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View of the Holywell Music Room from 2008.
Holywell Music Room is located in Oxford city centre
Holywell Music Room
Location of The Holywell Music Room within central Oxford
George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), who performed in the Holywell Music Room.
Holywell Room in 2015 with altered facade and new fencing.
Holywell Room from behind

The Holywell Music Room is the city of Oxford's chamber music hall, situated on Holywell Street in the city centre, within the grounds of Wadham College.[1] It is said to be the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe, and hence Britain's first concert hall.[1]

It was built in 1748, designed by Dr Thomas Camplin, the vice-principal of St Edmund Hall.[1] The venue was important for popularizing the music of Haydn in 18th century England. He was the most frequently performed composer during 1788–1791; at short notice he was unable to attend a planned visit to the venue while in Oxford in 1791.[2][3] The auditorium includes an organ and U-shaped raked seating.

The building was Grade II* listed in 1954.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Tyack, Geoffrey (1998). Oxford: An architectural guide. Oxford University Press. pp. 187–188. ISBN 978-0-14-071045-8.
  2. ^ HUGHES, ROSEMARY S (1939). "HAYDN AT OXFORD: 1773—1791" (PDF). Music and Letters. XX (3) (3): 242–249. doi:10.1093/ml/XX.3.242. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  3. ^ Mee, John H. (1911). The oldest music room in Europe : a record of eighteenth-century enterprise at Oxford. London: John Lane. pp. 133–135.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1047232)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 October 2009.

External linksEdit