5 Cornmarket Street: Pizza Express (former Golden Cross Inn)

Pizza ExpressAbove: the former Golden Cross Inn in February 2009

Golden Cross west
Above: Inside the entrance to the Golden Cross in the 1930s

Golden Cross in 1930s
Above: The south range (which was rebuilt in the late 17th century) in the early 1930s

The Golden Cross was also known as the Cross Inn. Numbered 5 Cornmarket, it is well set back from the street with its courtyard in front. The old inn itself is now a pizza restaurant.

Nothing today remains of the original twelfth-century inn, but the south range dates from the seventeenth century and the courtyard is approached through a fifteenth-century gateway. It is Grade I listed (list entry 1047323).

This inn was in the parish of St Martin's (Carfax) until that church was demolished in 1896, whereafter it was in the parish of St Martin's & All Saints until All Saints Church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate.

This was a coaching inn during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In 1794 the following coaches were advertised as departing from the Golden Cross:

From the Cross Inn, Corn-market:—A coach every morning, at eight o'clock, to the Black Lion, Water-lane, Fleet-street, London, Sunday excepted; inside fare 19s. outside 10s.—A coach to Bath every morning, except Sunday, at seven o'clock; inside fare 1l. 2s. outside 13s.

By 1823 the only coach listed as setting out from the Golden Cross was one to Bath at 8.30 each morning.

In 1911 the total number of rooms in the hotel was recorded as 38.

The hotel closed in about 1967. It was then the Golden Cross restaurant until the 1980s.

The Golden Cross area was extensively altered in 1986, with a pedestrian link created to the Covered Market (planning application 85/00196/L).

See W. A. Pantin, “The Golden Cross” in Oxoniensia XX (1955), 46–89

Occupants of the Golden Cross at 5 Cornmarket Street in directories

To 1967

Golden Cross Inn

Innkeepers (subject to nineteenth-century university wine licences):

Thomas Greenwood (1794)
W. Seward (1823)
William Holland (1830); Mrs Holland (1835); A. A. Holland (1839), Ann Holland (1842);
    William John Holland (1845–1872)
Mrs Emma Franklin (1880–1890); Mrs Miriam Franklin (1891)
Miss Louisa J. Higgs, manageress (1899–1901)
Mrs Clara Ball (1903–1930)
Miss R. Munro, manageress (1932–1947)
Miss M. L. Hayward, manageress (1952–1962)
Mrs E. F. Fox, manageress (1967)


Golden Cross restaurant


Extensive alterations

By 1993–present

Pizza Express

Golden Cross Inn at 5 Cornmarket Street in the censuses


William Holland (25), innkeeper at the Golden Cross, lived here with Anne Holland (15), presumably his sister. (They were probably the children of the William Holland who was innkeeper until at least 1830.) They had nine resident servants (three male and six female). Seven guests were staying at the hotel on census night, including three commercial travellers and a seedsman.


William Holland (35) was still here, now with his brother George Holland (34): each was described as “Innkeeper & wine merchant”. They had ten servants (a housekeeper, two upper chambermaids, a waitress, a kitchen maid, and ostler, a cook, an upper and under porter, and an errand boy). Staying at the inn were five commercial travellers and two wine and spirit merchants.


William J. Holland (45) and his brother George (44), described respectively as Innkeeper and Assistant Innkeeper, still lived here. They had nine resident servants, but on census night there were only two guests: a wine merchant and a wine merchant’s traveller.


Miss Eliza Showell (41), hotel manager, lived here alone at the Golden Cross with an apprentice and eight servants (a barmaid, chambermaid, under-chambermaid, two waitresses, kitchen maid, and two boots). Three people stayed at the hotel on census night (two agents and a commercial traveller).


The inn was now described as the Golden Cross Hotel, and the hotel keeper was Mrs Emma Franklin, a widow of 54, who lived here with her 19-year-old son Henry, an ironmonger’s apprentice, and nine servants (a barmaid, a waiter, a waitress, a head chambermaid, an under chambermaid, a housemaid, a kitchenmaid, and a head and under boots). There were four guests on census night, all commercial travellers.


Mrs Miriam Franklin (25), the widowed hotel proprietor at the Golden Cross, lived here with her sister Rose Solloway (19), who lived on her own means. Also on the premises were nine servants (a manageress, barmaid, cook, waiter, waitress, head-under-boots, chambermaid, kitchenmaid, and housemaid). No guests are listed.


Miss Louisa Higgs (60), hotel manageress, lived here alone at the Golden Cross with eleven members of staff, all described as servants (two barmaids, a waitress, housemaid, chambermaid, kitchnmaid, pantrymaid, head boot, under boot, and waiter).


Mrs Clara Ball (51), a widowed hotel keeper, lived here alone with ten servants (a bookkeeper, housekeeper, barmaid, cook, waiter, a boots, and two chambermaids, one kitchen maid, and one pantry maid).

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