No. 36a: First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oxford

First Church of Christ Scientist

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oxford (built in 1986) and the Christian Science Reading Room (completed in July 2004) occupy 36A St Giles’.

In 1933 the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oxford bought 34, 35, and 36 St Giles’ from Exeter College and proceeded to erect a church in the grounds at the back of 35 and 36. Opened in 1934, it was dedicated on 23 May 1954 when free from debt.

Nos. 34 and 35 were let and then sold in later years, while the church used No. 36 for a caretaker’s flat at the top, church offices, Sunday School, and a Reading Room open to the public.

The old church was demolished and a new one built in 1986. A Sunday School and paved gardens were added, and it was dedicated in May 1991. Ten years later a fire, started by malicious ignition, destroyed the main part of the church, but this was restored and reopened eight months later on 6 October 1996.

By deciding to sell 36 St Giles’, in 2003 the church was able to build a modern ground-floor Reading Room behind, complementing the church and enhancing the self-contained site (now known as 36a St Giles’) with a new gate, glazed canopy, and improved landscaping.

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

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