Scope and Content

The foundations of Symm and Company were started by Daniel Evans in 1820 when he began work on Magdalen Hall (now Hertford College). In the 1840's he entered into partnership with Joshua Robinson Symm who became his son-in-law and successor in 1846. Symm was responsible for the development of the business; winning contracts with University Colleges, notably Exeter College and Christ Church College, that made them known to a wider audience. In 1874 Symm entered into partnership with Thomas Howard, Thomas Axtell and Benjamin Hart and the firm was continued by Hart and Axtell when Symm and Howard retired in 1884. In 1902 a new partnership was formed that included Thomas Axtell's second son Richard, Harry Hart and Richard Evans. On Richard Evans retirement in 1926 the business became a limited company. Leonard Hart and Dudley Axtell joined their fathers as Directors, with Graham Axtell joining in 1933. The firm merged with Axtell and Perry in 1972, with Axtell Perry Symm Masonry becoming a subsidiary of the main company. The Symm group now comprises of Symm and Company, APS Masonry and Sharp and Howse.

The main section of records reflects the changes to the management of the company through the years. There are records relating to the adoption of new partners when Joshua Symm retired, records relating to the formation of a limited company, and records relating to subsequent partnerships with other building firms. There are also separate records of the firm Axtell and Perry, founded in 1922 by William Axtell and Harold Perry, before them became part of Symm in 1972.

The records were originally deposited by Symm and Company Ltd as Acc 774 and Acc 782 in January and February 1969. Further deposits were received ass Acc 4469 in March 1999, Acc 4511 in June 1999, Acc 5668 in August 2007, Acc 5879 in July 2009, Acc 5940 in April 2010 and Acc 5955 in August 2010.

Catalogued by Alison Smith November 2010

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