HOLYWELL, OXFORD

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New College Champneys buildings (site of Nos. 87–89)


Champneys building

Part of a Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1300697. Built by Basil Champneys in Clipsham ashlar. (Champneys’ block is jointly listed with his Robinson Tower and Scott’s buildings to the west.)

In 1885, just ten years after Scott built the huge range of buildings to the west of its Holywell entrance, New College decided to build another extension to the east. Because of the negative impact of the first block, the architect Basil Champneys was asked to restrict this new block, shown above. to three storeys. This lower and narrower block became known as “Pandy”, short for “Pandemonium”. The Champneys block meant the demolition of Nos. 87 & 88 Holywell Street.

No. 87 was a sizeable house and garden, with a frontage equivalent to three of the average Holywell cottages and had been occupied by New College students for five years: Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 23 October 1880 reports as follows:

At New Collyge [sic], Messrs. Knowles and Son, of Holywell, have converted the house, No. 87 Holywell-street, lately in the occupation of Mrs. Chapman, into four sets of rooms for Undergraduates.

In Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 12 June 1880 there is an advertisement for two auctions relating to No. 88, following the death of Mr Key, a stocking-maker. One is for all the household furniture and stock-in-trade of a hosier (including shop fittings and “about 60 Dozen of the celebrated Tewksbury stockings”), and the other is for the house itself:

All that desirable DWELLING HOUSE, No. 88 Holywell Street, Oxford, containing three bed rooms, drawing, dining and back sitting room; two washhouses, w.c., large garden at back, side entrance, and passage from street. This property is held under Lease from Merton College, for a term of 40 years from September, 1853.

An auction advertised in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 26 June 1869 described Nos. 88 and 89 thus:

Lot 1. – The LEASEHOLD DWELLING HOUSE, No. 88, Holywell-street, in the occupation of Mr. Etheridge, containing a cellar in the basement, entrance sitting room, and kitchen on the ground floor, and four rooms above; good Garden, with detached wash-house &c.,&c. Land Tax, 15s.

Lot 2 – The LEASEHOLD DWELLING HOUSE, No. 89, Holywell-street, in the occupation of Mrs. Brown, containing cellars and kitchen in the basement, two sitting rooms on the ground floor, and four rooms above; good Garden, with wash-house, &c. &c. Land Tax, 1l. 1s.

N.B. The above lots are held by lease under Merton College, Oxford, for a term of 40 years from the 11th of October, 1855.

No. 89 Holywell Street: the last house to go

Following the building of the tutor’s house at the easternmost extremity of the New College site, in 1894 No. 89 was demolished to make room for an extra staircase to link the tutor’s house to the Pandy building. Austin Etheridge, who lived at No. 89 until 1894, was the sub-librarian of All Souls College. After seeing his neighbours to the west demolished for the Pandy Building in 1885, and those to the east for the tutor’s house in 1887, he must have lived for several years wedged in on both sides by New College until his lease also ran out.

87–89 Holywell Street in the censuses

1841

The 1841 census for Holywell does not give house numbers, but it is possible to deduce where people listed that year lived by examining directory entries between 1839 and 1842 and later censuses

No. 87
James Chapman (30), a baker, lived here with Hannah (30) and Eliza (5), Harriet (3), and John (five months), and Alfred Richards (25), who was probably a lodger. No division line is made betwen this and the previous house of Elizabeth Hounslow (85).

No. 88

No. 89
William Thorp (40), a tailor, lived here with two schoolmistresses: Ann Thorp (35), who was likely to be his sister, and Eliza Hewitt (25). Also in the household was an assistant schoolmistress called Harriet Hounslow. They had one female servant.

1851

No. 87
John Chapman (45), a tripe dresser, lived here with his wife Hannah (40) and his children Eliza (14), Harriet (13), James (11), John (10), Hannah (8), Martha (5), and Thomas (1).

No. 88
John Patey (58), a college servant, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (55) and his sons Charles (21), also a college servant) and Samuel (15). They had one servant.

No. 89
Richard Burrows (37), a college servant at The Queen's College, lived here with his wife Jane (35) and their children Frederick (8), Jane (2), and Henry (6 months). They had one servant.

1861

No. 87
Harriet Brain
(59), an independent widow, and James Chapman (56) a baker are named as joint heads. Also living in the house are Chapman’s wife Harriet (52) and his children Harriet (13), Hannah (18), and Thomas (12).

No. 88
John Smith
(43), an upholsterer, lived here with his wife Sarah (44) and his children William (18, college servant), Elizabeth (15), Emma (11), John (9), Alice (7), and Jane (5). They also have a widow of 73, Sarah Broadwater, as a lodger.

No. 89
Elizabeth Francis (56), a widowed laundress, was living here with her unmarried sister Margaret (49), who was her assistant. They had one house servant.

1871

No. 87
Sarah Mills
 (28), a dressmaker, lived here alone.

No. 88
Letitia Key
 (49), a widowed stocking maker, lived here with her sister Maria Cavell (57), her sister's husband Job Cavell (60), and her nieces Clara Key (16) and Mary Ann Davis (8).

No. 89
Listed as unoccupied.

1881

Nos. 87 & 88: Not listed: probably awaiting demolition.

No. 89
Austin F. G. Etheridge
, a college librarian born on the Isle of Wight, lived here with his wife Eliza and children William (13) and Gertrude (6). The family had one general servant. Their house at No. 82 had been demolished in 1871.

1891

Nos. 87 & 88: Replaced by part of New College

No. 89
Austin F. G. Etheridge
 (51), a librarian, was still hanging on in this sole remaining house with his wife Eliza (50) and their son William (23), who now had an Oxford B.A., and their daughter Gertrude (16). They had one general servant.

The last house in this group of three was demolished in 1894.

Occupants of 87–89 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

 

No. 89 (left)

No. 88 (middle)

No. 87 (right)

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1772
Survey of
Oxford

Frontage:
5 yds 0 ft10 in
Mr Rawlins junior

Frontage:
5 yds 1 ft 0 in
Mr Kensel

Frontage:

13 yds 0 ft 2 in
Mr Bignel:
House and garden

1839

William Thorp[e]
Tailor

Thomas Halsey
Livery stables

James Chapman
senior (from 1846)

1846

Thomas Mundy
College servant (1841, 1846)

1851

Richard Burrows
College servant

James Patey
College servant

1861

Mrs Elizabeth Francis
Laundress

John Smith (census)

Mrs Smith (directory)

1866

Mrs Charwood

1871

No listing

Mrs Key

W. Key
Stocking maker
from 1872

1872–1876

Mrs Etheridge
Milliner & dressmaker

Austin F. G. Etheridge
Sub-librarian of
All Souls College
from 1876

 

1881–1884

Not listed: being rebuilt as
the Pandy Building of New College

1885–1894

Nos. 87–89 today

Part of New College

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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