HOLYWELL, OXFORD

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Merton College annexe: 53–55 Holywell Street


53-55 Holywell Street

Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1335887

House and shop, now one building. Owned by Hertford College. Late eighteenth-century three-storeyed stuccoed rubble on cellars, with a band at the first floor, and a Welsh slate roof. There is a coachway to the west. The ground-floor has a bay shop-front and an eighteenth-century sash window. The bay is carried up through the first and second floor. Owned by Merton College.

Holywell Street has had its present numbering system since at least the 1830s, but was numbered quite differently at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The stone lintel over the door on the right of this block is carved with XXXII, suggesting that under the old numbering system this house was No. 32. The following advertisement from Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 17 October 1807 records an interesting exhibition that took place at “No. 32 Holywell Street, opposite the Music Room”, that year:

Curiosities in Holywell Street

No. 53 was advertised for sale in a forthcoming auction in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 25 April 1863:

Lot 7. — No. 53, Holywell-street (opposite the Music Room), a substantial-built PRIVATE RESIDENCE, containing three sitting rooms, four bed rooms, two attics, water closet, kitchen, scullery, cellar, wash-house, and garden at the back, with other conveniences, in the occupation of Mrs. King, at a rental of £33 per annum.
The Property is held by lease under Merton College, for a term of 40 years, from the 25th March, 1856, subject to a reserved rent of one capon and three gallons of wheat.

No. 55 was advertised to let on 1 June 1878:

No. 55, HOLYWELL STREET, OXFORD. TO be LET, with immediate possession, – The above large and commodious HOUSE, well suited and admirably adapted for a University Lodging House; containing dining room, breakfast room, hall, kitchen, and scullery, on ground floor; large drawing room, with folding doors, and two bed rooms, on first floor; three bed rooms on second floor, and two attics, front and back staircase, and two w.c.’s, large garden, and outhouse.

53–55 Holywell Street in the censuses

1841

No. 53
John Gillett
(30), a college servant, lived here with Jane (25), William (4), Charles (2), and Mary (1 month). They had one female servant and one student lodger.

No. 54
Richard Sims
(50), a college servant, lived here with Mary Ann (50) and William (15), who was a cook. They had one female servant and one student lodger.

No. 55
Alexander Reinagle
(40), a teacher of music, lived here with five independent people.

1851

No. 53
Matthew Maisey
(30), a college servant, lived here with his wife Mary (23) and his widowed father Thomas (63), who had formerly been a groom. The Curate of Ducklington lodged with them.

No. 54
Richard Sims
(65), the Butler of Wadham College, lived here with his wife Mary (60). They had an undergraduate lodger and one servant.

No. 55
Henry Godfrey
(51), a college servant, lived here with his wife Sarah (48) and their daughter Ann (8). They had a retired clergyman lodging with them, and one servant.

1861

No. 53
Sarah King
(35), a widowed schoolmistress, lived here with her daughter Elizabeth (14), her brother Henry Houghton (40), and two lodgers (a college servant and a housekeeper).

No. 54
Elizabeth Sims
(38), a widowed lodging house keeper, lived here with her children Elizabeth (12), William and George (both 9), and her two lodgers (an undergraduate and a B.A.).

No. 55
Sarah Godfrey
(58), head of the household and a housekeeper, lived here with her daughter Ann (18) and their servant.

1881

No. 53
George Paske
(38), a lodging house keeper, lived here with his wife Jane (37) and his children Louisa (5) and George (2). They had one servant.

No. 54
Elizabeth Sims
(57), a widow, lived here with her two unmarried sons: William (29) was an assistant librarian and organist, and George (29) had an Oxford degree in Music and taught the subject. They had one servant.

No. 55
Sophia Healey
(37), a widowed lodging house keeper, lived here with her children Jessie (8) and Arthur (6). They had one general servant.

1901

No. 53
Listed as not in occupation

No. 54
Godfrey Price
(39), a brewer’s traveller, lived here with his wife Mary (39), who kept a lodging house here, and his children Violet (12) and Godfrey (8).

No. 55
Elizabeth Dix (58), a widowed lodging house keeper, lived here with her daughters Elizabeth (30) and Ellen (34), who were respectively a dressmaker and her mother’s helper.

1911

No. 53
Eric Robert Thomas (29), a plumber & decorator and employer, lived here with his wife Alice (30), his father-in-law Charles Robins (60), who was a piano-tuner, his cousin Miss Millicent Thicke (28), who was a fever nurse, and one servant.

No. 54
John Jenkins
(60), a lodging-house keeper, lived here with his wife Louisa (58) and their daughter Emily (32), who was an elementary school teacher. One medical student was boarding with them.

No. 55
Myra Owen
(43), a widowed lodging-house keeper, lived here with her sons John (12) and Raymond (11), and one servant.

Occupants of 53–55 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

 

No. 55 (left)

No. 54 (centre)

No. 53 (right)

1772
Survey of Oxford

Frontage: 13 yds 2 ft 5 in
Mr Walsh

Frontage: 5 yds 0 ft 0 in
Mr Monro

c.1815

Joseph Reinagle (1762–1825)
Director of the Music Room

?

?

1839

Alexander Robert Reinagle
(1799–1877), son of above
Teacher of Music and organist of St Peter-in-the East from 1823 to 1853
[later at No. 21]

No listing

Nutt & Chillingworth
Ladies’ seminary

1841–1846

Mr Richard Sims
College servant
(listed as private resident by 1852)

 

Mrs Sims 
by 1861

 

Mrs Elizabeth Sims

+ G. F. Sims, B.Mus.
and W. R. Sims by 1871

(G. F. Sims is described as Mus.Doc. and organist of SS Philip & James Church by 1881)

John Gillett
College servant

1851

Henry Godfrey

Mrs Godfrey by 1861

Matthew Maisey
College servant

1861

Mrs King

1866

Thomas Bacon

1871–1875

Mrs Enever
F. Enever by 1875

1876

Vacant (probably because of bankruptcy of John Hallewell, teacher of music, who lived here until the middle of 1876)

1881

Sophia Healey
Lodging house

George Paske
Lodging house

1884–1887

Miss Prickett

1889

Thomas Yates
Lodging house

1894

Arthur Percival Brown
University lodgings

 

1896–1899

Mrs Elizabeth Dix
University lodgings

Godfrey William Jones Price
Lodging house

1901

1905

Mrs Myra Owen
University lodging house

1911

John Jenkins

Mrs Louisa Jenkins by 1921

Mrs Emily Jenkins by 1936
(University lodging house)

Eric Robert Thomas
Plumber & decorator

1914–1936

Mrs Clara Roote
University lodging house

1945

Mrs S. H. Frost
University lodging house

Miss M. Binnie

Mrs L. Burton
University lodging house

1947

Miss E. A. Dubber

Miss S. Morley

1952

Christopher R. Tolkien

1954

Robert Hodgson
with Miss Burton in 1954

Mrs C. Plumer

(with Robert Hodgson in 1954)

1956

1958

Miss Burton

1960

J. A. Godwin

Mrs C. Plumer (by 1966)
with Miss Burton from 1966

Also with Truexpress varityping & small offset printing in 1962

1962

Rear-Admiral Derick H. F. Hetherington, C.B. (retired)

1964–1966

St John’s College annexe

1967

No listing

William H. Moloney

Brian R. Abrams

1970

No listing

1972–1976

No listing

At 55, 54, and 53 Holywell today

Merton College annexe

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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