Old Morris Garages, 21 Long Wall Street

Old Morris garages, 21 Long Wall Street

The same view in 1913, with hire cars outside and in 1925

In 1902 William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) took over the disused livery stables on this site,

In 1909–10 Morris demolished the livery stables and replaced them with the Morris Garage, designed by Tollit & Lee. Its front façade and other parts survive today (shown above), and the building is Grade II listed (1407549). See report in the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 13 July 1910 (p. 6), and in the Oxford Chronicle of 14 October 1910 (p. 9).

The central doorway led to a covered garage and workshop. Later, as Lord Nuffield, he had an office on the first floor of this building, which was given the address of 21 Long Wall Street.. Formerly the land had been part of 100 Holywell Street.

In 1977 the whole building was threatened with demolition, but the frontage, side elevation, and roof structure were retained when in 1980 it was developed as student accommodation for New College by John Fryman of the Oxford Architects Partnership. It is now entered from the south, behind the central archway. In 2016 planning permission was granted to New College to erect a single-storey building in the Morris yard for students with disabilities and make further alterations (16/03209/FUL).

Most of this site was originally attached to 100 Holywell Street to the west, which had a frontage of 51 yards at the time of the 1771 Survey.

In the nineteenth century this land was occupied by:

  • The printing office of Jackson’s Oxford Journal This had the address of the house next door to which it belonged (namely 60 Holywell Street until 1837, and then 100 Holywell Street under the new numbering system). The newspaper’s founder, William Jackson, died in 1795, leaving the ownership of the paper to Miss Mary Jones, and on her death in 1816 it passed to its printers, Grosvenor & Hall. William Hall became sole proprietor of the newspaper in 1824. The printing office moved out in 1894, in 1899, the Oxford Times Company bought the business from the Hall family.
  • Livery stables The coach proprietor Christopher Waddell ran these stables by 25 June 1834, when he and his wife Sarah had their son Christopher baptised at Holywell Church. The 1841 census shows that his family lived in the adjoining house at 100 Holywell Street.

It is likely that in 1894 the livery stables also took over the premises vacated by Jackson’s Oxford Journal.

It is unclear from the 1876 OS map below which part of the land attached to the 100 Holywell Street  site was then occupied by the livery stables and which by the printing office, but it seems more likely that the livery stables would have been behind, as tentatively marked in red:

Site of 21 Long Wall Street

Letter box in Holywell


Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 26 January 1878 reported the installation of the letter box (right) in the wall of the land attached to 100 Holywell Street :

NEW POST OFFICE LETTER BOX.—The Post Office authorities have this week placed a letter box in the wall of the house, No. 100 Holywell-street, which is situate at the junction of that street with Long Wall-street, and the road leading to the Church. The new box will be a great convenience in the locality, and the hours of clearing are 9.30 a.m., 2.20, 5.30, 7.15, and 9.0 p.m. on week days, and 2 p.m. on Sundays

It would indeed have been a great convenience to the newspaper’s printing office, then behind the wall.

The original Victorian letter box was replaced in the wall of the Morris Garage, and is still in use today.


In 2018 this garage was named as one of the top ten most important sites that have shaped England's trade and industry

Site of 21 Long Wall Street in directories (listed under Holywell Street until 1914)

Survey of Oxford

Frontage: 51 yds 0 ft 0 in
Mr Pepall: House [100 Holywell Street] and yard [21 Long Wall Street]

By 1834–1851

Christopher Waddell, coach master


Oxford Journal Printing Office


William Franklin Livery Stables


H. J. Fletcher Livery Stables


E. Simmonds & Son, fruit salesmen


The Morris Garages
(W. R. Morris, proprietor): 1914

The Morris Garages Ltd.
(Service depot & Hire department), Phone 2241 (4 lines); Wire, “Auto” (1935–1936)

The Morris Garages Ltd
Self-Drive Hire Department (1976)

At 21 Long Wall Street today

New College annexe

Long Wall home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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