Oxford History: The High


127: Yorkshire Building Society and 129: Virgin Money

127 and 129

Nos. 127 (left) and 129 (right) were built in 1897/8. Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 16 October 1897 (p. 6d) records that Kingerlee were to build new business premises and warehouses here, with a new passage to the Wheatsheaf in the middle. Both the old and the new building were in in the parish of All Saints until that church was deconsecrated in 1971.

The number 128 was sometimes given to No. 127, sometimes to the Wheatsheaf, and sometimes to 129 next door. It is not used today, with the result that No. 127 is followed by No. 129.

English Heritage: The present No. 129 in 1911, when it was Fribourg & Treyer

At the time of the 1911 census Frederick Allnatt (35) and his wife Emma (30) lived in the nine rooms over No. 127, where they ran a lodging house. Frederick Flight (63), a club steward, lived in the ten rooms over No. 129 with his wife Mary Ann, who ran a lodging house here, and their grandson.

Occupiers of the current (1898) building at 127/129 High Street


127 High Street

129 High Street


Purnell, Phipps & Purnell
Tailors, robe makers, hosiers,
hatters, shirt makers, outfitters

Manock & Ward,
Cabinet makers, upholsterers, decorators


Fribourg & Treyer
Cigar importers & cigarette manufacturers
(together with Evans & Evans
Tobacconists from 1916)




Gill & Co.
Ironmongers, heating engineers, & plumbers

G. T. Jones & Co. Ltd.,
Wine merchants

Ace of Hearts Snack Bar (1939)
Noted Snack Bar (1940–1945)
Samsworth & Francis Café (1947)
Lantern Café (1949–1962)


J. Sears & Co. Ltd.

Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society

Upstairs: Lantern Café (1949–1962),
Golden Lantern restaurant (1967–1968)
Bleu, Blanc Rouge (1970–1980+)


True-Form Shoes


Lilley & Skinner shoes


British School of Motoring

By 1993–1995+

National & Provincial Building Society


By 1998


Alfred Marks, later renamed
Adecco Employment Bureau

Upstairs: Indian Garden Tandoori


Starbucks Coffee


West World Leather & Casual Wear


Northern Rock bank


Virgin Money

Upstairs since c.2009: At Thai
(also Carfax Fish & Chips to c.2013)

Planning application approved in 2017
to turn top three floors into flats (17/02641/FUL)


Chelsea Building Society


Yorkshire Building Society

Former shops at 127 & 129 High Street

Old houses at 126-130 High StreetAbove: Engraving by Orlando Jewitt showing the former shops at 127 and 129 in 1834.
The ironmonger Austin Fussell is on the left (No. 127) and
Hobdell's watch & clock shop on the right (No. 129)
The shops are flanked by No. 126 to the left and 130 to the right looking the same as they do today.
The original passage to the Wheatsheaf can be seen between Fussell and Hobday's shops.

English Heritage: Photograph of Nos. 127 and 129 in 1892
This shows the former building on this site five years before demolition, again sandwiched between Nos. 126 and 130.
The preview seems stretched horizontally, but it is possible to see that big alterations
had been made to right-hand part of the former building between 1834 and 1892

In the mid-seventeenth centurey Nos. 127–129 High Street were known as Swinbrook's and were leased to the mercer Thomas Dennis.

Former buildings on this site

No. 127

In 1837 Henry Cooke the printer started to publish the Oxford City & County Chronicle (as the Oxford Chronicle and Berks & Bucks Gazette was first known) at the former shop here (see No. 119).

Occupiers of former building at 127 High Street

By 1830– 1834+

Austin Fussell, Ironmonger


Oxford Chronicle Office


Margetts & Eyles, Carvers & Decorators
(Oxford Chronicle office behind)




W. Gerring, Secondhand and new bookseller




William Henry Gee, New and secondhand bookseller


Vacant (with Joseph Vincent printer behind)


No. 129

In 1851 the upstairs of the former shop on this site was occupied by the widow Emily Hobdell (48), described as a silversmith, and her daughter Lucy (7), plus two servants.

Occupiers of former building at 129 High Street

By 1834– 1852+

H. B. Hobdell (1834, 1846);
Emily Hobdell (1852), Watch & clock maker


Evans & Bracher, Tailors, hosiers, robe-makers, & hatters


Frederick Evans & Co., Robe-makers & men’s hosiers


Purnell, Phipps & Purnell, Tailors and robe makers

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 30 September, 2018

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