Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Arthur Edward Skipper (1874–1964)

Mayor of Oxford 1941/2

Arthur Edward Skipper was born at Kings Lynn in Norfolk in 1874. His parents were William Skipper (born in Marsham, Norfolk in 1838) and Sarah Rose Barber (born at St Pancras, Middlesex and baptised there on 4 January 1829).

His parents were married at St Peter Parmentergate Church in Norwich on 30 January 1860, and their eldest child, Willie Skipper, was born in Cambridge in 1861. Their next three children were born at Bethnal Green, Middlesex: Albert George Skipper (1864/5), Clarissa Skipper (1867) and Herbert Jones Skipper (1868).

At the time of the 1871 census Arthur's parents William Skipper (32), a coke dealer, and Sarah (37) were living at 1 Ernest Street, Tower Hamlets with their first three children Willie (9), Albert (7), Clarissa (4), and Herbert (2).

By the time of Arthur's birth (registered in the second quarter of 1874), his family was living at Kings Lynn in Norfolk.

Arthur was under a year old when his father William Skipper died at Kings Lynn at the age of 35 near the beginning of 1875.

At the time of the 1881 census Arthur (6) was living at Norfolk Street, Kings Lynn with his widowed mother Sarah (47), who was working as a charwoman, and his older brother Herbert (12). His brother Albert (16) lived at 57 North Brink, Wisbech, where he worked as a page-boy to the family of a banker, and his sister Clarissa (14) lived at 70 High Street, Kings Lynn, where she worked as a nursemaid to the family of a shoemaker. His brother Willie (19) is hard to find, but he was married at Kings Lynn in 1888.

Arthur was educated at St John’s School at Kings Lynn.

At the time of the 1891 census Arthur (16) was a stationer's assistant and was living at 16 Whyatt Street, Kings Lynn with his mother Sarah (67), who now described herself as a retired laundress, his sister Clarissa or Clara (24), who was a housekeeper, and his brother Herbert (22), who was a butcher.

In 1899 at Petersfield in Hampshire, Arthur Edward Skipper married Lydia Roles (known as Lillie), and at the time of the the 1901 census they were living in Swindon at 2 Euclid Street. Arthur, then aged 26, was a grocer’s assistant.

They had four children:

  • Gladys Lilian Skipper (born in Swindon in 1902)
  • Arthur Roles Skipper (born in Swindon in 1904)
  • Marjorie Kathleen Skipper (“Mollie”, born in Swindon in 1905)
  • Minnie Gwendoline Skipper (born in Swindon on 8 February 1907).

Early in 1911 Arthur came to Oxford with his wife and four children and started business as a credit grocer with a capital of £19. The 1911 census shows Arthur (37), described as a grocer-dealer working on his own account, living at 2 Bedford Street to the west of the Iffley Road with his wife Lydia (39) and their children Gladys (8), Arthur (6), Marjorie (5), and Minnie (4).

In 1920 Skipper was a founder member of the Oxford Credit Traders’ Association. He was also a member of the YMCA and a supporter of its literary and debating society.

His wife Lydia Roles Skipper died in 1921.

In 1923 Arthur Skipper was elected Liberal councillor for the East ward of the city council, and acted as Chairman of the Public Assistance Committee. He was elected Sheriff of Oxford for 1938/9, and Deputy Mayor of Oxford for 1940/1.

By 1930 Skipper was living at 104 Abingdon Road, and by 1931 at 1 Rose Hill.

Two of his children were married in the 1930s:

  • In 1933 in Oxford, Marjorie Kathleen Skipper married John N. Nichols.
  • On 24 May 1937 at Holy Trinity Church, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire, Arthur Roles Skipper (32), a bank clerk of Rose Hill, married Mary Mitchell (24), a school mistress of 21 Coal Clough Lane, Habergham Eaves, the daughter of the butcher John William Mitchell.

In 1941 Skipper was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1941/2).

† Arthur Edward Skipper was living at Flat 15, Wykeham Crescent, Littlemore Court Estate, Oxford when he died at 29 Sandford road, Littlmore at the age of 89 on 12 April 1964. His effects came to £411, and his executor was his son Arthur Roles Skipper, who was now a retired bank manager.

His daughters Gladys and Minnine never married. Gladys Lilian Skipper died at Woking on 23 September 1986, and Minnie Gwendoline Skipper, who worked as a nurse, died in Salisbury in 2001.

His son Arthur Roles Skipper died at Hook Norton on 1 November 1990, and his daughter Mrs Marjorie Kathleen Nichols died in Oxford in 1992.

See also:

  • Oxford Times, 17 April 1964, p. 11d (obituary)
  • 1901 Census: Swindon (St Paul’s), 1909/57

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 1 November, 2018

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