Oxford History: The High


104: Sanders Rare Prints & Maps

104 High Street

No. 104 dates from the sixteenth/seventeenth century, but has an early nineteenth-century bay front. It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1369389). It has always been in the parish of St Mary-the-Virgin.

It was known as the Salutation Inn during most of the sixteenth century. Anthony Wood recorded visits to this inn, which he describes as “Tom Wood’s Tavern” (emphasizing that this Tom Wood had once been his father’s servant).

On 3 December 1677 the City leased to Thomas Dye, a carrier, a piece of ground in St Mary’s parish with a property in front. This date may mark the building of 104 High Street. Initially he had an under-tenant, Dorothy Day, and he was still renting No. 104 in 1693.

By 1715, when Mrs Hambledon (formerly Mrs Dye) made a payment for an encroachment before the building, it was a coffee house. The next owner of the coffee house was a Mr Gregory, and then James Horseman from before 1753 to after 1771, with Mrs Horseman making tthe payment in 1781. The 1772 Survey of Oxford shows Mrs Horseman at both this shop and No. 105 next door.

Mr Smith (late Darlington) made the payment in 1799.

Sadler's shop in 1814

George Jubber paid for the encroachment in 1818, but an Oriel College plan of 1814 (right) shows that the shop was already in the occupation of C. J. Sadler.

The premises of Sadler are very wide, and include No. 105 next door as well.

The encroachment is presumably the corner that juts out on to the pavement. C. Sadler paid the city for it in 1835; and C. J. Sadler in 1855.

Later in the nineteenth century, Oriel bought the premises from the city. Since at least the 1840s until c.1927, there was a bookshop in this building.

At the time of the 1841 census the confectioner Charles Sadler (25) lived here with Elizabeth (24) and eight servants, most of whom doubtless worked in the shop.

At the time of the 1851 census the bookseller Charles Richard lived over the shop with his wife Ann and his children Charles (16), William (15), and Sarah (10), all of whom are described as shop assistants. Henry Taunt, the famous Victorian/Edwardian photographer, worked for Charles Richards for two years in the 1850s, when he was still a boy: he earned about five shillings a week and had to work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Only servants were at home at the time of the 1861 census.

In 1871 the bookseller William John Richards, described as the employer of two men and three boys, lived over his shop with his wife and two children, and two servants.

This freehold of this shop was auctioned by Mallam's while Richards had his business here, and the following advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal for 22 March 1884:

Lot 1.—The FREEHOLD BUSINESS PREMISES, No. 104, High-street, Oxford, now and for many years occupied by Mr. W. J. Richards as a yearly tenant, at a rental of £100 per annum; comprising an excellent Shop, having a frontage to the street of 13ft., with an extensive wine merchant's cellar in the basement, measuring 60ft. by 10ft., and a Dwelling House and Business Premises, containing eleven rooms, exclusive of kitchen, scullery, larder, knife-house, coal cellar, and two wc.'s; also a HOUSE in th rear of the above, containing rooms now used for workshops, warehouses, and show rooms. Land Tax £3 8s. 4d.; and annual rent to the City for pavement entrance to cellar, &c., of 4s.

In 1901 Frederick Chaundy, then just a manager but later to be the bookshop’s owner, lived over the shop with his wife, son, and servant.

It has been occupied by Sanders of Oxford since 1927. The author Brian Aldiss worked as an assistant here from 1947 to 1955.

Photograph showing the Sanders shop in 1949

Under the floor

Left. The underside of the ground floor as seen from Sanders’ cellar, 2003.

The floor is still supported by the same unfashioned parts of trees as it was in the sixteenth century.

Henry Taunt remembered his days in this shop in his book Oxford illustrated by camera and pen (1911):

An Old Book Shop: 104 High Street

Opposite the new buildings of Brazenose College, just before Oriel Street is reached, at 104 High Street, where the shops stand out into the street, will be found an Old Book Shop, one of the interesting places among the many in Oxford. This has been an old book shop now for something approaching a century, and the Author, when a boy some 60 years ago, worked in it, and learned here some of his book lore. It was an old book shop then, but has been extended much farther back and made three times the size to accommodate the vastly increased number of books. An immense stock of second-hand books will be found, with many remainders, and the proprietor, Mr. F.W. Chaundy, lays himself out to secure scarce books or others required. He is Agent in Oxford for the Medici Prints, and has a number of the older Arundel Society’s publications. The variety of stock is very great, and book-lovers and others will find the place a considerable attraction. Among old customers he values the patronage he has received from Messrs. Gladstone, Ruskin, William Morris, Oliver Wendell Holmes, the king of Siam and many others.

In Sweet Thames run softly (1940), Robert Gibbings wrote:

… I went on to “The High”, to visit my friend, Mr Sanders, at “Salutation House”. This is as cosy a bookshop as one could desire, retaining that atmosphere of geniality and ease which no doubt existed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the House was known as the Salutation Inn. Davenant and Shakespeare almost certainly visited this resort, and it is on record in the registers of St Mary’s parish that Anthony Wood and Sir Kenelm Digby were carried home from it in a condition which would to-day be described as “tight”. At one time there was a bear-pit behind the house.

Occupiers of 104 High Street

By 1814–1841

Charles James Sadler, Confectioner & Fruiterer
Charles Sadler in 1841 census

By 1846–1859+

Charles Richards, Bookseller and Auctioneer & appraiser


William John Richards, Bookseller


George Tyrrell, Bookseller


William George’s Sons, Booksellers (old & new)


Chaundy, Booksellers
Frederick William Chaundy, 1907–1918;
Leslie Frederick Chaundy, 1919–1922;
Chaundy & Cox, 1923 only


Dulau & Company, Booksellers & publishers


Sanders of Oxford, Rare Prints & Maps

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 18 September, 2021

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