Until 1871 Oxford St was known as Church St. The name was formally changed by the Local Board of Health in February of that year, the reason for the choice of new name is not known.
The photo above shows the celebrations for the coronation of George V in 1911. The Crown Inn can be seen at left and Lee’s Saddlery & Court’s ‘Coronation’ Dairy on the right. Frederick Lee is listed in the 1911 census as a harness maker at No. 75 but also as having a shop at No. 79. Kelly’s Trade Directory has Court’s at No 73 in 1914, which is where it appears to be in the picture, but this would put the saddlery at No 71. The saddlery continued up to World War II.
Butt’s is listed at No. 87 in the 1911 census, and trade directories from 1914 – 27, as a shop and as a cab business, this would be the end property of the 3 storey terrace. The frontage in this photo, however, looks more like No. 85. Other references to No. 87 are as a private dwelling. No 85 is listed as Hallett’s Shop from 1916 – 35 and as Webb’s General Stores from 1939. A 1915 postcard shows ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ possibly at No. 85. It may also have been Morris’s General Store during the 1950’s and 60’s. Puddy’s Hairdresser / Tobacconist is listed at No 81 from 1923 right through to 1974. The whole of this row has been private residences in more recent times. No. 93, presently ‘Barber Jacks’ was for a brief time in the early 2000’s home to Somerset & Devon Holiday Options Lettings Agency. ‘Inked Images’ Tatooists had been in residence during the 1990’s. At some times previously the premises may have been occupied by hairdressers: possibly Hardwidges during the 1950’s and Swale & Johnson during the 1930’s.
Gratton’s occupied the corner with Love Lane, now Burnham Funeral Services, from World War I. They operated as furniture dealers as well as a motor coach company. The advert above is from a 1940’s Burnham Guide. During the 1960’s the building was occupied by Dean Manufacturing and in the 1970’s and 1980’s by Wessex Textiles and then Sussman’s Shirt Maufacturers.
Trade directories suggest that Gratton’s Motors may also have occupied the site of the present Esso Service Station between the wars. There is also some suggestion that Palmers Garage may have occupied this site in the 1950’s & 1960’s . The photo below, attributed to 1959, shows the old buildings at the east end of Princess St still standing on part of the site.
Below is a photo of Chapman & Gib’s B&B and Restaurant on the Princess St corner during the 1920’s. The premises had previously housed Wyatt’s Stores (c.1895) and Gadd’s Stores (c.1897) before becoming Baker’s Restaurant (c.1914). In the 1950’s it housed Parmatt’s Paints & Wallpaper. It is now Butterworth & Jones, Accountants. Beyond it at the left of the picture we can see the two shop units (Now 78 & 76) and the Crown Inn.
No. 78 was a dairy business for several decades being run originally by William Poarch from 1901 to the early 1930’s, then by Whiting’s (c.1935), Williams’s (1939) and Funell’s (1950’s & 60’s). Early census indicates that these premises (or No 76) may have been home, much earlier, to Williams’s Chemists mentioned in the newspaper advert below from 1864.
During the 1970’s it became Fallow’s Fish & Chips, later the ‘Oxford Chip Shop’ and ‘The Battered Fryer’. No. 76 was a private residence before becoming The Chart House Grill (date unknown) and, during the 1980’s Chan’s Chinese restaurant. During the 21st century it has become the ‘Treasure’ Chinese Takeaway and now the ‘Sky’ Chinese Takeaway.
The Crown is recored as an Inn in the 1891 census, though may have originally only occupied the south half of the building we see below (see picture at top). After becoming run down it was demolished in the early years of the 21st century to make way for Crown Court flats.
Wellands Forge (below) originally occupied the site on which No. 56 now stands.
At No 52 Robert Ham was a coal, hay & salt merchant and general haulier.
On the north corner with Cross St (No. 48) stood Wallbutton’s Motor and Cycle Engineers (1920’s & 30’s, next page ). At some point this was also run as a general store, possibly after the garage moved across the road to a larger site, now the Oxford St car park. However in 1914 No. 48 was occupied by Weakley’s Fruiterer, so it is possible that Wallbutton’s initially operated only at 44 Cross St or continued Weakley’s business before turning it to engineering (see Cross St).
The garage occupied the larger site (above) from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s. After it’s demolition a block of warden controlled flats was built on the site (Seaton House, below). This was demolished in 1994 after it was discovered that the land upon which they were built was unstable due, it is said, to the petrol storage tanks below.
Opposite Wallbutton’s stood the Ring o’Bells Inn (below) and next to it the entrance to the gas works (known as Gas St). In the second picture we can see The Burnham Motor Co. in the premises next to the gas works entrance. This building was previously occupied by the Gas Company as an office and showroom. The third picture below shows the 1963 summer carnival Gas Company float in front of the showroom.
An old postcard (above) shows the south end of the street looking north (date unknown). Trees in the grounds of La Retraite Convent can be seen in the centre right of the picture.