Boswells of Oxford

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The entrance to the Boswells store at night on Cornmarket Street.

Boswells of Oxford is the largest independent family-run department store in central Oxford, England.[1]

The store has been trading since 1738, and is probably the oldest family owned department store in the world. Initially founded by Francis Boswell and located at 50 Cornmarket Street.[2] Boswells started up in business manufacturing and selling luggage and trunks, and it is widely believed there wares were taken on Captain Cook's trip to explore the Southern Hemisphere . In 1928, it expanded its premises with the main entrance moving to Broad Street, opposite Balliol College and close to the spot (marked with a cross in the middle of the road) where the Oxford Martyrs were burnt at the stake.

The store is somewhat traditional in style and is a well-known local shopping landmark. It still has a smaller side entrance at the north end of Cornmarket Street. Its address is now 1-3 Broad Street.[2] The company does not use an apostrophe in its name, although others sometimes mistakenly do so.


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Coordinates: 51°45′15″N 1°15′30″W / 51.7541°N 1.2583°W / 51.7541; -1.2583