Oxford History: The High

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118: Breckon & Breckon


118 High Street

No. 118 dates from the sixteenth century, but the front has been much altered, with only the two top windows surviving. It is a Grade II* listed building (List Entry No. 1047257).

At the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford, No. 118 was occupied by Mr Bridle and Mr Cook.

This was a chemist’s shop from at least the 1840s to 1935. At the time of the 1851 census the chemist was Francis W. Edwards, and he lived over the shop with his wife, two daughters, and two servants. Henry C. Upjohn, another chemist, is listed here with his family in the 1861 census, and he was still here in 1881.

From 1879 until his death the well-known botanist George Claridge Druce (1850–1932) had his chemist shop here, and was living over the shop at the time of the 1881 census with his 17-year-old assistant. He was one of the first people in Oxford to have a telephone line put in, and in 1899 he had the simple number “Oxford 12”. He served on Oxford City Council from 1892, and in 1900 he was Mayor of Oxford. He plays a small part under his real name in Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson.

This is the middle of the three shops ooccupied by the tailor Frederick G. Mullins from 1912 to the 1940s. An advertisement from 1929 reads:

Here in these little ‘Old World’ Shops Nos. 117–119 in the famous High Street, nearly opposite ‘The Mitre’ Hotel, can be seen beautiful silks in wonderful shades for Gentlemen’s Neckwear; these can be made into ties to your own designs and colourings in one hour. Do not leave this old City without seeing them, you will not be asked to buy. Prices 1/6, 2/6, 3/6, 4/6.

South Midland Motor Services advertisement

From 1934 to 1968 South Midland Motor Services were based here.

In November 2004 the shop front was destroyed by an accident.

Occupiers of 118 High Street

1839–1846+

Edward Rogers Kett, Chemist & druggist

1852, 1853

Francis William Edwards, Chemist & druggist

1861–1872

Henry Charles Upjohn, Chemist

1875–1876+

E. Burbridge, Chemist

1879–1907

George Claridge Druce, MA, FLS
Pharmaceutical chemist

1908–1920

Clement Bellamy, Pharmaceutical chemist

1921–1933

Druce & Co., Chemists

1934–1936

Frederick G. Mullins, Tailor

1939–1956

South Midland Motor Services Ltd, Motor coach proprietors

1958–1968

South Midland Motor Services Ltd

1970–1996

A-Plan Protection Ltd, Insurance brokers (jointly with No. 117)

2000–2006

Mices.com, Computers

2007–present

Breckon & Breckon

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 5 August, 2016

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