71 London Road
A house hides behind the modern ground-floor frontage of Starbucks and the adjoining business, and the pavement frontage on two levels was once its front garden. It was probably built in around 1926, as Charles Walker, who lived and ran his business from here, is first listed as a furniture dealer on the London Road in 1927.
The furniture trade in Headington would have been booming at this time, as Headington was about to be absorbed as a suburb of Oxford and was being heavily developed: three nearby roads were built up in the late 1920s: Osler Road, Old High Street, and Kennett Road.
By 1929 Walker’s listing in Kelly’s Directory reads: “Walker’s Furnishing Stores (Charles Walker), house furnishers, London road. Tel. No. Headington 6880.” The 1930 directory confirms that this was the above shop, then an unnumbered new building between the old numbers 9 and 11.
Right: Advertisement from Kelly’s Directory of 1933
Left: Advertisement from Kelly’s Directory of 1947, showing that Walker’s baby and children’s department was then in a separate shop at 65 London Road (now a tanning salon).
By the 1960s, the shop was managed by Walker’s son-in-law, Ben Pullin, while his daughters also had Headington shops: Sylvia ran the Walker’s Pram and Baby shop, while Gwen ran a grocer’s shop on the London Road with her husband Harold Griffin.
Walker himself continued to live over his old shop until the 1970s, and the business that Walker had founded in 1929 continued in the same premises after his death. An advertisement in the Yellow Pages for 1984 reads: “Walkers of Headington Home Furnishers, Furniture & Beds Plus, Fitted kitchen studio, Hotpoint Centre, Fitted carpets, Gifts & Lighting”. Walker’s of Headington is last listed at 71 London Road in the telephone directory of 1990, and from 1991 it is listed at 33 Lime Walk.
Another furniture firm called Pine Dreams operated from this shop in the 1990s, and in about 2000, Pronuptia moved here from its former premises in New Inn Hall Street, Oxford.
Since October 2007 this shop has been Starbucks.