"The building reminds me of a Quaker Meeting House. I like the stark simplicity and combination of elevation, sun catching the front facade, the street lamp and tree." J J Marshall
Holywell Music Room was opened in 1748 and is the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe; before then musicians would have performed in Oxford’s ale-houses, churches and venues with other primary functions. The music room was paid for by public subscription and by fund-raising concerts given in Christ Church and the King’s Head Tavern. Early concerts could be rowdy affairs and a request for people to not allow ‘dogs to follow them to the room’, is on record, as is a violin broken by an orange thrown at the orchestra. Maybe it was something to do with numbers: the Holywell used to seat 400 ‘commodiously’ but today numbers are restricted to about half that.
The Holywell Music Room is the city’s chamber music hall and as well as putting on evening concerts, it also hosts the popular Sunday morning Coffee Concerts which have been running since 1986 and have since established themselves as one of the most successful chamber music series in the country.