Oxford Ghost Signs: Two chimney sweeps at 2 Stockmore Street

Stockmore Street chimney sweepPicture: Paul Freestone

This sign on the side of 2 Stockmore Street is a ghost sign with another ghost sign hiding behind it, as the name of the chimney sweep changed.

The original older sign underneath reads


The more recent sign in large letters painted on top reads:



Frederick James Loveland

Frederick James Loveland was born in Worthing, Sussex in 1874. By the time of the 1911 census he had moved to Oxford and was working as a chimney sweep on his own account and living in a four-room cottage at 286 Banbury Road with his wife Louisa and their children Frederick junior (13), Lilian (12), and May (8).

Soon after the 1911 census he moved to 2 Stockmore Street and must have put up the original sign. He only stayed at this address a few years, and was last listed here in Kelly's Directory for 1914/15.

Francis William Alfred Cox

Francis William Alfred Cox was the son of another chimney sweep, Francis Cox, who was born in Oxford in c.1865 and married Mary Ann Wood in 1884. Francis junior was born in Oxford near the beginning of 1885, and at the time of the 1891 census he was aged six and living at 4 Union Street in east Oxford with his parents and a junior sweep. By the time of the 1901 census he had moved with his parents to 28 Friars Street in St Ebbe's, and was a 16-year-old college servant (cook).

By the time of his marriage on 22 April 1905 at St Clement's Church to Emily Hamp he was a chimney sweep like his father at 28 Friars Street. In 1911 when he was 27 he was a beerhouse keeper at 48 St Clement's Street as well as a chimney sweep, and he and his wife Emily had three daughters (Brenda, Ruby, and Doris); their son Francis William Alfred Cox junior was born at 48 St Clement's Street nearly two years after the census and baptised on 26 January 1913.

Francis William Alfred Cox is first listed at 2 Stockmore Street in Kelly's Directory for 1916/17, and the above sign must have been altered around that time.

His wife Emily died in 1917 at the age of 33, and on 9 February 1918 he married his second wife Annie Hiles at St Clement's Church, giving his address as 2 Stockmore Street. He was currently serving in the First World War in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Francis William Alfred Cox was still living at 2 Stockmore Street when he died at the Cowley Road Sanatorium on 19 March 1925 at the age of 40. His effects came to a respectable £442.1s. 9d.

His second wife Annie Cox remained at 2 Stockmore Street. His only son by his first wife, Francis William Alfred Cox junior, died at the age of 16 in 1929, and it appears that there was no other son to carry on the family business. Annie is last listed in the house on 1943, and by 1945 it was occupied by Joseph Matthews.

2 Stockmore StreetThe inscription on the side of 2 Stockmore Street shown in context


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Stephanie Jenkins