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Headington history: Shops

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81 London Road


Smart’s Fish & Chips

In August 1913 all the land of Headington House lying to the south of Cuckoo Lane (stretching from Osler Road to Old High Street) was put up for sale, and it was bought by Headington Recreation Ground Ltd as a sports facility for the people of Headington. It was used by both Headington United Football Club and Headington Cricket Club. The only building on this land was Park Lodge of Headington House, which used to have a drive running from the London Road to the house, crossing the western bridge over Cuckoo Lane.

1921 map

 

By 1921, however, the land of the recreation ground was being developed, and the Ordnance Survey map for that year (left) shows Stephen Road already laid out, but with no houses.

Park Lodge was still the only building on this stretch of road.

In the 1920s and early 1930s the area each on side of “Park Lodge” was developed with shops, and the fish & chip shop was built just to the east of Park Lodge. As a result of all the new buildings, in 1933 the London Road had to be renumbered.

1939 map

 

Then in 1937 the lodge itself was demolished, and four new shops were slotted into its trapezium-shaped site lying between 79 and 81 London Road: see the 1939 map (right).

The building shown to the east of this group is the shop which became Smart’s Fish & Chips.

These four new shops upset the sequence of numbering on the London Road and made it very odd in this area. Kelly’s Directory has the following listings:

 

77A

79

79C

81A

1935

       

1947
1952

Miss A.M.
Wimbush
& Miss K. M. 
Lambert,
cake shop

G. T. Jones
& Co., wine
merchants

W. J. Wiggins, cycle dealer

Thomas Jarvis, gents’ outfitter

1960

Ideas 
(jewellery, glassware,
pottery, woodware, & pictures)

1967

Hawkins
Bakers

John Lane
menswear

1976

Miranda
ladies outfitters

Gough
Brothers Ltd,
wine & spirit merchants

Ideas Gift Shop

2008

Squash
Café

The Garden

Cancer Research UK
charity shop

 

2011

Coco Noir

 

81

83

1935

Sidney P. Griffin, watchmaker

Smith & Tolley, cycle agents

1947
1952

F. M. Rogers
Ltd, cycles & model aircraft, toys, &c

1960

Self-service launderette

1967

Bird Cage
Pet Stores

Griddle Bar
café

1976

Golden Kitchen restaurant

No listing

2008

Smart’s fish & chip shop

Oxfam

2011

The Rose Tree Restaurant
(formerly Rosemary's)

 

No. 81 started off as the shop of Sidney P. Griffin, watchmaker. He is listed at this shop in Kelly’s Directory for 1930, when it had no number, but can easily be identified because he was immediately to the west of Edmund W. Gomm at Park Lodge. His watchmaking business remained in the shop until 1954.

By 1956 this shop became the Bendix Launderette, and it remained a launderette until 1966. From 1967 to 1969 it was the Bird Cage Pet Stores. It has no listing in Kelly’s Directory for 1970 or 1972, then in 1973 it became the Golden Kitchen Restaurant. It still had that name in 1980, but from at least 1993 until its closure in 2007 it was Smart’s Fish & Chips.

Its three neighbours to the west were rebuilt in the 1980s, and in August 2007 a planning application (07/01883/FUL) was submitted to demolish this two-storey building and replace it with a four-storey one comprising a Class A3 (café) unit on the ground floor, and three flats over the first, second, and third floors. See Oxford Mail, 20 January 2009: “Plans afoot for fans’ old chippy

Smarts being demolished
The remains of Smarts Fish & Chip shop on 7 November 2008

Work started immediately in September 2008 with the demolition of the old fish & chip shop. Building was complete in 2010 and the three flats were occupied immediately; but Rosemary’s, the new restaurant on the ground floor, did not open until 30 April 2011.

Rosemary's on opening day

© Stephanie Jenkins

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