Headington history: Shops

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299/301 London Road

Currill shop, 299/301 London Road

The above picture is reproduced by kind permission of Barbara Dye (George Currill senior’s great-granddaughter). It shows 299 & 301 London Road (formerly numbered  135 & 137) near the corner of Northfield Road. They were were built in 1890, and both were associated with the Currill family.

299 & 301 London Road today



Right: The two shops in 2007, when they were occupied
by the plumbing firm Sharp & Howse

George Henry Currill (or Currell) was born at Sandhills and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington in 1858. By 1861 his family had moved to Headington Quarry, and the 1881 census shows him as a single man of 22 living there with his parents in Industry Cottage. He married shortly afterwards, and his first child, Henry Alfred, was baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry on 30 April 1882, followed by Charles George in 1884, George Frank in 1887, Frederick William in 1889, and Edith in 1892.

Directories show that George Currill continued to make shoes in Quarry until 1890. In 1890 he moved into the 299/301 London Road, and the 1891 census shows him living with his wife Mary Ann (then a self-employed laundress) and his four sons in one of the “2 houses on the London Road opposite the workhouse”. It appears that Nos. 299/301 were at that time just one house (the other house mentioned in the census being Charles Packford’s harness-making business on the eastern corner of the present Northfield Road).

Advertisement, Headington Parish Magazine, 1892




Left: Advertisement in the Headington Parish\
for October 1892.

Sadly, George died just a few years later in 1896 at the age of 38; shortly after his death, his two middle sons, Charles and George, got into trouble for breaking windows in Quarry.

Mrs Mary Ann Currill kept the shoemaking business going at No. 299/301 until 1907, when her eldest son, Henry Alfred Currill (known as Alfred) took it over. The 1911 census shows Alfred (29) living at this house (which he called Alindé) with his wife Sarah and their two sons, Stanley Alfred (2) and Lionel Henry (1). He described himself as a boot maker working at home on his own account, and the family had a servant girl aged 18.

Alfred remained in this shop until the early 1930s, when he and his son Henry Alfred moved into two adjoining new houses now numbered 291/293 London Road (later hairdressing shops, and now the Oxford Food Centre).

In 1924 Alfred’s brother George Frank Currill took over the right-hand section of the shop (the present No. 301) as a separate grocery shop, and remained there until 1929. It was during this period that the above photograph was taken: the lady in the doorway is his wife, Florence Ellen Currill (née White).

From 1929 No. 301 was occupied for a short period by Sidney Benbow Clarke, “confectioner, grocer & tobacconist”, and then the pair of shops were reunited when Robert Franklin, butcher, took them both over.

In the early 1940s the pair of shops became a Co-op butcher, and this survived until the late 1970s.

Sharp & Howse moved their plumbing firm from 246 Marston Road into this building by 1993. They remained there until 2011, when they moved to Osney Mead.


Reminiscences of Edith, daughter of George & Florence Currill

© Stephanie Jenkins

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