Memorial for Visitors to Oxford

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This week thanks go to Anthony Grundy for rescuing several small items during the renovation of the second floor rooms. One is seen here.

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In The Official Illustrated Guide to the North-Western Railway (1861), George Measom notes, “No visitor to Oxford should leave the city without calling at the several shops belonging to this enterprising and most honourable firm … of Messrs. Spiers and Son. They are among the largest and most important places of business in Oxford; that in the High-street (Nos. 102 and 103), at the corner of Orielstreet, is the one by which they are best known, as few tourists visit Oxford without inspecting it.”

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“It will be recollected that this firm exhibited in the nave of the Crystal Palace in 1851, a large glass case of their papier mache manufactures, decorated with views of every building of note in and about Oxford, with other goods of a special local character. In Dublin, New York, Paris, and Sydenham, they have also exhibited, and have received the testimonials of the juries in the award of prize medals and honorary mention.”

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“The collection of articles of taste and vertu, of useful and ornamental goods, suitable for presents and memorials of Oxford, as well as of those which are interesting and serviceable to the tourist, is very large, and has made their house everywhere celebrated. A Memorial for Visitors, published by them, and presented generally to those who inspect their establishment, is quite a curiosity in its way.”

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“The enterprise of this firm is shown in another very large establishment of theirs in Cornmarket-street (Nos. 45 and 46), near the Star Hotel, which is devoted entirely to china, earthenware, and glass, of which their stock is one of the largest in the kingdom. The buildings, which occupy nearly a quarter of an acre, were erected and decorated from the designs of Mr. Bruton, a local architect of much repute, and Mr. Owen Jones; for elegance and usefulness of character, extent, variety, and for completeness of arrangement, they are perhaps unequalled.”

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A Memorial for Visitors to Oxford: Containing Views, Map of the City, List of the Principal Buildings & of Distances from Oxford, with Other General Local Information Useful to the Visitor and Tourist (Oxford: Spiers & Son, 1850s). Chromolithography. Graphic Arts Collection 2013- in process