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Headington history: Streets

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Windmill Road: Old shops


Most of these shops are dealt with more fully in the “Shop history” section of this website, and links to those pages are provided below.

The shops at the north end would have been patronized by people from Old Headington, New Headington, and Quarry and marked the beginning of the Headington shopping centre; but those further south were corner shops catering just for the people of Windmill Road and the streets which were starting to branch out from it. A lady wrote of the grocer’s shop at 107 Windmill Road in the 1930s: “You didn’t need to ‘dress’ to go to buy the odds and ends, in fact the housewives usually came in wearing their ‘pinnies’ and slippers and with their hair in curlers.”

Co-op at north-east corner (1892)

Old Co-op building

The first ever shop to appear in Windmill Road was the Co-op (now Buckell & Ballard and Oxford Design), built in 1891 on the site of the old toll house and opened in April 1892 “with a great fanfare of trumpets and much beating of big drums”. This was the first major shop in Headington, designed to attract people from Old Headington, New Headington, and Quarry. More

West’s florists, later garden centre (1893)

West’s Garden Centre

West’s florist shop (now housing) opened here in 1893. Until 1965 there was a large nursery behind on the land now occupied by Norton Close. The business closed in 2005 (more…)

Boot shop/newsagent’s at 14 Windmill Road (1910)

14 Windmill Road

The second shop was 14 Windmill Road, built in 1910. The first occupant was the boot dealer Alfred Powell, but in about 1914 it became a newsagent’s shop, run by William Henry Whitchelo until 1954. This shop would have served all Headington, not just the road. More

Grocer’s shop at 58 Windmill Road (1910)

58 Windmill Road

This fruit & vegetable shop (which later was a butcher’s as well, and is now a private house) opened in 1910. It was the first shop built specifically for the local people of Windmill Road, which was now rapidly being developed southwards. More

Grocer’s shop at 107 Windmill Road (1910)

Barclay Antiques

William Wilkins opened this corner shop (now Barclay Antiques) in about 1910 as a grocer’s shop to serve the growing population at the south end of Windmill Road, as well as Margaret and Alexandra (now Gathorne) Roads. He died near the beginning of 1919, and his widow Mrs Rose Marie Wilkins continued to run the shop to 1947. For a long time it was the only shop on the east side of the road (apart from the Co-op at the top), and it remained a grocer’s shop until the 1970s. There is a full description of the shop in Oxfordshire: Within LIving Memory (Countryside Books, Newbury and the Oxfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes), pp. 68–9. “It sold everything from bundles of wood and paraffin to groceries, sweets and cigarettes.”
Full article reproduced here

Draper’s shop at 6 Windmill Road (1920)

Mrs Rose Barton opened this shop (now Japlene, above right) in about 1920. She is described as a “general draper, outfitter, and milliner” of Windmill Road in a 1922 trades directory, and was still there in 1939. By 1949 Mr Aston the chimney sweep had moved here from Old High Street.

Grocer’s shop at 8 Windmill Road (1922)

Joseph Skey opened this shop (now Reynold’s Blinds) in 1922 for his son, Ernest, to run as a grocer’s shop. He remained here until 1939 More

72A Windmill Road (1924)

Fred Grain's shop

Fred Grain opened a tobacconist/confectioner/stationer’s shop (now Richard Ford’s secondhand shop) in 1924, and ran it until 1934. More

The Parade (1936)

The Parade at the north-east end of Windmill Road involved the demolition of Nos. 1, 3, and 5 Windmill Road, the alteration of Rosslyn Villa, formerly No. 7. The first shops, listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1936, were as follows:

  • 1 The Parade (now Queen’s): A. Butler & Co Ltd, bakers
  • 2 The Parade Maylers Café
  • 3 The Parade (now Headington Homewares): Maypole Dairy Co Ltd (more…)
  • 4 The Parade (now Frog Orange): E. J. Francis, chemist
  • 5 The Parade (now Electric Aids): J. H. Dewhurst Ltd, butcher (more on 5 & 6…)
  • 6 The Parade (now Thong Heng Chinese supermarket): E. W. Liley, cooked meats.
9 & 9A Windmill Road (1955) and 11 Windmill Road (1962)

No. 9 was a private house until 1955, when 9A was built in its garden and both were turned into shops. No. 11 did not become a shop until 1962 (more…)

© Stephanie Jenkins

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