32/33 Cornmarket Street (former NatWest/George/Three Goats)


The former NatWest building on the north-west corner of Cornmarket (and stretching back as far as 1 George Street) was built in 1912, replacing the George Hotel.

This site eventually took the number 33 Cornmarket Street, but earlier on it was 32 or 32A (a number lost from the top of the other side of Cornmarket). It was in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church, as is the present building.

Early pubs on this site, 1602–1853

On 29 April 1602 Thomas Maddox received permission to hang out the sign of the Falcon on the former building on this corner.

On 4 June 1621 Robert Woolley changed the sign to the Three Goats' Heads, the sign of the cordwainers, of which he was a member, and that was its name until it was demolished in 1853.

For all the leases granted by the City Council for this property from 1606 to 1832, see Salter's Oxford City Properties, p. 236.

The George Hotel, 1853–1911

The former pub was rebuilt on a grander scale in 1853 and renamed the George Hotel. The well-known Oxford architect Harry George Walter Drinkwater lived here in his youth: he was the son of George Drinkwater who ran the George from at least 1861 to 1881.

The George Hotel was demolished in 1911.

The present building since 1911

When an architect's drawing of the present building by Homes & Lucas was published in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 13 July 1910, it was described as “ the George Street sky-scraper”.

On 7 October 1911 the National Provincial Bank of England, which had opened in 1909 in 14 Magdalen Street, moved into the ground floor of the new building. The George Café opened upstairs and on 19 February 1913 the Oxford Journal Illustrated published a photograph of its first-floor dining and tea room.

  • Photograph of 1936 showing the National Provincial Bank with the sign for the George Café upstairs

In 1957 the National Provincial Bank took over the part of the premises occupied by the George Café.

The bank was renamed the National Westminster after the merge of the National Provincial with the Westminster Bank in 1970. This branch of NatWest closed in November 2017 and reopened in smaller premises at 43 Cornmarket.

Occupants of the pub/hotel/bank on the NW corner with George Street
(variously numbered 32/32A or 33 Cornmarket) listed in directories etc.

To 1851

The Three Goats

Some innkeepers (subject to nineteenth-century university wine licences):
James Jackman (1823–1830
Thomas Bishop (1835–1850)
Mrs Summers (1852)

Rebuilt in 1853


The George

Some hotel keepers (subject to nineteenth-century university wine licences):
George Drinkwater (1861–1881)
William Barrett (1881–1884)
Andrew H. Milloy (1885)
A. B. B. Baker (1887)
G. F. Snook (1890)
Frank Gillard (1901–1909)

Rebuilt again in 1911


NatWest Bank (named National Provincial & Union Bank of England Ltd until 1968)
(with the George Café upstairs until 1957)



Former houses at 32/33 Cornmarket Street in the censuses


The inn keeper at the “3 Goats’ Inn”was Thomas Bishop (50), who lived here with Ann Bishop (45) and Jane Alchin (15). They had five servants (four female and one male), and two commercial travellers were staying on census night.


Thomas Bishop (54), now described as a wine merchant, was still at the “Goat’s Inn”, and was now a widower. Living with him was a temporary housekeeper and three female servants.

Rebuilt in 1853

Now renamed the “George Inn”. George Drinkwater (52), hotel keeper, lived here with his wife Eliza (46) and children Caroline (18), Harry George Walter (17), an architect’s articled clerk, Mary Ann (15), and Albert (9). The staff comprised a barmaid, cook, waitress, chambermaid, ostler, and boots. Three commercial travellers were staying at the inn on census night.


George Drinkwater (62), licensed victualler, still lived here at the George Hotel with his wife Eliza (58) and their daughter Mary Ann (24). Also living with them was an assistant, a boots, and three servant. There was only one guest (a commercial traveller) staying at the hotel.


George Hotel: William Barrett (49), hotel keeper, lived here with his wife Sarah and children Charlotte (1) and Samuel (14), both of whom were born in Torquay, and his Oxford-born niece Alice Summers (19). There were five live-in servants: an ostler, cook, chambermaid, waitress, and boots. Staying at the inn were two commercial travellers.


George Hotel: Arthur Stedman (31), licensed victualler, lived here with his wife Emily (32) and their son Harold (1). Seven members of staff (described as servants) also lived on the premises: two barmaids, a cook, waitress, nurse, boots and billiard marker. The hotel had three guests on census night.


George Hotel: Frank Gillard (62), hotel proprietor, lived here with his wife Annie (63) and their unmarried children Agnes (36), Robert (27), who was a veterinary surgeon, and Emily (22) and Florence (20), who were draper's assistants. Two barmaids and two domestic servants also lived on the premises. There were no guests on census night.

Rebuilt again in 1911

No listing: building work not complete until October that year.

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