Oxford History: The High


109–112: Shepherd & Woodward

109 & 110 High Street

The shops that were originally numbered 109 and 110 were obliterated by Oriel College in 1873 to make room for King Edward Street. This large building on the west corner of King Edward Street replaced the original Nos. 111 and 112, but was allocated the two missing numbers (109 and 110). This resulted in the anomaly (which still exists today) that Nos. 109 and 110 are followed immediately by No. 113 next door.. But as this too is now occupied by Shepherd & Woodward who give their address as 109–113, it is not immediately obvious that two numbers have been lost.

Nos. 109–112 have always been in the parish of St Mary-the-Virgin, with the boundary with All Saints parish runnind down the right-hand side of this building.

The tenants of Swan Court (the entrance of which was between the old Nos. 110 and 111) and of the surrounding area were given notice in the Oxford Chronicle of 22 October 1870 that Oriel and Lincoln College intended to build this new street from High Street to Bear Lane.

The well-known baker's shop Boffin's opened at the original No. 109 in 1847 before moving to 109 High Street.

The present pair of shops

John Goundrey, the ironmonger whose terraced shop at No. 108 had to be demolished when the road was built beside it, moved across to the new shop on this corner, the present No. 109, as soon as it was built. The following report appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 11 October 1873:

[Left side, now 109] At the opposite corner [to the shop at 108 High Street] Mr. J. Goundry [sic], ironmonger, has had erected a house similar to Messrs. Hitchcock's, only not quite so elaborate. The ground floor and basement of the premises will be entirely taken up for business purposes, and a private entrance at the end leads to a staircase lighted from the top, which also affords an opening for ventilation. On each floor, as at Messrs. Hitchcock's, is a spacious corridor, communicating with the different rooms, which number twenty in all.

[Right side, now 110] Adjoining Mr Goundry's house is another of the same character, but in the High-street, built for Mr. Way, grocer. The shop is 67 feet long, and has a frontage to the public footway at the rear. The kitchen and offices, together with the drawing and dining rooms, are situate on the first floor, and on the other floors are nine bed rooms and a bath room. The private entrance in the rear opens into a hall, paved with tesselated tiles, and leading to the staircase, which is of Portland stone. Lighting and ventilation are obtained to the staircase and the corridor by means of an area, 106 feet by 60 feet, open on one side all the way up, in consequence of an ancient right of light which belonged to the premises lately pulled down. This and the foregoing house have been fitted up with every convenience. Mr. Codd was the architect, and Mr. Selby the builder. Mr. Goundry's house cost a little under 3000l., while Mr. Way's came to about 1200l. The latter was opened three weeks ago.

At the time of the 1881 census John Goundrey lived upstairs at the present 109 High Street with his wife and four children, plus a cook, a nurse, and a general servant. He is described as employing ten men and eight boys.

Next door at the present No. 110 was Mrs Elizabeth Widbin Way, a 66-year-old widowed grocer, living over the shop with her three sons and two daughters, two grandchildren, and a domestic servant. Her three sons were respectively a grocer, chemist, and a wine & spirit merchant. In 1901 Henry and James Way still lived over their shop.

English Heritage: Standen & Co. at No. 110 in 1912

Shepherd & Woodward

Shepherd & Woodward

Arthur Shepherd bought his first Oxford business from a tailor called Arthur Brockington and opened at 62 Cornmarket Street in 1877. He then moved to 6 Cornmarket, and in 1907 demolished this shop together with its neighbour at No. 8 Cornmarket to form a large new shop. But it was not until 1929 that he amalgamated his business with that of Mr Wilton Woodward who was then operating at 110 High Street, and they were able to expand into the corner shop next door, and in 1954 also taking over No. 113.

Dennis Venables was apprenticed to Arthur Shepherd in 1927, and bought his share of the partnership in 1945.

The advertisement on the right dates from the 1950s.

Shepherd & Woodward is still a family firm, owned by John and Peter Venables and their family, and they also controlled it from 1968 until their father Dennis retired in about 2000, when John Venables passed control to the present managing director, Adrian Palfreyman, the husband of his daughter Tracie.


Occupiers of the site of the present 109–112 High Street
 Darker background = former buildings on this site, now demolished


Demolished for road

The new pair of shops shown above, on the site of the former
Nos. 111/112 but now renumbered 109–112

Former No. 109

Former No. 110

Present No. 109
on site of former No. 111 

Present No. 110
on site of former No. 112


Edwards & Hewett, Ironmongers & Engineers
(and at 108 High Street)

R. Sheen

John Lucas
Boot & Shoe Maker

William London
Hair cutter


Andrew Bridgwater
Tallow maker

Henry Gibbs
Family grocer
& tea dealer

Joseph Bickerton
Billiard rooms

Joseph Lucas
Boot & shoe maker


James Boffin
(and at Queen Street)


Joseph Bickerton
Billiard room proprietor (and at Radcliffe Square)

Frederick Trash
Bookseller, stationer, printer

Chadwell Charles Bayne
Working Cutler


T. B. Bickerton

William Way
Grocer & tea dealer

Bickerton’s Billiard Rooms

Mrs S. Horn
Perfumer & stationer

Chadwell Baine
Working cutler


Demolished in 1873
to make space for
King Edward Street

John Goundrey

Way & Son
Tea & Italian warehousemen


Joseph Vincent

Standen & Co.
Tailors & robe makers
(to 1920)

Wilton Woodward & Co, Tailors, hosiers & robe makers

Arthur Shepherd & Woodward
incorporating Sydney Holland, Bootmaker


Shepherd & Woodward
Tailors, robe makers, & hosiers
(together with No. 113 next door from 1954)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 October, 2018

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