Old Indian Institute (was 41–44 Holywell Street)

Indian Institute

Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1369355
Built 1893–1896. Architect: Basil Champneys. Holywell front has varied fenestration.
Brief history of the Indian Institute building

The four houses facing Holywell Street (41, 42, 43, and 44) were in Holywell parish from 1841 to 1881, but the Indian Institute that replaced them was in St Peter-in-the-East parish, as only its side faced Holywell Street.

No. 41
This was the side of the coffee house (later a private house) that stood on the corner.

No. 42
This was the Dolphin pub until 1841.

No. 43
Parson Woodforde wrote on 16 February 1763: “I took Wallington in Holiwell this Morning for my Taylor”, and the 1772 Survey of Oxford shows that No. 43 was the home of a man of that name.

No. 44
This was the Coach & Horses pub. The Creed family were landlords for a long period in the nineteenth century. James Creed was described as a helper or servant at the King’s Arms when his children were baptised at Holywell Church between 1813 and 1828, but by 1841 he had his own pub here. His widow Hannah kept the pub after his death, and then their married daughter Elizabeth Gilbert. The latter took over the Dog & Partridge on the corner of Broad Street and Parks Road in 1882 when the Coach & Horses was due to be demolished along with its three neighbours to the east and another three buildings at the top of Catte Street, to make way for the first phase of the Indian Institute. She took the inn sign with her and renamed her new pub the Coach & Horses.

There were billiard rooms behind this group of shops. On 29 September 1866 the forthcoming auction of that building, which was held on lease from the Warden and Scholars of Merton College for forty years from Lady Day 1852, was advertised thus in Jackson's Oxford Journal:

TWO capital BILLIARD ROOMS, with Slate Tables, nearly new (by Burroughes and Watts), with Cues, Balls, Marking Boards, &c.; Marker's Room, Cottage, and small Garden, with entrance from Holywell Street, in the occupation of Mrs Rockall.

The extract below from the 1876 OS map shows how large the side of the corner coffee house at No. 41 was. Nos. 42 and 43 were much smaller buildings, and then came the Coach & Horses at No. 44.

The map shows the entrance to the billiard rooms between Nos. 44 and 45.

Site of Indian Institute, 1876

On 14 October 1882 Jackson's Oxford Journal reported that Messrs Wyatt & Son had pulled down six old houses and were laying the foundations, and that the builders Messrs. J. R. Symm & Co. had commenced operations.

41–44 Holywell Street in the censuses


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. 41
No separate listing for the Holywell side of the coffee shop on the corner, numbered 34 Broad Street.

No. 42
Thomas Barnes
(50), a publican, lived here at the Dolphin with Ann (70) and Elizabeth (4). Another family lived in the house: Thomas Vize (25), who was a post boy, and Maria (20) and Eliza (8).

No. 43
Charles Pike (43), a tailor, lived here with Harriett (20) and Charles (1). Also living in the house was a 15-year-old apprentice and a lady of 45.

No. 44
James Creed
(50), the publican of the Coach & Horses, lived here with his wife Hannah (50) and Sarah (15). They had three lodgers.


No. 41
No separate listing for the Holywell side of the former coffee shop (now a private house) on the corner, numbered 34 Broad Street, but under his listing at the latter address the surgeon John Freeman Wood is described as “living also no. 41 in Holywell Street”.

No. 42
Thomas Allsopp
(33), a porter at a coach office, lived here with his wife Caroline (31) and their children Thomas (6), Elizabeth (3), and Noah (5 months), as well as his unmarried sister-in-law Jane Grant (24) who was a dressmaker. They had an undergraduate lodger, and one servant.

No. 43
John W. Parker (27), a turner and pianoforte tuner, lived here with his wife Margaret (32), who was a dressmaker, and their daughter Emily (2). A dressmaker’s apprentice aged 13 also lived with them.

No. 44
James Creed
(66), the publican, lived here at the Coach & Horses with his wife Hannah (61) and their daughter Eliza (22) and a lodger.


No. 41
Mary Rockall (a widow of 66), the proprietor of the Billiard Rooms, is listed as living at No. 41 with her married daughter Frances Mucklow (36), her granddaughter Fanny Mucklow (15), her nice Mary Rockall (33), plus a resident nurse. In fact, however, this is probably a property behind Holywell.

No. 42
Thomas Allsop (43), a porter and coal agent, lived here with his wife Caroline (49) and his children Benjamin (19), Elizabeth (12), Ada (9), Caroline (7), George (2), and Florence (2 months).

No. 43
Elizabeth Masslin (50), a widowed shopkeeper, lived here with her son George (13), and two lodgers (an undergraduate and a butcher).

No. 44 (Coach & Horses)
Hannah Creed (a widow of 70), a victualler, lived here with her married daughter Elizabeth Gilbert (39) and her grandchildren Ann (11), Elizabeth (8), Sarah (4), and James Gilbert (2). They had a carpenter boarding with them.


No. 41
Not listed: side of the property at 34 Broad Street.

No. 42
Mary Walklett (46), a widowed lodging house keeper, lived here with her sons George (13) and Walter (11).

No. 43
Eliza Masslin (59) still lived here with her son George (23), who was a photographer, and a lodger.

No. 44 (Coach & Horses)
Elizabeth Gilbert (49), a widow, kept the public house and lived here with her children Ann (22), who was a dressmaker, and James (12). They had a 17-year-old servant girl.


No. 41
Not listed: side of the property at 34 Broad Street.

No. 42
Mary Walklett
(51) was still a lodging house keeper, living here with her sons John (21), an unemployed bookseller, and Walter (21), a gilder. A clergyman lodged with them.

No. 43
Eliza Masslin
(74), a lodging house keeper, still lived here with her son George (33), who was an unemployed photographer and her son’s wife Emma (29). They had a boarder who was an unemployed sick nurse, and a lodger who was an upholsterer.

No. 44 (Coach & Horses)
Elizabeth Gilbert (59), described as a licensed victualler, still lived here with her son James (22), who was a compositor.

Houses then demolished: henceforth part of Indian Institute

Francis Lambert (51), the head porter, lived in the porter’s accommodation at the very top of the building with his wife Emma (44), who was a cook and their son Herbert (20), who was a pupil teacher, plus Emma's father Henry Keene (81), described as a shopkeeper.

Also living in the building in a separate “household” was the resident keeper Ernest Sibree, Librarian and Tutor in Sanskrit.


Francis Lambert (62) is still listed as Porter & Caretaker at the Indian Institute. with his wife Emma (54) who was a cook.

Also living in the building as a separate “household” was the Assistant Keeper and librarian (32), who was born in Ceylon and whose name is recorded as Martius de S. Wickremasinge.


No listing.

Occupants of 41–44 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.


No. 44

No. 43

No. 42

No. 41*

of Oxford

5yd 2ft 2in
Mr Pritchard

5yd 0ft 6in
Mrs Adams

5yd 1ft 6in
Mr Wallington

14yd 1ft 11in
Mrs Baggs


Coach & Horses

Some landlords:

James Creed

Hannah Creed,
his wife
(by 1861)

Mrs Elizabeth Gilbert
(daughter of James & Hannah Creed)

Charles Pike

The Dolphin:
Sarah Nunney

Sarah Partridge


Thomas Barnes

The number 41
was allocated to
the side of the
corner coffee house
(later a private
house) facing
Broad Street

John Wood, GP (1851)

Professor Donkin

Mrs Donkin (1872)

Vacant in 1876


Caroline Elizabeth

Straw-hat maker

Mrs Allsop (1861)

Thomas Allsop
Ccoal merchant


John Parker
piano tuner & music seller and
M. Parker
Milliner & dressmaker


Mrs Maslin (1861)

E. Masslen
Fancy repository (1866)

Mrs Eliza Masslen or Masslin


Mrs Walklett
University lodgings

From 1884

No listing: Side of Indian Institute which was built to face Broad Street


Side of Old Indian Institute building

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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