Headington history: Streets

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Perrin Street (formerly Church Street)

This road, which dates from the early 1850s, became known as Church Street after All Saints' Mission Chapel (now the scout hut) was built there in 1870. But there must have been great confusion when Headington became part of Oxford in 1929, because there were then within the enlarged city no fewer than six Church Streets (in New Hinksey, St Ebbe’s, Summertown, Cowley, Old Headington and New Headington) – not to mention three Church Lanes, a Church Walk, and a Church Way! But it was not until 1959 the road was renamed Perrin Street, after Canon Perrin who built the 1870 church.

On 13 May 1854 the following advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal for a forthcoming auction of three cottages, which were already tenanted, in one lot:

Newly Built FREEHOLD COTTAGES AND gardens (Tithe-free and Land Tax redeemed) at NEW HEADINGTON
… Three newly erected store-built and slated four-roomed Cottages, with large gardens in front and walled-in yards at the back; well supplied with excellent water and other conveniences, in the occupation of Messrs Margetts, Cooper, and Bateman, producing a rental of upwards of £19 per annum.
N.B. These Cottages are substantially built and conveniently fitted up; the situation is pleasant, dry, and healthy; and they may fairly be considered a first class property of this description for investment.

These cottages must be those at the south-east end of Perrin Street (the third now part of the Butcher's Arms in Wilberforce Street), as no other cottages in New Headington village had large front gardens.

Perrin Street was rather insignificant in the early years and does not appear to have had a name, but in 1870 and 1873 it acquired the two most important public buildings of New Headington village.

All Saints' mission chapel

Until 1870 the parishioners of New Headington had to walk across to St Andrew's Church in Old Headington, but on 3 November that year (“in the octave of All Saints”) a chapel of ease was opened in what is now Perrin Street to accommodate 160 people, and the villagers used this chapel until All Saints' Church opened in Lime Walk in 1910.

See the full history of All Saints' Mission Chapel here


New Headington Infant School

Until 1873 the infants of New Headington village had to go to Old Headington Infant School in Old High Street. But the new village was growing fast, with many young families, and on All Saints Day (1 November) that year New Headington Infant School (left) opened in what is now Perrin Street.

See the full history of New Headington Infant School here.

1898 map of Perrin Street

This extract (right) from the 1898 OS map of Headington shows only nine houses in Perrin (Church) Street. At the time of the 1891 census these were occupied by heads of household with the following heads of household:

  • Thomas Townsend, gardener
  • Rachael Fisher, widow, licensed hawker
  • Thomas Cherry, farm labourer
  • John Horwood, farm labourer
  • Eliza Robers, widow, nurse
  • George Hathaway, bricklayer
  • Joseph Edney, tailor's cutter
  • William Grace, college servant
  • James Neville, gardener

© Stephanie Jenkins

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