Oxford History: The High

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Alfred Street


Alfred Street

Alfred Street runs southwards from the High Street to Bear Lane, with the former National Westminster Bank to the east and 123 High Street to the west. It is probably the narrowest street in Oxford that is still open to traffic (hence the double-yellow lines)

Alfred Street was called Venella Sancti Edwardi in 1220, after St Edward’s Church (destroyed c.1500) that was on the west side of the lane.

In the sixteenth century it was known as Vine Hall Street after Vine Hall near the back of Christ Church, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was called Bear Lane after the nearby inn.

The origin of the present name, which has been used since at least the mid-nineteenth century, is unknown: it may refer to King Alfred, the alleged founder of University College, or to Prince Alfred, the fourth child of Queen Victoria.

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 19 April, 2018

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