Oxford History: The High


106: University of Oxford shop

Tackley's Inn

No. 106 (left) and No.107 (right) originally formed Tackley’s Inn, an academic hall built in 1320 . The pair of houses, which are owned by Oriel College, were refronted in the eighteenth or nineteenth century and are Grade II* listed (List Entry No. 1047253). They have a fine medieval vaulted cellar.

Tackley’s Inn was built c.1320 by Roger le Mareschal, who had the living of Tackley. Adam de Brome acquired it from him in 1324 as a home for Oriel College, who still own the building. It is one of the very few surviving examples of a medieval academic hall. The building was divided into two as early as 1438, and this side then became known as The Tavern. In 1549 the whole hall and the shops in front were leased to Garbrand Harkes, a Dutch Protestant refugee, who sold books from the ground floor and wine from the vaulted cellar. It remained a bookshop until the end of the seventeenth century, and then became Puffett’s Coffee House.

The 1772 Survey of Oxford shows No. 106 in the occupation of a Mr Wood.

Wheeler photograph back

By the 1830s No. 106 had again become a bookshop.

At the time of the 1851 census James Wheeler lived over the shop with his six children and two general servants. His eldest son, William, is described as a bookseller’s assistant in 1851 and 1861.

Wheeler & Day advertised in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 28 October 1865 that they had purchased Edward Bracher’s photographic business (formerly at 26 High Street) and had removed it to this shop, where they had erected “a large and commodious Photographic Gallery”. That advertisement incorporated a drawing of their new shop.

In 1871 the upstairs quarters were let out to Miss Sarah Bliss, a lodging house keeper.

From 1872 William Henry Wheeler worked here on his own as a bookseller & stationer as well as a photographer. At the time of the 1881 census he was living over his shop with his wife and three children, plus a governess and general servant.

He remained here until 1918.


Right: Back of a small card with a photograph taken by Wheeler. He is using the University Crest, showing an open book surrounded by three crowns.

E C. Launchbury had this shop from 1919 to 1962, running it first as the Oriel Restaurant (left). The house then had a single dormer window in a different position from the present two.

In the 1940s E. Launchbury & Son became a tobacconist and confectioner (below), and Mrs Launchbury ran a hotel upstairs

Occupiers of 106 High Street


James Luff Wheeler, Bookseller


Wheeler & Day, Booksellers, stationers, and photographers, and Office of the Oxford Directory


William Henry Wheeler, Bookseller, stationer, & photographer


Oriel Restaurant (C. Launchbury Ltd)

106A: Achille Serre Ltd, Dyers


E. C. Launchbury & Son, Tobacconists & Confectioners

Mrs C. Launchbury, Boarding house (to 1954)


The Tackley Hotel & Restaurant

106A: William & Glyns Bank Ltd (Royal Bank of Scotland from 1985)


Apple, Computer shop


The University of Oxford Shop

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 25 November, 2017

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