116 High Street has been the shop window of Oxford University Press since 1872. It has now been extended and modernised to include 117 High Street - an extension which was first considered by the Delegates of the Press as long ago as 1893.
The two shops were previously home to almost every trade which could possibly have served both town and gown - except that of bookselling. 116 High Street has been occupied by a carpenter (1569), a clerk (1683), painters (1652, 1709), a gentleman (1726), a milliner (1738), a beadle (1752), and fruiterers (1809, 1817, 1823), while 117 High Street has been a barber's (1580, 1591, 1614, 1634), a coffeeman's (1743), watchmaker's (1799), brewer's (1827), and carver and gilder's (1834, 1841).
Like every other corner of Oxford, the shop has a documented history going back six centuries - very much part of the bustling heart of the city. The site of 116 was acquired by Oriel College in 1357 as part of the endowment of the Leghe Chantry. Oriel College Register (1397) names it Pirye Place because it was occupied by one John Pirye in 1363. 117 High Street had been City Council property since 1419, and was part of a larger property, known as Redcock's.
The two tenements to the west of Redcock's (Stodley's Inn) belonged historically to New College, and both were leased in about 1586 to Joseph Barnes, the first Printer to the University of Oxford.
Barnes had been in business as a bookbinder on the more westerly tenement since about 1576, and extended his premises soon after his appointment as Printer. His bookshop was probably on the corner of High Street and Alfred Street, while his home, garden and workshops for printing and binding occupied most of the site of the present National Westminster Bank. In returning to the site of 116/117 High Street, therefore, perhaps Oxford University Press can be truly said to be coming home.