Oxford's famous Jam Factory in Frideswide Square – former home to Frank Cooper’s marmalade – has a new lease of life following completion of a major refurbishment.

There is also a new arrangement to let the office space to a new occupier – Oxford University Endowment Management.

Nuffield College, which has a long-term lease on the property, has finished a comprehensive restoration of the building, working with Oxford-based contractor Benfield & Loxley and a design team led by the property consultancy Savills.

Built at the start of the 20th century, the prominent former factory now offers more than11,000 sq ft of office space.

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Tom Moore, Bursar of Nuffield College, said: “The Jam Factory is an Oxford landmark and an important part of the city’s history. It was fundamental for us to respect its heritage while creating an attractive modern workspace.

"The design and building teams have achieved a result of the highest quality that will enable the building to contribute to the city’s economy and the wider ambition to revitalise and refresh the West End.”

Oxford Mail:

Completion of the project despite the lockdown is an achievement say developers.

Main contractor Benfield & Loxley re-set the project works programme to achieve social distancing and all of the public health requirements applicable as a result of Covid-19 – but kept the site active and maintained momentum.

A team of largely local sub-contractors worked on the refurbishment including Oxford Pipework Services Limited, Haysham Limited, The Cotswold Casement Company, OG Stonemasonry Limited, H&L Painting & Decorating Limited, Clear Living Limited and Thomas Cleary & Sons Flooring.

Savills led the design team, which included Qoda Consulting Limited, Solid Structures (UK) Limited, Hadland Manning Bullock & Partners Limited and Bidwells.

Tom Bridgman, Executive Director Development at Oxford City Council, said: “The refurbishment of the Grade II listed Jam Factory is a significant milestone both for the building itself, but also for the wider West End of Oxford, which is set to see significant economic growth over the next decade.

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“The addition of more high quality workspace into the city is much needed, and fantastic to see. We look forward to working with Nuffield College, and our other partners across the West End, to realise the development potential of this part of Oxford and create many more business growth and job opportunities in the coming years.”

Oxford Mail:

In 1903, Frank Cooper’s original Jam Factory building was completed, on the site where it stands today on Park End Street and facing onto what is now Frideswide Square.

The building was purpose-built in 1902-3 by the Oxford builder TH Kingerlee & Sons. The architect was Herbert Quinton.

Connectivity to the railway was a key reason for Frank Cooper choosing the site: just as remains the case today, the proximity to the railway was an important business advantage, both for the delivery of ingredients and for the distribution of finished product.

In 1925 the Jam Factory site was extended through the addition of a wing which takes the building out to the edge of Hollybush Row, where it stands today.

Oxford Mail:

In turn, this was then later connected by a yard with glazed roof to buildings at the back of the factory built in the 1930s. This extension is the area now used as the café and gallery space.

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The ornamental façade of the building featured prominent lettering ‘FRANK COOPER OXFORD MARMALADE’ which helped to create it as an Oxford landmark, especially for the thousands of travellers using the railway stations.

In 1951, the factory closed after the Second World War when Cooper’s moved production to a new site on the Botley Road, to the former Majestic Cinema building.

The original factory on Park End Street became offices for Oxfordshire County Council and, subsequently, a mixed-use commercial building incorporating, at different times, offices, retail units, a night-club, a restaurant and an art gallery.

In 2015 Nuffield College acquired a long leasehold interest from Christ Church, which owns the freehold.

Oxford Mail:

In 2015 Oxfordshire County Council embarked on a £6m renovation of Frideswide Square, including the introduction of two new roundabouts.

Despite problems with paving the design has proved a success.