ST GILES’, OXFORD

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No. 31: Taylor’s Delicatessen


31  St Giles

The present No. 31 on the corner of Little Clarendon Street is a Grade II listed building (List Reference No. 1068551). On the first floor the rooms have some late eighteenth-century panelling, and in one room the panelling appears to date from the early seventeenth-century. It was originally a much smaller shop, and there was a second building on the corner facing on to Little Clarendon Street.

In 1885 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reports that the two buildings were “converted into a massive double-fronted shop” by the builder J.C. Curtis for the butcher Mr J. Wiblin. The new shop had a balcony with panels from Macfarlane’s foundry, and can be seen in its original splendour in the advertisement below.

Advertisement for Wiblin

Until the 1850s, 31 St Giles Street (the left-hand section of the present shop) was a private house. At the time of the 1851 census it was occupied by a widow of 52, Mrs Louisa Chase (described as a Landed Proprietor) and her daughters of 16, 18, and 25 and her nine-year-old son, plus their two servants.

By 1861, No. 31 had become a shop, although it still only occupied the left-hand section of the present building. From 1861 to 1882 the Booth family were grocers here. Alfred Booth is listed in the 1861 census as living over the shop with his wife, nine young children, two apprentice grocers, and three servants. Although he was then only 42, he appears to have died soon afterwards, and the business was run for a few years by Mrs Sarah Booth. Twenty years later the 1881 census shows his daughter, Miss Sarah E. Booth, aged 30, as the head of the household here, as well being as a telegraph clerk and in charge of the post office which had just opened in the shop. Two grown-up sisters are living with her, one helping with the post office, while her brother, William H. Booth, was looking after the grocery side, employing three men and two boys. Also living over the small shop were two unempoyed siblings, two boarders who probably worked for the family, and a servant.

F.H. Alden took over No. 31 as a grocery and post office for a brief period in about 1883, possibly just holding on until the end of the lease.

John Wiblin was the next occupant here from 1885, and he turned it into a butcher’s shop. (He was living at Northern House in South Parade in 1881 with his wife Maria, his three sons, one daughter, a niece, and a general servant, and was then described as a butcher, bacon curer, and sausage-maker employing nine men.) Wiblin doubled the size of the shop, and in 1886 there was a failed attempt by the joint university and city committee which ran the covered market to force its closure.

Another member of the Alden family, Reginald, took the premises over from 1928 to 1934, then the shop became John Wiblin Ltd until it ceased to be a butcher’s shop in 1960.

Occupants of 31 St Giles’ Street listed in censuses and directories

1841–1851

Captain John Woodford Chase (1841–6)
Louisa A.M. Chase (1851)

Formerly
facing
Little
Clarendon
Street

1852–1882

Alfred S. Booth (1852, 1861)

Mrs Sarah Booth (1866 & 1867)
Grocer & provision dealer

A.S. Booth (1869–1882)
Grocer and tea dealer, agent of H.R. Williams & Co
(+ Bottled ale & stout merchant and District Post Office in 1882)

1884

F.H. Alden
Grocer & tea dealer, District Post and Money
Order Office, Telegraph Office

1885–1928

John Wiblin
Family butcher, bacon curer and sausage maker

1928–1934

Reginald T. Alden, Butcher

1935–1960

John Wiblin Ltd, Butcher

1962

Prestcold, Manufacturers of refrigeration equipment

1968–1969

Micro Instruments (Oxford) Ltd

1970–1976

A. & J. Antiques

1980s

?

By 1993–present

Taylor’s Delicatessen

Upstairs since 1973:Plunkett Foundation for Co-operative Studies

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

Oxford History home