Headington history: Shops

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58 Windmill Road

58 Windmill Road

Jeffrey shop

No. 58 Windmill Road was purpose-built as a shop on the corner of Bateman Street (then East Street) in about 1910. It ceased to be a shop in the early 1980s.

Mrs Edith Jeffrey (1875–1953) is shown in the above photograph outside the shop that she designed for herself on a slate. Her husband John, known as Jack, had been apprenticed as a boy to a chimney sweep in Lime Walk, but suffered from asthma, so Mrs Jeffrey became the main breadwinner. She did sewing, ironing, and cooking for undergraduates in Merton College so that she could save up and buy a plot of land to build a shop, and she achieved this about 1911.

Originally she sold just fruit and vegetables, but later developed it into a butcher’s shop; so as well as growing vegetables on his allotment to sell in the shop, her husband Jack (who was the son of a butcher in New High Street) started to rear pigs in a shed there.

In about 1923 Mrs Jeffrey sold up and the family moved to Portsmouth so that Jack (who lived to be 92) could enjoy the sea air.

The next butcher to run this shop (from 1924–1947) was Frank Ashby. The future Hollywood film star Patric Knowles lodged above this shop in the early 1930s when he worked with the repertory group of the Playhouse Theatre in Oxford.

The shop continued as a butcher’s shop until the late 1970s, under the following ownership: Charles Evans (1949–1962), F.G. Collier (1964–1971) and Hodgetts & Marriott (1972–late 1970s).

The shop was run by an Asian family as a grocer’s shop in the early 1980s. For a very short time in the late 1980s it was run by the Ploughshare Co-operative as a wholefood café, shop, and meeting place. Since then has been a private house.

Jeffrey’s delivery van

Jeffrey family in back garden

Above left: Butcher’s boy Percy Bateman with the delivery van at the rear entrance in Bateman Street.
Above right: The Jeffrey family in their back garden: Edith, son Frank, daughters Cicely and Margery, and John

The above photographs and information about the Jeffrey family were supplied by Mrs Barbara Newbury, grand-daughter of Frank Jeffrey. The picture below shows what was the back garden of Mrs Jeffrey’s shop in February 2005, after the demolition of some garages. Flats and houses are now built here, facing Bateman Street.

Bateman Street site

© Stephanie Jenkins

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