A little bit of history


The Grand Café at no.84 is housed in a stunning Grade II listed building. The history of this building and its neighbours is quite fascinating.

Over the years, the site has been a Coffee Shop, an Inn , an Hotel, a Grocer’s Shop, a Co-op and a Post Office.  The Grand Café as it is now was established in the mid 1990’s.

The very earliest record found of this site in Oxford was penned in 1391 when an Inn called “Tabord” was leased by St. John’s Hospital [where Magdalen College stands today].  Then, in 1510 it was extended and expanded and renamed “The Angel”, becoming Oxford’s most important coaching Inn.  During the 18th century, 10 coaches started out from here headed for London each day at 8:00 a.m! The horses were grazed in the meadow next to Magdalen College – hence “Angel Meadow”

According to a number of trustworthy sources, including Samuel Pepys,  a Jewish entrepreneur named Jacob established the first English coffee house in 1650.

A direct quote from ‘The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, Antiquary of Oxford 1632-1695″:-

“This year [1651] Jacob the Jew opened a coffey house at the Angel in the parish of S. Peter, in the East Oxon; and there it was by some, who delighted in noveltie, drank. When he left Oxon, he sold it in Old Southampton buildings in Holborne neare London, and was living in 1671.”

A number of distinguished guests stayed at “The Angel” including Christian II of Denmark who stayed in 1768 and Queen Adelaide, consort to William IV stayed here in 1835 and was made most comfortable in – “this excellent house”.  The hotel finally closed its doors in 1866 when the lease was sold to local shopkeeper Frances Thomas Cooper;  he sublet no.83 and ran his grocery business from no. 84.


In 1867, his son Frank Cooper inherited the family business and expanded the shop combining both 83 & 84.  

In 1874, his wife Sarah Jane had been making marmalade in the family kitchen. With a surfeit made, Sarah Jane decided to display it in the shop and before long, all the marmalade had sold out! Word of the product’s excellence soon spread and ‘The Oxford Marmalade’ soon became the top selling item for the business. In 1900 – Frank Cooper opened the famous Jam Factory in Park End Street – the building still proudly stands today. The shop at no.84 remained open until 1919.

In 1919, Twining Brothers Grocers took over the shop premises until 1939 when T. Pritchard Ironmongers moved in for 2 years.

The Co-op moved in with a general store and Café in 1945 until The Post Office took over until closing down in 1984.

In 1984, the now highly successful Frank Cooper set up a shop and museum to showcase his globally celebrated Marmalade.

In 1990 the English Teddy Bear Company occupied the premises until 1997 when The Grand Café was established…..

The rest, as they say is history.