October 7, 2022

Springswines

The Tour And Travel Enthusiasts

Calls for update to Eagle and Child pub famous for links to JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis

3 min read
Calls for update to Eagle and Child pub famous for links to JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis

The hostelry, famous for its links with fantasy writers JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, has been shut since 2020.

Dave Richardson, of the Oxford branch of real ale group Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), is calling on owners St John’s College to make a statement about the pub’s future prospects.

He said now was the right time for an update on the Eagle and Child when the Lamb & Flag on the opposite side of St Giles was about to reopen.

Read again: The Eagle and Child has been left to rot

But these plans have stalled and it has been estimated that the pub could now cost more than £1m to refurbish.

Calls for update to Eagle and Child pub famous for links to JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis

According to Historic England, the pub in St Giles was awarded Grade II listed status in 1954.

But this does not necessarily mean the college is obliged to repair it.

Historic England’s website says: “There is no direct legal obligation on the owner of a heritage asset to carry out repairs.

“However, local and central government may force repairs to be carried out by using an urgent works notice on a listed building not in use, or to a part not in use, where the works are urgently necessary for its preservation.

“If the works are not carried out by the owner, the authority has the power to enter the property, carry out the works and seek to recover the costs from the owner.”

Read more: New trailer for Florence Pugh movie 

It adds: “Furthermore, a listed building may be compulsorily acquired by a local authority or the Secretary of State if it appears that reasonable steps are not being taken for properly preserving the building and it is expedient to make provision for the preservation of the building by authorising its compulsory purchase. The first step in such a procedure is the service of a repairs notice.”

Oxford Mail:

Readers have been commenting on the pub’s closure.

One said: “If, as I suspect, it’s a listed building, then St John’s, one of the wealthiest ‘charitable’ institutions around, should be made to pay for the upkeep of the fabric of the building, surely?”

Another added: “It is grade II listed but grade II listing doesn’t mean it has to be open as a pub, just that it has to be maintained within bounds of the listing. The opinion that it has been “left to rot” is not the opinion of an expert.”

Oxford Mail:

One reader claimed ‘extortionate parking charges in St Giles have killed off foot traffic in the area, and killed off many pubs and restaurants in the city centre’.

A possible annual rent of £165,000 a year may have put off prospective landlords from taking over the Eagle and Child.

The Lamb & Flag has been taken over by a community group called the Inklings and is due to reopen at the end of the month.

It closed during the pandemic.

This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF