Sunday, February 10, 2008

High Street, Oxford

One of the best products to come out of Oxford is Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade. It was apparently first produced in 1874 when Cooper, a grocer on the High Street, had a surplus of Seville oranges and his wife, Sarah-Jane, turned them into a bitter, sticky conserve. The stuff caught on and became a staple of English breakfasts. It is still produced, though no longer in Oxford.

The Coopers’ shop was at 84 The High. It’s a café now, but its impressive Classical frontage of about 1840 survives with its four big Corinthian columns, two plate-glass windows, and double door. The whole thing is on a big enough scale to accommodate a Corinthian order of decent proportions and to catch the eye on a street that’s full of outstanding buildings. Not for nothing is it now called the Grand Café.


Peter Ashley said...

I have bought Frank Cooper's Oxford Marmalade here, and I think a little model of a blue Fordson van with FC's name in white on the side. A treasured possession, but I have to say I am now leaning towards Tiptree's Orange and Tangerine. But I expect it may all be to do with the exquisite typography on the spare, economic label. Letters for breakfast.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I didn't go in and check whether they still sell or serve the marmalade in the café - it was full of young people gorging themselves on scones. I'll do further research on another occasion, provided that I'm not distracted by Waterfield's secondhand bookshop across the road.

Peter Ashley said...

I've never been into, or even known, about Waterfield's. So thankyou. I wonder if they have a dog-eared copy of The Lazy Postman & Other Stories. My missionary aunt gave it to me when I was six, and since I lost it aged seven I have never seen another copy. Not even on the intraweb. Maybe someone out there knows what I'm talking about. For once.