Oxford History: The High


125: Whitewall Galleries

125 White Wall

No. 125 is the right-hand half of a seventeenth-century house. The cellar below this shop has some walling that may be medieval.

Nos. 124 and 125 were heavily altered 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. No. 125 was then in the occupation of a Mrs Stevens, and its frontage measured 6 yards 1 foot 6 inches.

On the morning of Sunday 13 March 1842 a serious fire started at 123 High Street two doors away (reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 19 March 1842), and it spread to this house: “The roof and upper part of Mr. Marshall’s were also destroyed, and the injury to the lower part, by the attempts made to prevent the encroachment of the fire, was such as will render it necessary to re-build the whole”.

James Russell started his music business in this building around 1850. He moved to No. 120 High Street in the early 1860s, to No. 124 in 1952, where he merged with Acott’s.

At the time of the 1851 census, the premises upstairs appear to have been let out to Henry Harper (an assistant librarian at the Bodleian) and his wife Cecilia (a teacher of music), with their two children, and Miss Rose Frost, a teacher of dancing. They have one servant.

In 1861 the upstairs living accommodation was unoccupied, and in 1871 Charles Foster at 123/134 next door had expanded into it.

Together with 123 and 124, 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 taking place.

Occupiers of 125 High Street

1839, 1846

William Marshall, Music seller & Teacher of Music

By 1852–1861+

James Russell, Music & musical instrument seller (and at 5 Turl Street)


Foster & Co., Tailors, robe makers, and Indian outfitters (also at Nos. 123 and 124)


Oxford Wine Company


Town & County Wine Company Ltd


Castle & Co Ltd, Wine & spirit merchants


James Walker Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Ltd, Jewellers (1970/1)

Hallmark, Jewellers (1972)


Check Fashions

Before 1993–2006

The Body Shop


Jack Wills


Aubin & Wills


Black Sheep Galleries


Whitewall Galleries

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 7 November, 2016

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