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Headington history: Shops

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116–120 London Road


SW corner of Windmill Road in 1982

Left: The south-west corner of the central Headington crossroads in 1982, just before demolition
(photo: Margaret Self)

No. 116 is the private house on the right, and 118–120 the pair of shops on the left

On 23 March 1982 permission was granted for “Demolition of existing buildings and erection of two-storey and mansard building, with shops on ground floor, offices on first floor and mansard floor and three bedroomed flat on mansard floor” (80/00694/NF)

Demolished

Right: After demolition, with the side of Simon House in Windmill Road exposed
(photo: Margaret Self)

 

Below: Victory House (one large and two small shops, with offices above), built on the site in 1982/3

Caffe Nero


History of the site

This prime corner site was undeveloped until 1915. Prior to that date, apart from the Co-op which was built on the site of the old toll house in 1892, there were very few shops on the London Road, as each of the three Headington villages (Old Headington, New Headington, and Quarry) had its own high street for shopping.

Corner of Windmill Road 1908

Right: This detail from a postcard of c.1908 shows the corner site immediately to the west of Windmill Road: the private house at No. 116 (shown in 1982 in the picture at the top of this page) had already been built, and the corner site is likely to have been part of its garden.

The building on the left of this picture is the old Headington Co‑op (now Hamptons) on the opposite (eastern) side of Windmill Road. The semi-detached pair of houses to the right with the two pointed gables have survived, and were converted into the shops now situated at
112 and 114 London Road.

In 1915 the double-fronted commercial building on the site of 118–120 Windmill Road was built on the corner next to the private house and became Headington's first central Post Office. The first photograph shown below was taken soon after it was erected. The second picture is later, but although there is a newer design of telegraph pole outside, there is still the pump on the corner of the pavement, as few people in Headington had their own water supply:

London Road post office

Post Office


Brief history of this group of buildings prior to demolition in 1982

The house was originally numbered 42 London Road and the double-fronted commercial property to the left 44, but when the whole London Road was renumbered in the early 1930s the house became 116 London Road and the other building, which was split into two shops after the Post Office moved, became 118 and 120 London Road. For clarity, only the present numbering system is used below.

The old post office building (1915–1982)

Dates

120 London Road

118a London Road (upstairs)

118 London Road

1915–1930

Headington's main Post Office

1933

Sydney H. Wiggins
Cycle dealer

John C. Sharpe, Dentist
Tel. Headington 6632

No listing

1934

A. D. Felbridge
Confectioner

1935

Eric A. Hodges
Confectioner

1936

The Tuck Shop
(with proprietor named as Mrs Reason to 1954)

1938

Quick Service Boot Repairs
(W. H. Broughall Ltd)

1943

William Henry Rolls

1945–1949

Bert Joseph Collier

1952–1954

Hector Morris

(+ Leech & Haines electrical, radio, & television engineers and record dealers; Gwyn Morgan & Son turf accountants; and Miss J. N. Whittaker chiropodist in 1956)

1956

1958

Simpson & Co Turf Accountants, Spanish Guitar Centre, and East Oxford School of Motoring

1960–1964

Spanish Guitar Centre;
East Oxford School of Motoring
and Jim Cattell & Sons, turf commission agents (also Lily Crane, jeweller in 1960 only)

1966–1967

Spanish Guitar Centre
East Oxford School of Motoring
(with A. A. Shakespeare television from 1970, and L. Ewart, stock valuers from 1972 and Headington Staff Bureau in 1973)

Vacant

1968–1973

Oxford United Club Shop

1976

A. A. Shakespeare, television

To 1982

?

?

Arcadia

The private house at 116 London Road (c.1908–1982)

Unlike most of the houses in central Headington, this remained a private house until the end. It is difficult to discover who lived here before 1921, as prior to that date the London Road had no numbers, and unfortunately the first known occupant (Clara Mobbs) had been living at Stone Rise in New High Street immediately prior to the numbering. It was originally numbered 42.

From 1921 to 1976 (the last year that Kelly's Directory was published), it had the following occupants:

  • 1921–1930: The Misses Mobbs, who were described as Spirella Corsetières in 1923.
    Miss Clara Mobbs was described as a nurse at this address from 1921 to 1925
  • 1933: Francis Knight
  • 1943–1945: Mrs F. Knight, board residence
  • 1949–1976: Edward Hall

Below are the occupants of the new block from 1983 to the present:

The shops in the new building at 116–120 London Road (Victory House) since 1983

Dates

120 London Road
(the larger shop on the corner)

118 London Road

116 London Road

From 1983

Car parts shop

Oxford Keyboard Centre*

Abbey National

now renamed
Santander

By 1993–1999+

7–11 convenience store

Reynold's Blinds

2003–2007        

B2 (Budgen's Express)

2007–2008

Londis

2008–2010

Unoccupied

2010–2014

Gregg's Bakers

2014–2017

Caffè Nero

* Deduced to have been here in the 1980s, as the sign below was revealed when Greggs was refitted in January 2017

Oxford Keyboard Centre

The offices on the first and second floor of Victory House

These offices, whose entrance is in Windmill Road, were unoccupied from November 2010. Abacus College successfully applied for change of use from use class B1 (offices) to use class D1 (educational) in 2012 and moved in early in 2013.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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