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107-111 Hollow Way, Cowley, Oxford OX4 2NE

The History Of Our Shop

Old Hollow Way

A customer brought this picture in of Hollow Way taken in the early 20th Century - The shop can clearly be seen on the corner (Not Smith & Low at the time)

West Stores

Before 'Smith & Low' the building at 107-111 Hollow Way was a grocery shop called 'West Stores' I think this picture dates back to the 1950's

Shop in 1948

Our first shop 'Inbetween Towns Road' Cowley 1948

1954 Hollow Way Cowley

1954 Hollow Way Cowley - where Hollow Way Autoparts are now

Battery Store Room

This is a picture of our old car battery store room. They were supplied by a company called 'Super Battery'. They all had to be filled manually with sulphuric acid and charged before selling! We were one of the first suppliers in Oxford of car batteries and would advertise regularly on the back of the Oxford buses.

154 Hollow Way

Another picture of the shop at 154 Hollow Way

Shop as it was in the 1980's

Shop as it was in the 1980's

Shop 21-02-2019

Shop as it is today at 107-111 Hollow Way

The original partners were Les Smith & Bill Low - they met at Press Steel after the War. They set up business in 1947 at a small yard in Caroline Street trading in mainly army surplus materials. They then went on to larger premises in ‘Between Towns Road’ - approximately where the mini roundabout is now, doing a lot of radio equipment & repairs. They were also one of Cowley’s first independent sellers of Car Batteries.

As trade increased mainly due to the car factory this allowed them to trade from a further shop in Hollow Way - where Hollow Way Autoparts are now. They eventually moved out from ‘Between Towns Road’ as the land was required for developing Cowley Centre. The current premises here on Hollow Way became available in the late 60’s & offered more space & a better location with plenty of car parking space.

On Les Smith & Bill Low’s retirement sons Mick Smith & Brian Low continued to run & expand the business adding extensions to the building & increasing the customer space. Currently Mick’s sons Mark and Keith Smith run the business, along with Valuable staff members Richard & Tim.

The shop has always been run in the traditional sense - serving the customer across the counter by knowledgeable staff. Although we live in times in favour of the large multiple DIY stores and internet shopping we feel we can offer a more personal service with competitive pricing. We now keep a very wide range of goods including large stocks of Electrical accessories, Plumbing materials, TV & Radio Aerials, Car & MotorCycle Batteries, Cycle Spares & Accessories, Tools, Audio & Video Leads, Cooker & Washing Machine Spares, Hardware & lots more.

We are now in our 75th year & are currently on the third generation of family. We would like to thank all our customers for their continued support & we hope to survive for many more years to come!  

A receipt one of our customers found from 1961!

A receipt one of our customers found from 1961!


stars This place is a treasure trove of tools, hardware, electrical and electronic parts, bike parts and household items. The prices are good, particularly when you're buying small quantities of eg screws. Staff are helpful and there's a couple of guys in there who can give you a lot of advice. I'm very glad little independent stores like this are still open. There's always been plenty of other shoppers in there when I'm in there which is a good sign of a store with a good reputation.


stars Probably the best hardware shop in Oxford. Excellent knowledge, range of items. Usually cheaper that the sheds.

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