Oxford History: George Street


George Street, Oxford: Timeline

George Street is in the Northgate Hundred. The south side from Cornmarket to New Inn Hall Street is in the parish of St Michael, and the rest in the parish of St Mary Magdalen.

It is situated just outside the old city wall which runs parallel to it as far west as the present New Inn Hall Street and then veers south west to the point where it once met the Castle outer wall at the sharp bend in Bulwarks Lane.

George Street did not get its present name until the eighteenth century, and may be named after the George Inn.

Many old houses, some dating from the seventeenth-century, were demolished in late Victorian times to make way for a number of large new buildings. The oldest building in the street is now the Old Boys’ High School of 1880.




The building of Beaumont Palace in the area to the north suggests that the street now called George Street was already in existence


George Street was known as Irishman’s Street (probably after William de Hibernia, bailiff of Northgate Hundred in 1254)


The Jorge Inn (after which the street would eventually be named) was built on the NE corner of the street

By 1515

George Street had become known as Broken Hayes
(still used in the late nineteenth century as a name for the present George Street Place)

Late 1500s

Bulwarks Lane was developed off the south side of the street


George Street became known as Thames Street, as it was the direct route to the river at Hythe Bridge

The street was paved


A serious fire that started here spread as far as St Ebbe’s: described by Wood, i:111

By 1772

George Street had become known as George Lane


George Street Congregational Chapel, designed by J. Greenshields of Oxford and later rebuilt, was opened by Paedobaptists who had seceded from New Road Chapel in 1830. It stood three doors to the west of Gloucester Street, roughly where Threeways House is now


Chapel of St George the Martyr, a chapel of ease for St Mary Magdalen Church, was consecrated to the west of the Congregational Chapel on the present cinema site (photograph)


Traffic in George Street was increasing as a result of the railway, and its entrance from Cornmarket was widened by means of alterations to the Three Goats Inn on the SE corner


New Inn Hall Street was extended to connect with George Street, making it part of the commercial centre of Oxford for the first time. As a consequence there was a little renumbering of the south side of George Street, but the old numbering system remained until 1895. The new piece of road was originally called Sadler Street, but this name has been subsumed into New Inn Hall Street. A new pub in place of the Champion was built at the north-west corner, and a new grocer's shop for Mr Edgington at the north-east corner (see Jackson's Oxford Journal for 11 October 1873)

Oxford Co-operative & Industrial Society Ltd was founded, and opened its first premises at 36/37 George Street (renumbered 65 in 1895)


Foundation stone of City of Oxford High School for Boys laid by Prince Leopold


Royal Champion pub rebuilt


New Theatre Royal opened on the site of the current theatre


Lucas’s underwear factory desigend by H. G. W. Drinkwater and built by T. H Kingerlee opened at No. 59 on the corner of Bulwark’s Lane, with accommodation for 200–300 hands


Oxford’s first YMCA opened in a new building at 10 George Street


Grapes Inn rebuilt by H. G. W. Drinkwater


George Street drastically renumbered in the modern style


New Fire station & Corn Exchange block opened on the N side of the street


A large new Co-op building opened at SW end of George Street (replacing 63, 65, 67, and 69)


The George Hotel in Cornmarket was replaced by a new building which extended into the south-east end of George Street, forming St George’s Mansions

Welsh Pony (now Eurobar) opened


The Chapel of St George-the Martyr closed down, and the building was taken over by the Ministry of Labour


Twining’s Grocers opened at 15, 17, and 19 George Street


Radiant House at Nos. 33 and 35 George Street 1926, by J. R. Wilkins, was constructed for Hill Upton & Co electrical contractors


Corn Exchange closed and moved to Oxpens


The present New Theatre was built


Congregational Church as well as Nos 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, and 38 George Street demolished (see photograph), and Threeways House was built on this island site between Gloucester Street and St George’s Place


Chapel of St George-the-Martyr demolished and replaced by the present Cinema


Twinings Grocery closed down after 40 years in George Street


City of Oxford Boys’ High School closed down


Fire station closed and moved to Rewley Road


Municipal Restaurant at No. 50 (now Job Centre Plus) closed


Old Boys’ High School restored and taken over by the University of Oxford


Royal Champion pub building at 39 George Street demolished to make way for new shops and offices at NW end of New Inn Hall Street


Threeways House modernized by the Co-op, and the side facing Gloucester Green rebuilt to form their main store in Oxford and their headquarters


Jamie Oliver opened his first Italian restaurant in the UK, Jamie’s, at 24–26 George Street

A new Wetherspoon’s pub, the Four Candles, opened at 49–57 George Street


Bocardo Hotel opened above Jamie's Restaurant


Proposal to demolish and rebuild 1–5 George Street announced

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 29 January, 2023

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