About Us

Boswells has been trading in Oxford since 1738 and is the city's largest independent department store. We specialise in Cookwares, Gifts, Linens, Luggage, Cosmetics, Pharmacy and Toys and in November 2015 we added a Tea room.

We are known in Oxford for stocking a far wider range of goods than many of our chain-store competitors. Our website displays many but not all of the goods available in our store plus some only to order items. If we don’t have what you are looking for online please ask as we may have it in store.

We are a small company with big ideals. All of us at Boswells know that you are our greatest asset and we will do our best to please you with a smile. Our aim is to offer you a good selection of quality products at the best prices in Oxford. We try very hard to provide the best service in Oxford and we intend to do the same with our Web business.

We are located in the heart of Oxford’s shopping streets, but still near many of Oxford’s famous landmarks, including St Michael’s Saxon tower the oldest building Oxford practically next door.

Our History

our historyOriginally Francis Boswell started selling travels goods at 50 Cornmarket Street in 1738, and his business remained in the Boswell family until the line of direct succession ended in 1890. Following this the business was passed to Arthur Pearson, the then owner of the Oxford Drug Company a neighbour of the Boswells store. Boswells and the Oxford Drug Company are still owned by the Pearson family, and have therefore been under the same ownership since 1890.

Boswells moved into Boswell House on Broad St in 1929 the time that the drawing on the right was created. Here they were soon recognised as “Hardware merchants” and later as “Hardware & kitchen equipment, refrigeration engineers, leather & travel goods, cutlery, silverware & fancy jewellery & household linens. However it was only in 1958 that a connection was made between this and the building containing the Oxford Drug company on Cornmarket. Where the two buildings remain united today.


See our Opening Times & Location

Read more about our store departments