hotel

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 Thomas Cooper (1811–1862) (who until then had a grocer’s shop across the road at 46 High Street) paid £2,350 for the residue of a forty-year lease on Nos. 83 and 84. He let out No. 83, and used 84 as his shop with living accommodation upstairs: he can be seen here as a widower with four children in the 1861 census. He is described as a tea dealer, while his visiting brother, Henry, is described as a tea merchant. Also living over the shop were Francis’s widowed sister (who was his shop assistant), and his niece (who was his housekeeper), and six servants.

In 1861 the accommodation above No. 84 was occupied by Walter Faulkes, a lodging-house keeper.

Francis Thomas Cooper's famous son Frank Cooper (1844–1927) inherited the family business in 1867 and expanded into the shop next door at No. 83. In 1874 Mrs Sarah Cooper, then aged 24, made 76 lb of marmalade to her secret recipe, and sold what the family could not eat.

Frank Cooper advertisement

Left: No mention of Oxford Marmalade is made in this advertisement from Harrod’s Directory of 1876

Mrs Cooper’s marmalade grew so popular that in 1900 the marmalade factory of Frank Cooper Ltd opened in the Victoria Buildings in Park End Street. (The business moved to the Botley Road in 1947, and away from Oxford in 1967.) Frank Cooper’s shop remained at No. 84 until 1919.

From the 1867 until the 1950s Nos. 83 and 84 formed a single shop. It was taken over by Twining Brothers, Grocers in 1919, and then was a Co-op and a Post Office.

In 1987, when the post office here was closed down, Frank Cooper Ltd took the shop over again and sold marmalade here as well as housing a small museum, but it only survived for a few years. The English Teddy Bear Company had an equally short life, and then the Grand Café opened in the mid-1990s.

In the early 1970s, a transfer of property between The Queen’s College and University College brought No. 85 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.

Occupiers of 84 High Street

1839, 1846, 1852

Angel Hotel (Samuel Young Griffith)


Francis Cooper and his aon Frank Cooper (jointly with No. 83 from 1869)

1856–1867: F. T. Cooper, Italian warehouse & winemerchant [Executors of F. T. Cooper in 1867]
1869–1872: F. T. Cooper, Italian warehouse & winemerchant
1875–1876: F. & A. Cooper, Italian warehousemen, grocers, wine & spirit merchants
1880–1919: Frank Cooper, Italian warehouseman


Twining Brothers, Grocers (jointly with No. 83)


T. Pritchard, Ironmonger


Oxford & District Co-operative Society Ltd, Café
(jointly with No. 83 to 1947, and with 83 and 85 in 1949+)


Not listed: probably part of the Co-op grocery at 85 next door


High Street Sub-Post Office


Frank Cooper Ltd Museum


English Teddy Bear Company


The Grand Café

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 August, 2016

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