Headington history: Old postcards

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London Road east

Old and New Headington

London Road east today


The postcard above shows the London Road looking eastwards from the centre of the main crossroads (High Bush Cross, or the Headington Carfax) in about 1907.

For about a hundred years until c.1880 a toll-gate barred the London Road at the eastern side of the crossroads here.

In 1907 each of the three Headington villages had its own high street and shops, so the London Road was not yet a shopping parade. But with Quarry, Old Headington and New Headington all so near, it was bound to happen soon, and already there were two big shops:

  • On the near right is the Co-op on the corner of Windmill Road (in the building now occupied by Oxford Design and Buckell & Ballard, which was built in 1892 on the site of the former toll-house). The delivery cart on the right of the London Road on the old postcard reads: “Co-operative Society Ltd Bakers”.
  • On the far right, on the corner of Holyoake Road (then Western Road) is H. S. Prior & Son (cycle engineers), makers of the Highfield Cycle (to be taken over by G. H. Williams in 1912). This shop was demolished in 2006.

Holyoake Terrace, the row of houses on the right between the two shops, was demolished in 1938 to make way for Holyoake Dance Hall (now converted into flats).

The twin gables of Headington National School (now St Andrew’s Primary) are just visible behind the fourth telegraph pole on the right; and on the horizon is the Headington Union Workhouse.

On the left of the London Road is Westbourne Terrace, still a row of houses, but soon gradually to turn into shops. Eventually their front gardens were paved: this has happened to many former houses on the London Road, with the result that there are several raised pavements that still belong to the shops.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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