Oxford History: The High


109–113: Shepherd & Woodward

109-113 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. The large building on the left of the photograph 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. But as all three shops are occupied by Shepherd & Woodward who give their address as 109–113, it is not immediately obvious that two numbers have been lost.

No. 113 (now called the Varsity shop) is the left hand side of the white block next door, which was rebuilt in 1932, and some of the original features, such as two seventeenth-century fireplaces, remain.

No. 113 together with No. 114 form a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1047254).

The boundary of the parishes of St Mary the Virgin and All Saints lies between Nos. 112 and 113.


At the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford, No. 113 was occupied by a Mr Strange.

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.

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:

[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.

[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 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 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.

Over the tailor’s shop that occupied the site of the present No. 113 in 1881 lived George Samuel Evens with his wife and six children, and a general servant. His eldest son aged 15 was an assistant tailor.

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, later also taking over No. 13.

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 109–113
 Darker background = former buildings on this site, now demolished


109 High St

110 High St

111 High St

112 High St

113 High St

Demolished for road


Now renumbered 109–113



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

R. Sheen

John Lucas
Boot & Shoe Maker

William London
Hair cutter

Anthony Ortelli
Looking-glass & Barometer maker, Artificial Flower & Feather Manufacturer, and Silversmith


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

Samuel Evens
Tailor & robe maker


T. B. Bickerton

William Way
Grocer & tea dealer

Bickerton’s Billiard Rooms

Mrs S. Horn
Perfumer & stationer

Chadwell Baine
Working cutler

James Evens
Tailor & hosier


in 1873
to make a gap
King Edward Street

John Goundrey

Way & Son
Tea & Italian warehousemen

George Samuel Evens
Tailor & robe maker


Joseph Vincent

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

Wilton Woodward & Co, Tailors, hosiers & robe makers (1923–1927)

Arthur Shepherd & Woodward
(incorporating Sydney Holland, Bootmaker

George Samuel Evens
Tailor & robe maker


Shepherd & Woodward
Tailors, robe makers, & hosiers

Above 109: Joseph Vincent
Copper-plate printer, die stamper, printer, & stationer

Above 110: Marlborough Secretarial Training School

Hookham & Co.
Tailors & outfitters


Shepherd & Woodward

No. 113 is now “The Varsity Shop”

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 7 November, 2016

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