Have you heard about the Oxford pub with a witch’s broomstick plastered up behind a wall? The inn where Shakespeare used to stay, and may have fathered an illegitimate child with the landlady? The pub with a ceiling painted to resemble the Sistine Chapel in Rome? The inn which was a sixteenth century brothel, or the pub where the rock group Supergrass made their debut?
These are just a few of the stories recounted in Oxford Pubs, a new title published in August 2015 by Amberley Books. Written by local journalist and author Dave Richardson, it delves into the history of over forty of the oldest and most interesting of Oxford’s pubs, all but a few of which you can still visit today to soak up the atmosphere.
Which is the oldest pub in Oxford – a claim made by more than one? Where did Inspector Morse, with his side-kick Lewis, really drink? Which pub, in this most renowned of all university cities, offers ‘an education in intoxication’? Where’s the pub with a vegetarian-only menu? Which one briefly acted as a morgue, after a train wreck? And where can you find the Pub of the Year as voted by the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale?
Oxford Pubs will delight anyone with a thirst for knowledge and history, both ancient and modern, and is packed with contemporary and archive photographs. It deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone who loves Oxford, and will act as a trusty companion on your travels around the city in search of a drink or two in good company and interesting surroundings.