Hostelry

As Oxford pubs recover from lockdowns we look back at our old hostelries

Pubs in the city are continuing to recover from restrictions imposed due to coronavirus and some are still feeling the effects of the impact on trade.

Here we look back at some of the pubs which have been loved and lost over the years.

In the past, pubs have been demolished for housing, or converted to other uses.

Two of Oxford’s oldest pubs – The Lamb & Flag in St Giles and The Mitre in High Street have shut and have not yet reopened.

Read again: Oxford’s oldest pub may not reopen

One of the old pubs we have pictured is the former Apollo in St Aldate’s, which still features the Morland Brewery plaque.Oxford Mail:

According to closedpubs.co.uk, which documents lost pubs, it was a lively place to visit before it closed in 1993.

One contributor wrote: “The Apollo was a very lively gay pub which closed in around 1993 I think.

Oxford Mail:

“I remember it as full of characters such as the landlord, Derek who often put on drag shows, swinging from a trapeze from the ceiling or arriving in front of the pub bedecked in feather boas on the bonnet of a customers Rolls Royce; all this right in front of the police station.

“Derek’s mother also lived above the pub as I remember. The Apollo had a great community vibe and some weekends I remember motorcades of customers driving to The Greyhound club in Slough after closing, only if there was no lock-in in a little room behind the bar.”

In 2012, The Cavalier pub in Marston was demolished.

Oxford Mail:

The pub, in Copse Lane was opened in 1956 but was demolished to make way for student flats after standing empty for four years.

It was the first pub to open in the city after the Second World War.

The pub closed in 2008 despite an appeal for support from the landlord, Brian Minns.

Read more: Historic Lamb & Flag pub in St Giles is to close

A sign was put outside the pub saying: “Pub or flats, your choice – support your local.”

Mr Minns, who is now a driving instructor, said at the time: “The local population didn’t use it so they lost it, and that was it.

“To me it is just a building of bricks and mortar.

“I was landlord of The Cavalier for five years and I have fond memories of it.

“There are some nice people there, but they cannot go out every night.”

The Cock and Camel pub off George Street became Jamie’s Italian restaurant in 2008 but the restaurant has closed and the building remains shut.

Far from the Madding Crowd in Friar’s Entry was popular until it closed in 2015.

Staff served the last customers after a 13-year spell in the city.

Landlord Charles Eld said it had been struggling since 2011 and blamed a number of factors including a change in the culture of drinking and the rent.

He said at the time: “It is a very sad day but the support we have received from our customers on Twitter has made a difficult time more bearable.”

The 63-year-old former manager of Morrells Brewing Company added: “I’m getting old now and I don’t think at my age I’d consider reopening the pub in another location.”

Far From the Madding Crowd was opened in 2002 by Mr Eld.

Oxford Mail:

After establishing itself as a place for a multitude of locally-sourced ales, it was awarded the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Pub of the Year Award in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Eld added: “What has caused a massive issue is minimum alcohol pricing, which puts a great strain on pub owners.

“The culture of drinking has changed too and we can’t compete with supermarket pricing of alcohol.”