124: All Bar One
No. 124 is the left-hand half of a seventeenth-century house, but with its neighbour at 125 was largely rebuilt in the nineteenth century. They are jointly Grade II (List Entry No. 1047259).
In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. A single house then stood on the site of Nos. 123 and 124: it was in the occupation of a Mr Brockis, and its double frontage measured 14 yards 2 feet 4 inches.
On 8 April 1837 an advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal advertising a new establishment just opened at 124 High Street, opposite the Mitre and nearly opposite the market, run by Foster junior and Bailey. It sold linen drapery, silk mercery, hosiery, and haberdashery.
After listing many of the specific items sold, including muslins, French and Scotch ginghams, French cambrics and handkerchiefs, shawls, socks, flannels, evening dresses, French flowers and feathers, baby linen, ladies' and children's stays, and straw bonnets, it adds: “N.B. Funerals completely furnished, with a strict adherence to economy.”
Charles Foster junior is listed in Robson's Directory for 1839 as the draper at this shop.
On the morning of Sunday 13 March 1842 a serious fire started at 123 High Street next door (reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 19 March 1842), “completely destroying … Mr. C. Foster’s house and elegant shop (fitted up recently at an immense expense)”. On 9 April 1842 it published a notice of an appeal to reimburse all the shopmen and women and servants who lost all their personal possessions.
Charles Foster junior returned to the rebuilt premises after the fire, and by the time of the 1851 census he was living over his pair of shops at 123 and 124 High Street with his wife and seven young children, a tailor’s clerk, three general servants, a governess, and an errand boy. He was still there in 1861 and 1871.
For over 150 years, from the 1830s to 1999, this shop was occupied by just two firms: Foster & Co. for 50 years or more, and Sydney Acott (latterly Russell & Acott) for 105 years. (Together with 123 and 125, this building is not properly marked on the 1876 map of Oxford and was unoccupied at the time of the 1881 census, suggesting that major rebuilding work was then taking place.)
Occupiers of 124 High Street since 1839
jnr & Co, Linen drapers & mercers
Foster & Co., Drapers & mercers (merged with Parsons at No. 123 by 1852)
Acott & Co.,
Musical instrument dealers & warehouse
All Bar One