Oxford History: The High


Alfred Street

Alfred Street

Alfred Street, with the National Westminster Bank (built in 1867) on the left and 123 High Street (built in 1790) on the right

Alfred Street leads southwards to Bear Lane, and 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.


©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 17 September, 2012

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