Oxford History: The High


73: Eastgate Hotel

73 High Street

There has been an inn on this site on the corner of Merton Street, near the medieval East Gate in the city wall, since at least 1605.

The current building, however, is relatively new, dating from 1900. It was designed by E. P. Warren in a seventeenth-century style, and built by Benfield & Loxley.

There is a cartouche on the wall showing what one of the previous inns on this site, demolished in 1772, would have looked like.

For most of the nineteenth century, this inn was known as the Flying Horse.


The ancient East Gate of Oxford

By 1841 Mrs Mary Smith (née Bunce), who was aged about 60, was the publican here at the Flying Horse, and had 23 boarders.

The 1851 census shows Matthias Popple, the proprietor, living in the hotel with his wife and three children, plus a servant. The people lodging here on the night of the census were a tailor, a mason’s labourer, a trunk maker, a miller and his wife, two charwomen (one with her two sons) and two servants (one with her daughter).

In 1861 Job Durran, described as a publican and cab proprietor, lived here with his wife and son, who was described as a coachman. There were five people lodging here on census night: a clothes cleaner, a porter at University College, an agricultural labourer, a groom & fly driver, and a housemaid (the last two presumably employed by the Flying Horse). He was still here in 1871.

Fred Birmingham, proprietor in 1881, was living here with his wife and two daughters (the elder a barmaid) and two sons, and a permanent lodger. The inn was not overcrowded on census night, as just two families were staying here: Charles Adams, a journalist, and Robert Adams, a jeweller, each accompanied by his wife and children.

The Eastgate in the 1920s

Above: The Eastgate in the 1920s

The Eastgate was extended in 1965 by the incorporation of three houses further along Merton Street.

English Heritage: New Eastgate Hotel in 1901Old Eastgate Hotel in 1896View of old hotel from side

Occupants of 73 High Street
Darker background = former building, now demolished

By 1839–1876

Flying Horse
Mary Smith (1839)
Matthew Popple (1846)
Job Durran, cab proprietor (1861–1876)


Eastgate Hotel
Frederick Birmingham, proprietor (1880–1887)
Henry J. Beechey junior (1889–1912)
Stanley Coombes (1913–1922)
Mrs E. A. Coombes (1923–1934)
Mr & Mrs Nowell Richardson (1935+)


Eastgate Hotel

including Marco's New York Italian Restaurant
(formerly the High Table; Café Bohème; theTownhouse; and Merton’s Bar & Brasserie)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 17 May, 2016

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