HOLYWELL, OXFORD

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New College: Holywell buildings


In 1866 New College started purchasing a very long line of 27 cottages on the north side of Holywell Street (Nos. 69–95 inclusive) from Merton College, with a view to expanding outside the city wall for the first time in order to accommodate its growing number of undergraduates.

The result was two enormous blocks, separated by the Holywell gate with its tower, plus an adjoining tutor’s house to the east. The college insisted that all drainpipes and plumbing were put on the Holywell side of the buildings, which thus show their backs to the street.

The range was built in five phases, and the table below gives the order in which the Holywell houses were demolished. Continue to follow the arrow above to see the occupants of the houses which disappeared, and pictures of the current college buildings.

DEVELOPMENT OF NEW COLLEGE’S HOLYWELL STREET FRONTAGE

East of Holywell entrance

Entrance

West of Holywell entrance

Phase 4:
1887

Phase 6
1894

Phase 3:
1885

Phase 5b:
1896–7

Phase 5a:
1896–7

Phase 1:
1872–4

Phase 2
1875–7

Tutor’s house
by Champneys

An extra staircase inserted to join the tutor’s house to the 1885 block

Three-storey block
by Champneys (“Pandy”)

Two more staircases
by Champneys
linking tower to
his earlier block

Robinson Tower
over
Holywell Gate
by Champneys

Four staircases
(“Holywell
Building”)
by Scott

Married tutor’s
5-storey
tower
by Scott

Two more
staircases
by Scott

Formerly
Nos. 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, and 95

Demolished in 1887

Formerly
No. 89

Demolished in 1894

Also filled gap to side of tutor’s house

Formerly
Nos. 88
and 87

Demolished in 1885

Space
space beside original gateway

Formerly
Gateway
between
86 and 87

Nos. 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81 82, 83, 84, 85, 86

Demolished in 1871

Nos. 70, 71, 72
73, 74

Demolished
in 1874

The entire New College range

New College Holywell front in 1876 

The 1876 OS map (above) shows Nos. 87–95 Holywell Street before they were demolished to make way for Champneys’ Pandy Building. Their back gardens stretched as far as the Slype, which New College was using for stables.

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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