Headington history: Shops

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82 Old High Street

Henry Edward Berry (known as Harry) was the second son of William and Sarah Berry, the bakers of Mather’s Farm. He was baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 16 April 1875.

Mrs Berry took over her husband’s baker’s business when he died in 1888, and in 1896 she also set up shop as a butcher. As she had twelve children, many of them still young, it can be assumed that by 1896 her eldest son was looking after the baker’s shop, and that the butcher’s business was for Harry, who turned 21 that year.

The only early directory that lists Harry as a Headington butcher is Valter’s of 1898; directories then revert to listing Mrs S.A. Berry as “baker & butcher” in the High Street. In 1906 Harry and his family moved to “Ingleside” in Old Headington. When Mrs Berry retired the next year, Harry fully took over the butcher’s shop.

On 29 December 1902, at the age of 27, Harry Berry had married Alice Jane Edney, the daughter of the Headington tailor Joseph Edney, at St Andrew’s Church. They had four children:

  • Alice (baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry on 24 April 1904)
  • John Henry (born at “Ingleside”; baptised at St Andrew’s on 2 December 1906)
  • William Richard (born at at Lower Farm; baptised at St Andrew’s on 7 November 1909)
  • Muriel Elizabeth (born at at Lower Farm; baptised at St Andrew’s on 21 March 1915)

By 1909 Harry Berry and his family had moved to Lower Farm at 8 Cemetery Road (now renamed Dunstan Road). The 1911 census shows Harry (36) and his wife Alice (35) living there with their three chidren. Harry is described as a “Family butcher & farmer”.

Berry’s butcher’s shop

From 1907 H.E. Berry is consistently listed as a butcher in his own right. His Old High Street shop is the one with the blind in the detail from an old postcard shown above. It was then numbered 46 rather than 82.

Berry bag

The brown paper carrier bag shown above dates from before the Second World War, and shows that H.E. Berry (established 1896) sold “high-class meat and poultry” and had “electrical refrigeration”. The business was already on the telephone (Headington 6700).

In 1926 Harry Berry bought his home at Lower Farm, together with its 65 acres of land which stretched across the present bypass towards Elsfield. He continued to live at the farmhouse until his death.

At some point between 1939 and 1942, “High Street, Old Headington” was renamed “Old High Street, Headington” and was also completely renumbered, and thereafter the shop was numbered 82.

H.E. Berry’s butcher’s shop remained at 82 Old High Street until at least 1956. Harry Berry died around this time, and his shop is not listed in the 1958 or 1960 Kelly’s Directory.

By 1962 Allen’s butchers were at 82 Old High Street, and they were still there in 1970. This shop in 1961 became one of the first self-service stores in Headington.

By 1976 W.J. Berry & Sons were back at 82 Old High Street and it is described as a “warehouse”, presumably connected to the baker’s shop at 1 St Andrew’s Road.

Mrs A.J. Berry continued living at Lower Farm, after her husband’s death, then from 1962 to 1976 John Henry Berry, their eldest son, is listed in directories as the occupant.

In about 1990 the old butcher’s shop at 82 Old High Street was rebuilt as a private house.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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