29 Holywell Street

29 Holywell Street

Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1369378. The house dates from the early seventeenth century, with eighteenth-century additions.

Owned by Harris Manchester College.

This house has a gateway to the right of the door, which now leads to Harris Manchester College but presumably used to lead to No. 29A.

The opening to the livery stables Nos. 29 and 30 is sometimes given the number “29½”, but is dealt with under No. 30 where it more logically belongs.)

In the early 1860s this house was an extension to the New College School boarding house at No. 28 next door. Then at the beginning of 1865, as this advertisement from Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 7 January that year shows, Mrs Gardner opened a boarding school for young ladies here:

Advertisement for school on 7 January 1865

The 1876 OS map shows that this house had greenhouses and a fountain in the back garden.

By the early 1930s this house was owned by Manchester College, which provided higher education to religious nonconformists. This had been founded as the Warrington Academy in 1757 before being refounded in Manchester in 1786 as the Manchester Academy, and after periods in York, Manchester a second time, and London, it finally moved to Oxford in 1893, changing its name to Harris Manchester College in 1996. They named this house Rathmell after Rathmell Academy, the oldest non-conformist seat of learning in the north of England.

The two crests on this house are those of Dr John Henry Felix (at various times Chair of the Board of Regents, member of the Governing Body, and Supernumerary Fellow) and Laurel Blossom (an American poet, member of the Board of Regents and a Foundation Fellow of the college).

29 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

Arthur Elvey (35), an organist, lived here with Ann (35); 15 boy choristers aged between 9 and 14; and two female servants.


Stephen Elvey (45), a Professor of Music, lived here with his wife Louisa (36) and his niece Bertha Purdue (27) and his nephew Stephen Herbert Trous, a student in music. Sixteen choristers from New College were boarding with them in the house, including Stephen Elvey junior (8). They had one housemaid.


William Tuckwell (31), Head master of New College School, lived here with his wife Rosa (30) and daughter Rose (1). Boarding with them were the Mathematics teacher and six of the boys at the school, aged from 9 to 13. They had five female servants. They are described as living in both 28 and 29 Holywell Street.


Henry Houghton (30), a pianoforte dealer, lived here with his wife Ella (22). They had one elderly servant.


Henry Houghton (40), now a widower, was still a pianoforte dealer living here with his nine-year-old twin daughters Ella and Mabel, plus his housekeeper.


Edward Ffoulkes (72), the Vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, lived here with his wife Anne (60) and their children Charles (22), who was an artist painter, and Sophia (21). They had three servants (a cook, parlourmaid, and housemaid).


Frederick Armitage (73), a clergyman of the Church of England, lived here with his wife Katherine (66) and his unmarried daughter Diana (31). They had two servants (a cook and a housemaid).


The house was being looked after by a housemaid and parlourmaid.

Occupants of 29 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.





Frontage: 8 yds 1 ft 3 in
Mr Harris


New College School Boarding House

George Cox (1830)

Stephen Elvey, D.M., Teacher of music (1839–1852)

Revd William Tuckwell, Master of the School in 1861
[with the boarding house then extended to 28 next door]


Mrs Gardner’s Boarding School for Young Ladies (JOJ, January 1865)

John Gardner (listed as occupant in 1866 directory)


Henry Houghton
Piano warehouse



F. W. Spurling,
Tutor at Wadham in 1875 and 1876

A. W. Wood
Dancing master at 29a in 1889


Mrs Ffoulkes


Revd Frederick Armitage, M.A.
Lecturer of Balliol College


Mrs Inge

Fred Aplin, horse dealer, listed between Nos. 29 & 30


Revd Alexander James Carlyle
Lecturer of Lincoln College


Revd J. H. Weatherall
Principal of Manchester College


Revd R. Nicol Cross, M.A., Principal & bursar, Manchester College


Planning application 51/01924/A_H. Converted into three flats


Misses Carlyle

Revd Sidney Spencer, M.A.,
Principal, Manchester College
at “The Lodge, Martineau Arch” in 1956


Revd Lancelot Garrad at 29A


M. Hester at 29A


No listing

J. McRae Duff at 29A


M. Hester at 29A


Part of Harris Manchester College

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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