Dolphin Gate of Trinity College
and Dolphin quadrangle of St John’s

Balliol, Trinity, St John's

Three colleges (Balliol, Trinity, and St John’s) all meet here on the site of the former Dolphin Inn, which had a frontage to St Giles of 28 yards:

  • The northernmost tip of Balliol College (the house at 1 St Giles’ Street with the bay window and triangular lintel) is on the right;
  • The archway of the Dolphin Gateway of Trinity College, with rooms above (built by Sir Hubert Worthington in 1947–8) is attached to the north side of No. 1;
  • Next comes the Dolphin Quadrangle of St John’s College (marked by the neo-Georgian building with the balcony built by Edward Maufe in 1948, and the stretch of wall).

The Dolphin Quadrangle, whose entrance is in the centre of the above photograph stands on the site of the former 2, 3, and 4 St Giles Street, three private houses which until the early nineteenth century had been the Dolphin Inn. There is an advertisement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for a bull-baiting to be held at the inn on 6 and 7 September 1784, with a prize of a silver collar for the dog that penned the bull best.

Trinity's Dolphin Gate is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1183851).

Dolphin Inn

The northern part of the Dolphin Inn can be seen in the engraving on the right, which dates from 1773.

The three houses that formed the inn became lodgings for St John’s College by the 1870s and were known as the South Buildings: they can be seen occupied by St John’s students in this picture on the English Heritage website: note how the ground-floor windows are barred.

The houses were demolished in 1881, but no use was made of the cleared site until the St John’s built its Dolphin Quadrangle in 1948

At the time of the 1851 census, Mrs Mary Mason, a retired college servant of 71 with a servant of her own, lived in No. 2 St Giles Street. In No. 3 lived Mrs Kitty Lee, a widow of independent means (also aged 71) with one servant; and in No. 4 lived John Parrott, a journeyman carpenter, with his wife and son. This latter house was also used as an office by Baker Morrell, the solicitor who lived at No. 1.

By 1861, all three houses were occupied by college servants: Thomas Moses Allnutt was at No. 2 with his wife and eight children and two lodgers; William Uphill and his wife were at No. 3; and John Parrott and his wife were at No. 4.

In 1881 the three houses were demolished.

Occupants of the former Dolphin Inn listed in censuses and directories
(grey background = earlier building)


2 St Giles

3 St Giles

4 St Giles


Joshua Fisher


Edward Michael Knowles

Mrs Catherine
(Kate/Kitty) Lee

Baker Morrell & Son
Solicitors (offices)
(Morrell & Biddle in 1861)

John Parrott
Carpenter/college servant (upstairs)


Mrs Mary Mason


Moses Thomas Allnutt
College servant

William Uphill
College servant


J.B. Spearing
Land agent & surveyor


Mrs Huthnance
Lodging house

George Johnson
Lodging house

Miss Wyatt


S.T. Hughes


Vacant site, behind new wall


Dolphin Quadrangle

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

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