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History

Located in the very heart of Oxford, Boswells was one of the world’s oldest department stores, family-owned and much-loved by the local community. In the tradition of great British department stores, Boswells was a place of discovery – a treasure trove of toys, cosmetics, fashion, household essentials, a haberdashery, well-known tearoom and café. A place where mothers brought their children to pick out toys, friends met for lunch and locals regularly popped in to see what was new in store.

In the tradition of great British department stores, Boswells was a place of discovery – a treasure trove of toys, cosmetics, fashion, household essentials, a haberdashery, well-known tearoom and café. A place where mothers brought their children to pick out toys, friends met for lunch and locals regularly popped in to see what was new in store.

The store first traded in 1738 and was initially founded by Francis Boswell at 50 Cornmarket Street. Starting up business manufacturing and selling luggage and trunks, it is believed their wares were taken on Captain Cook’s trip to explore the Southern Hemisphere. In 1912, Arthur Pearson relocated and opened Boswell’s as a department store, at the corner of Broad Street and Cornmarket, where we are now located.

ARTHUR PEARSON

Arthur Pearson was a successful business owner, entrepreneur and pharmacist. You will find nods to him throughout
the hotel, such as the Pearson Suites, which take in favoured views over bustling Cornmarket. We embrace his sense
of curiosity, his willingness to embrace the new and his love of Oxford. We like to think that Arthur would feel very
at home in Boswell’s latest evolution – The Store.