Historic building company Symm has gone into administration, it is understood.

The company, based at Kemp House, Cumnor Hill, has a building and decorating history stretches back  over 200 years.

It employs an estimated 150 staff and it is understood they were told the bad news by managing director Phil Morton at a meeting yesterday morning.

A long-serving member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: "We were told the company is now in administration - everybody as of yesterday was made redundant.

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"I think it came as a shock to everyone - there had been a few whispers but you did not know it was coming - you think things are going to turn a corner.

"The current market is very difficult - it is increasingly difficult to win the big contracts because there is no much competition out there.

"Unfortunately the pipeline of work was not there."

The member of staff said following the briefing from Mr Morton workers were given paperwork by administrators Critchleys.

Symm going into administration has not yet been officially logged on Companies House documentation.

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The website says: "With a continuous presence in Oxford since the reign of King George III Symm employs the real characters behind some of the city's glorious buildings.

"Our Chairman, James Axtell, is the great-great grandson of the talented mason, Thomas Axtell, a partner of the Victorian master builder, Joshua Symm. Our building and decorating history stretches back  over 200 years.

"Today, Symm has gained a reputation for delivering  beautiful buildings for satisfied clients. From traditional country cottages to stylish London penthouses, historic national monuments to commercial public buildings, Symm has the expertise, experience and dedication to ensure quality, craftsmanship and the highest professional standards."

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Oxford Preservation Trust is one of the organisations the company cites as a supporter.

In 2017 Berinsfield-based building company Knowles went into administration with the loss of about 80 jobs.

Administrator Lawrence King, of Critchleys, said: "The company has experienced recent tough trading conditions and the current pipeline of work is not sufficient to continue this longstanding and highly regarded Oxford brand.

"The directors have explored various alternative paths but have taken the difficult decision to appoint an administrator.

"The company operated its joinery and cabinetry business from two sites in Pershore, Worcestershire with its main construction function operating from Oxford.

"Any creditor, employee or customer of the company will be able to contact the administrator’s office on symm-co@critchleys.co.uk or 01865 261219."