|No. 11 was occupied by Thornton's bookshop from
1870 to 2002. The building dates from about 1800, and is Grade II listed
Joseph Thornton opened his first bookshop in Magdalen Street in 1835, and moved to 51 High Street in 1840. In 1853 he moved back to Magdalen Street, and in 1863 to 10 Broad Street next door to this shop.
In 1870 he moved to No. 11, and his bookshop continued to flourish here as a family firm for over a hundred years.
In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was
taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771.
The house then standing on this site was in the occupation of a Mr Sandal, and its frontage measured
5 yards 1 foot 10 inches.
The 1841 census shows the tailor William Wallington
at this house. In 1851 the occupant was another
William Wallington, his son of 19, described as a tailor and draper, with his 17-year-old brother as his
assistant. The two teenage drapers live by themselves in the house with a servant and a lodger.
Occupants of 11 Broad Street listed in directories:
1839–1852: William Wallington Tailor
1861–1869:Thomas Harris Librarian, bookseller, & stationer
1870–2002 Joseph Thornton, later named Thornton's Bookshop and from 1983 Thornton's of Oxford
New and Antiquarian booksellers
|The 1881 census shows Joseph Thornton, who was
born in Billericay, as the employer of one man and three boys. Aged 74,
he was living over this shop with his wife Clara and daughter Lydia (a
governess), and one general servant. His son James was managing a bookshop
of his own at 33 High Street at this time.This bookshop, also a publishing
house later merged again with the original firm.
The business remained in the family until 1983, when it was about to go bankrupt. Wim & Scharlie Meeuws of Holdan Books bought it from John (known as "Young Jack") Thornton, the fourth generation Thornton (although John explained that he should really be regarded as the fifth generation since Joseph started the business with money from his father, a vicar ) The Meeuws family altered the shop between 1983 and 1985 to meet fire regulations. The Thornton's name remained in Broad street until the business finally moved out on 1 January 2003, making place for the Buttery owned by the Moss family.
Thornton's Bookshop still survives as a mail order and internet company in Cowley / Oxford and Faringdon / Oxfordshire.
Copyright: Trevor Coppock