Oxford St

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.

Town Crier ‘Jumbo’ Cox outside Gratton’s. Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.

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.

May Poarch outside the dairy, probably before 1924. Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.

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.

Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.

At No 52 Robert Ham was a coal, hay & salt merchant and general haulier.

Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.

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.

12 thoughts on “Oxford St”

  1. Robert Ham was my grandfather . The lady on the left as you look at the photo of their shop was my grandmother and I have this photo in my collection. We used to visit my grandparents every summer but by that time they had relocated to 34 Cross Street. My Auntie Phyllis was married to Henry Cosway who worked at Wallbuttons garage.
    These photos of Burnham brought back memories of my childhood visits so long ago now.

    1. Hello Sandra and thank you for sharing your memories of your family . It’s when people like you share these memories that helps to keep our local history alive.
      Thank you for your time in doing this,

      1. Hi, I wonder if you could help? As I previously said I have the photo of my grandmother outside their shop and was wondering how Bob and June Thomas had it too? Are they relations of mine? I know my grandfather had two brothers and sister but I never met them and know nothing about them.
        I also have a spare photo of my grandfather, in WW2, when he was a special constable, which I would gladly let you have. I would have to send it by post as I’m not able to do much with the computer!

        1. Hello Sandra,
          Bob’s father Winston Thomas was a avid historian and had a massive collection of images and documents from the early 1800’s So it’s likely Winston was given the photo you refer to.
          I will contact June and ask about the possibility of you being relatives.
          This might take a while but I will get back to you.

  2. Hi,
    I am Christine Antoni , Landlady of the Moon & Sixpence Clevedon. I am the Granddaughter of Fred Lee
    ( sadler ) and neice of Charlie Lee, Fred Lee’s Son.
    I remember taking my Husband to be ,Tony, into the sadlers to introduce him to my uncle. This was 1967 .

  3. Very interested to read about Oxford street as my grandfather was Fred Lee the saddler and the premises were known as 79a Oxford street for some reason , my uncle Charles Lee continued the saddlers business up until the early seventies when he retired.
    During the fifties we would come down from London for our annual summer holidays and stay with my grandmother who lived there and remember the ladies hairdressers next door and going to Morrises a few doors down, directly opposite was the Crown pub white with a black horse painted on the end of the building always seemed to be a hive of activity of an evening.
    Burnham seemed a magical place to a youngster in those days and i have many fond and vivid memories of those times.
    Robert lee.

    1. Hello Robert and thanks for sharing your memories of these times. I was born in Burnham and went to school in Princess Street 1954. I used to walk home past the shops you mention but I don’t remember them so perhaps you are taking of an earlier time?

    2. Hi,
      I am Christine Antoni , Landlady of the Moon & Sixpence Clevedon. I am the Granddaughter of Fred Lee
      ( sadler ) and neice of Charlie Lee, Fred Lee’s Son.
      I remember taking my Husband to be ,Tony, into the sadlers to introduce him to my uncle. This was 1967 .

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