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Headington history: Streets

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Windsor Street


This is the only street in New Headington village which still retains its nineteenth-century name, for the simple reason  that there was no other Windsor Street in Oxford. The origin of the name is uncertain.

Windsor Street was laid out in 1851, and plots on the north side offered for sale, but the only house built there then was the present No. 21, which was built in 1852 by a Headington carpenter called William Wheeler. As well as being by far the oldest house in the road, it is probably also the most interesting. In 1873, a stonemason, George Jacobs, moved there from William (now Wilberforce) Street with his wife and six children, and in 1874 Mrs Jacobs turned her living room into a grocer’s shop and soup kitchen. The Headington Parish Magazine for December 1874 reads as follows:

SOUP KITCHEN. This was opened at Mrs George Jacob’s house in New Headington on Wednesday Dec. 2nd, at 12 o’clock, and will continue to be opened on each Wednesday and Friday at the same hour through the winter months. There will be no Soup sold in Old Headington, as it was so little valued last year.

Mrs Jacobs received 1s-9d per day for the work, and in the winter of 1876–7 she sold 1198 quarts (well over 1000 litres) of soup to the New Headington poor. She went on running the grocer’s shop until 1904, when she was 76. After several brief changes of ownership, in 1916 it was sold to the sitting tenants, Mr & Mrs Vyles. Mrs Vyles continued to run the shop until 1949, and then lived privately in the house until 1966.

Windsor Street in 1876

By the time of the 1876 Ordance Survey map (extract shown left) there were also nine houses on the south side of Windsor Street, of which seven still remain, namely Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 14, 16, and 18 (numbers running right to left, or east to west).

 

2, 4, 6, & 8 Windsor Street

 

Nos 2–8 are shown right. They share have large dripstones and share two insurance marks.

 

They do not appear to be listed in the 1861 or 1871 census, which suggests that they were all built between 1871 and 1876.

Certainly No. 18, the school house, was built in 1873 facing Windsor Street, at the same time as the adjoining New Headington Infant School which faces Perrin Street. The schoolmistress soon decided to live elsewhere: in the 1881 census No. 8, occupied by a retired publican, is already described as ‘Formerly School House’, and in 1891 (when a blacksmith called Frederick Clarke lives at the school house with his family) the schoolmistress, Mrs Lizzie Price, is to be found at 3 New High Street with her gardener husband.

1898 map of Windsor Street

By the time of the 1898 OS map of Headington (extract shown left), the north side of the street had more houses.

There are no pumps in the street, and only one well (marked W above the word Infant). The well to the east is in the back garden of two houses in Gardiner (South) Street.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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