No. 34: Part of Oxford Internet Institute

34 St Giles

Nos. 34 is on the right-hand side of a terrace of three houses (34, 35, and 36 St Giles’ Street). They are jointly Grade II listed (List Reference No. 1047141) and They lie in St Giles' parish.

The block is nine bays wide and three storeys high, with attics and basements.

The Oxford builder Daniel Evans designed and built this house and its two adjoining neighbours in 1828/9 on a large plot of land leased for 99 years from the Oxford surgeon John Bull.

Evans chose to live this house himself, and let out the other two. The land at the back of this house stretched right around into Little Clarendon Street, where he established his new builder’s yard: this could easily be reached via a gate at the end of his back garden.

In 1933 all three houses were sold by Exeter College to the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oxford.

In 2004 an Oxfordshire blue plaque remembering both Daniel Evans and his son-in-law Joshua Symm was installed on this house.


In the 1841 census Daniel Evans, described as brickmaker, builder, and quarry owner, was living here with his wife Elizabeth and their sole daughter (also Elizabeth, born in Bolton in 1804) and his son-in-law and partner in business Joshua Robinson Symm, who had joined him as a stonemason in the 1830s. Also living in the house were a lodger (Miss Anna Juliana Goodenough, described as a fundholder) and three female servants.

34-36 St Giles

Evans died in November 1846 and Symm took over his business, remaining at this house until his death. The 1851 census shows him in this house at the age of 41 with his wife Elizabeth, their five-year-old daughter Hannah, and a cook and housemaid. They kept on Miss Goodenough as their lodger, and she was still living with them in 1861 at the age of 90.

Symm built many of the well-known buildings of Oxford, including Exeter College Chapel in the late1850s and the Wesley Memorial Church in New Inn Hall Street in 1877/8. His building firm grew enormously: in the 1881 census Symm is described as the employer of 155 men. The Symm building firm survived until 2020.

Symm’s only child Hannah died in 1875, and his wife also predeceased him. He remained in the house until his death on 19 July 1887: a lifelong Methodist, he was buried at the Wesley Memorial Church that his firm had built ten years before. Symm & Co. then purchased the freehold of No. 34 and it was let out to private tenants (initially at £25 a year).

In 1891 the house was occupied by Bertram Hunt  (35), a medical practitioner then living on his own means, and his wife and three children, plus three servants.

In 1902 Peattie & Axtell (a related company) bought No. 34 from the old builders' partnership and continued to let it out.

In 1926 No. 34 ceased to be a family home and was converted into offices. In 1933 the group of three houses at 34–36 St Giles was sold by Exeter College to the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oxford, but the use of this house as an Income Tax and Land Office remained unchanged.

From 1952 to 1999 No. 34 was the home of the Oxford & County Secretarial College (or “Ox & Cow”) . It is now used by the University of Oxford.

Occupants of 34 St Giles’ Street listed in censuses and directories


Daniel Evans, Builder*


Joshua Robinson Symm, Builder*


Bertram Hunt, M.B., M.R.C.S.


Charles Cannan, M.A.


Alfred Denis Godley, M.A.


1902: Mrs Austin
1903–1907: Ware Austin


Philip Edward Homer Adams, Surgeon


Rev. Herbert Louis Wild, Vicar of St Giles


Rev. Charles Fox Burney
Grinfield Lecturer on the Septuagint, Lecturer at St John’s, Worcester,
& Exeter Colleges; later Fellow of St John’s College


Income Tax & Land Tax Office


Unemployment Assistance Board


Oxford & County Secretarial School/College


University of Oxford Humanities Division
(was also Social Science Division to September 2008)


Theology Faculty


Part of Oxford Internet Institute

* See Brian R. Law, Building Oxford’s Heritage. Symm and Company from 1815 (Symm & Company, 1998) for more information on Daniel Evans and Joshua Robinson Symm.

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

Oxford History home