No. 14: Part of St John’s College

14 St Giles

No. 14 St Giles was built in about 1800 and is owned by St John's College. It is a Grade II listed building (List Entry No. 1369453). It lies in St Giles' parish, and was originally owned by Balliol College

At the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford, the former house on this site was occupied by Mrs Whalley, and its frontage was recorded as 8 yards 1 foot.


On 19 October 1813 Sir Francis Burdett, Bart. resided here at 14 St Giles' Street.

In 1820 Balliol College granted Sir Edward Hitchings a lease of 14 and 15 St Giles; Street for 40 years for a payment of £145 2s 6d. and a rent of 5s. for the former and 20s. for the latter. He moved into this house at No. 14, and lived there for five years until his death in 1825.

On 6 January 1842 Richard James Spiers wrote in his record book that he “took possession of 14 St Giles’, sleeping there for 1st time”. The 1851 census shows Spiers living in this house with his wife Elizabeth, five young children, and three house servants. He was described as a Town Councillor, and a manufacturer of fancy goods & china employing 28 persons and two apprentices: his shop was at 102 & 103 High Street.

Thirty years later in 1872 Spiers decided to move into a smaller house, handing over the keys of 14 St Giles' Street to Thomas Hill Green on 30 November.

By 1882 14 St Giles’ was occupied by Henry Nottidge Moseley, the Linacre Professor of Zoology. He was one of the six scientific members of staff on board the Challenger Expedition of 1872–6 and wrote Notes by a Naturalist on Board HMS Challenger.

At the time of the 1891 census George John Wilson (35), a physician, lived here with his wife and daughter and their two servants.

From 1899 Ruskin Hall, the forerunner of Ruskin College, was based here. The line drawing below of the back and the front of this house was published in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 28 January 1899:

Ruskin at 14 St Giles'

The accompanying report said:

We publish this week illustrations of the new democratic college which is to be inaugurated under the title of “Ruskin Hall,” at a meeting to be held in the Town Hall on February 22nd. The house depicted is No. 14, St. Giles', formerly occupied by Dr. Wilson. Our artist, in the course of his visit, ascertained that accommodation will be provided for 40 resident students in “Ruskin Hall,” which contains 28 rooms. How this is going to be done our artist was unable to comprehend. The promoters are doing their best to adapt the methods of the Hall to the needs of the prospective students, and in consequence they have determined to hold their principal lectures in the evening. This will give townspeople an opportunity of attending the lectures of the Hall, without infringing on their business hours, and upwards of 50 residents in the city have signified their intention of doing so. So far the promoters have secured the voluntary services of six graduate members of this University to act as lecturers, and Messrs. Vrooman and Beard are at present busily engaged lecturing in different towns on the subject of the Hall. There will certainly be plenty for the students to do when they come up – at least for those who are horticulturally inclined – for the garden (we cannot call them grounds, the whole extent of land attached to the Hall being barely more than 100 feet in length by about 36 feet across) is literally a miniature jungle of overgrown rose-stems, long grass, ferns, neglected fruit trees, ivy, and iris leaves. The Hall has a splendid outlook on St. Giles', there being eleven windows facing the thoroughfare, with a balcony to the French windows on the second floor. The young scions of the masses who are to be the “undergraduates” of this new college will thus be able to participate in the fun afforded by the great festival of St. Giles in September without risking the dignity of their alma mater by rubbing shoulders with the multitudes which congregate there.

In 1903 Ruskin College moved to a new home in Walton Street, and then into a brand-new building on that site in 1912.

The premises were then used by various business, and was taken over as accommodation for St John’s College in 2000

Occupants of 14 St Giles’ Street listed in censuses and directories


Thomas Perry

Richard Buckingham
Mrs Alice Buckingham, widow


Sir Edward Hitchings


Lydia Sirman


Alderman Richard James Spiers, J.P.


Thomas Hill Green
Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College


Professor Henry Nottidge Moseley


George John Wilson


Ruskin Hall


Miss Frost


Hugh Edward Egerton
Beit Professor of Colonial History & Fellow of All Souls College
(Mrs Egerton 1928–9)


Arthur W. Allen


St Giles Galleries Ltd
Furnishings & Decorations


Ernest Henry Tipping
Auctioneer, Land & Estate agent & Surveyor

Phaidon Press (1947)


Lofts & Warner (later Strutt & Parker Lofts & Warner)
Chartered Land agents, surveyors, auctioneers


H. Ridge & Partners
Chartered surveyors

H.J. Ridge & Partners
Electrical consulting engineers


Student accommodation for St John’s College

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

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