Oxford History: George Street


Pubs in George Street, Oxford

The Grapes


There were over twelve pubs in George Street over the course of the nineteenth century.

Today there are only two proper pubs: the Grapes (which dates from c.1820, but was rebuilt in c.1879), and the Four Candles, (which opened in 2007). There are also several bars, including the Eurobar, which replaced the Welsh Pony on the corner of Chain Alley.

In 1881 there were eight pubs listed in the census, of which five had a full-time landlord: the Anchor, Grapes, Champion, Punch Bowl, and Plume of Feathers.

The other three pubs in 1881 were more like beerhouses, as the landlords of the Oddfellows Inn, the Packet, and the George & Dragon were primarily a joiner, a bootmaker, and a coal merchant.

Street numbers in George Street changed dramatically in 1896, but there was some shifting even before that date, reflected in the right-hand column in the table of pubs below.

George Street pubs listed in directories, 1823–1919


Name of pub


Present building
on the site


South side, East to West


Hope & Anchor

Closed down 1929

1823: William Nuney
1839, 1842: Henry Nunney
1846: H. Boswell
1850: Caroline Boswell
1852: Henry Clark
1861 census, 1866: William Clarke
1869: Mrs Lydia Clarke
1871– 1875: Mrs Spokes
1880–1890: William Simmonds
1892–1893: Mrs Emily E. Simmonds
1894: Walter Neale
1895: Henry Stone
1896–1898: George Frederick Robertson
1900: William Alfred Cooke
1901–1903: Alfred William Cooke
1904: Charles Keatley
1905: Frederick Krampe
1906–1915: George Frederick Robinson
1916–1929: Henry Badcock




The Grapes

(originally the
Bunch of Grapes

Mentioned in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 7 January 1808, when Mr Stevens was landlord.

Rebuilt in 1894 by H. G. W. Drinkwater

Still in operation

1823: William Stevens
1839, 1842: Charles Faulkner
1846: M. Betsworth
1850–1866: James Hambridge
(& cab proprietor in 1866)
1869–1872: Elias Nelms
1875: James J. Townley
1880–1891: John Childs
1893–1903: Mrs Charlotte Childs
1904–1907: Thomas Clarke
1908: Mrs Clarke
1909–1910: William Dowling
1911: Mrs Alice E. Dowling
1912– 1938: Robert H. Boulton
1939–1956: Ernest A. R. Mott
(Landlords not named in
Kelly’s Directory after 1956)

The Grapes



City Arms

First named in 1869;
but Chaundy already listed as a beer seller
here in 1852.

Closed down in late 1870s

1852: Richard Chaundy

1866: John Higgins (beer retailer and marine store dealer)

1869–1875: Mrs Higgins (dealer in marine stores, & beer seller)

Part of
the Wig & Pen



Druid’s Head
Ancient Druid

Auction at the Druid’s Head in George Lane was advertised in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 7 September 1822

Closed down 1934

1823: Richard Prestidge
1839: William Perkins
1842–1852: George Skelding
1861: Francis Vize (d.12 June 1861
1861–1882: His widow Mrs S. Vize
1884–1889: His son-in-law R. H. Shuter
1891–1893: Harry A. Goodwin
1895–1904: Harry Havelock Godwin
1905: Thomas Campin
1906–1922: Edward Henry Heritage
1925–1930: Mrs Elizabeth Heritage
1932–1934: Archibald John Bolt

Byron Hamburgers

15/ 16



Royal Champion

New Inn Hall Street was
extended to George Street in 1873, and pub was rebuilt in 1881 immediately to the west, probably on the site of the Black Swan

Closed down in 1904

Building demolished in early 1980s and replaced by shops & offices facing New Inn Hall Street

1823: James Plaister
1839: William Nevill
1842: Robert Nevil
1846: Mrs E. Nevil
1850: James Ford
1852: J. Ford
1861 census: Charles Taman
1866: E. Robinson
1869–1872: Mrs Robinson
1875–1881: Job Allen
1884: R. England
1887–1890: W. Constable
1891: John Austin Butler
1893–1895: Thomas Voller
1896: Mrs Voller
1898–1899: Ernest Reeves
1900: Albert Millard
1901–1902: Edward Millard
1903: Mrs Round

Part of George Street Social


Both demolished in c.1880 to make way for the Boys’ High School

Cordwainers’ Arms

Listed as beer retailer in 1846. Named in 1861 census, with the proprietor described as “Cordwainer & Publican”

Gone by 1866

1846: G. Grimmett
1861 census: Stephen Petty

Site of Boys’
High School


Black Swan

Mentioned in
Jackson’s Oxford Journal
in 1803, when Mr Newman was already landlord

Closed late 1870s
(Licence transferred by Morrells to the
Black Swan in Crown Street)

1823: W. Newman
1839–1852: Edward Newman
1866–1871: James Bennett
1872, 1875: W. West



The Four Candles

Formerly Yates’s Wine Lodge. Named after Ronnie Barker’s “fork handles” sketch

Opened in 2007

The Four Candles



Punch Bowl

First named in 1869;
proprietors listed as
“beer retailer”
before that date

Closed down 1904

1846: John Cox
1852: Luke J. Cox
1861 census: Elias Nelms
1869–1875: George Strainge
1880: Richard Doncaster
1881 census: Sarah Doncaster
1882–1884: William Couling (paper hanger & decorator)
1887–1904: Richard Melnai

Part of
the Four



The first
George & Dragon

Closed in 1861, name moved across the road

1823: Edward Grant
1846: T. Marsh
1850, 1852: John Goode
1852: Edward Caple
1861 census: Described as “Late George & Dragon): Mrs Sophia Ashley


West side
of former Opium
Den Café


Oddfellows’ Arms
or Odd Fellows’ Inn

First named in 1869;
only listed as “beer
retailer” from 1895

Demolished in 1908 to
make way for the new
Co-op building

Named in 1871 census
as the "Hand in Hand"

1869: H. Bailey, provision merchant
1866–1875: Joseph Parker (& broker)
(1871: James Parker)
1880: Thomas Abbey
1881 census: James Horseman
1884–1887: Charles Colston
1890–1891: John Clohosy
1893–1894: Charles Taylor
1895: John Rouse
1896–1899: Walter Edward Garner
1900–1901: John Rouse
1902–1904: William Whitman
1905–1907: Samuel Hunt
1908: William Cherry



Plume of Feathers

Named as such in 1896; only listed as “beer retailer” from 1900 onwards

Closed down
in 1925

1823: S. Atkins
1839: Susanna Atkins
1841, 1846: William Gibbons
1850: Robert Farmer
1852: Daniel Gibbons
1861 census: James Edwards
1866–1880: Thomas Prior
1881–1890: William Hedges, coal merchant
1895–1900: Richard Jarvis Silman
1907–1925: Albert Edward Allen
[1926: Albert Edward Allen, confectioner; 1927: Mrs E. L. Allen, confectioner]




The Packet

First named in 1842;
but may be the George
Street pub named as
The Letters in 1823

Closed down in 1903

1823: J. Cooker
1842, 1846: Ann Luker
1850: James Ford
1852: Elizabeth Ford
1861 census, 1866: H. Casbourn
1869–1871: Joseph Casbourn
1872: H. Casbourn
1875: W. Howkins junior
1880: Frederick Connacher
1881 census: William Day
1884–1890: E. Beauchamp
1895: John Kempson
1896–1900: Thomas Tompkins
1901–1903: Mrs Janet Pedrick

East side
of Nando’s


North side, East to West


Welsh Pony

Opened by Morrell's in a new building, the
Corn Exchange Hotel,
in 1899

Became the
Eurobar in c.2000

1915–1916: Bert Ray
1918: A. Coulling
1919–1921: Richard Green
1922–1928: Hugo Hohaus
1929–1934: Victor Hugo Hohaus
1935–1939: Stanley Hall
1943–1952: H. B. Law
1954–1958: Mrs M. E. Law
(Landlords not named in
Kelly’s Directory after 1958)




The second
George & Dragon*

Moved sites in George Street in 1861 (both old and new pub listed in census)

Closed down in 1904

1861–1866: James Dawson
(and coal & slate merchant)
1869–1881: William Howkins
1882: Mr Foster
1884–1887: William Little
1890–1904: James Hemmings
1905 onwards: Hemmings listed as private resident

Site now part of widened
Chain Alley

Numbering varies: can be 49, 50, 51, or 52

*Not to be confused with The George (formerly the Three Goats) which stood on the diagonally opposite (SE) corner of George Street, but was deemed to be in Cornmarket Street)

In addition to the above, in 1852 there is one more person listed as a beer retailer in George Street: Edward Box at what was then No. 43. This was at the far west end, probably on the south side of the street.

In the 1861 census John Mason is listed as a wine merchant at the NE end of George Street (then numbered 77, now around No. 6) . In directories between 1869 and 1872 Frederick Wharton is the wine merchant, and next-door to the left is C. Shillingford & Co (Bicester Brewery Office). The wine merchants was closed by 1875, but the Bicester Brewery Stores, as it became known, survived until 1884+



Four Candles

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 2 November, 2022

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