Monday, 5 September 2022

The Inklings And The Bird And Baby.


 I recently read The Inklings of Oxford written by Harry Lee Poe and photography by James Ray Veneman.  It's well worth reading and looking at the Oxford photos if you are a fan of CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and the other Inklings or writers.  

After we left the church visit we wandered around the old parts of the city.  I noticed many old churches and grave yards and the monument to Thomas Cranmer where he was executed.  

I was looking for The Eagle and Child pub or the Bird and Baby which it was fondly known as by the Inklings.   I remember the photos in the book and felt like I was on familiar territory.

Suddenly I felt my heart leap and my feet began to run.  I could see the pub sign.  The place where Tolkein read out loud his Hobbit and CS Lewis read from Narnia.  I was walking in literary and spiritual giants footprints. I peered through the closed down pub window.  I could see the wood panelled room.  Could this be the rabbit room where the Inklings met?

There was no blue plaque saying that the Inklings had met and drank there.  But I knew I had found the place which I wanted to see for so long.  It was well worth the visit.


18 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time in Oxford. I love it.

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  2. How wonderful to be there and, if not able to actually enter the hallowed portals, to peer inside through the windows. Worth the visit then?

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  3. I just read that the future of this pub is uncertain. It closed during the pandemic and it has remained closed ever since. However, there are plans to refurbish it and bring it back to life - it's just that the estimated bill for the work seems quite prohibitive. I have also just looked at images of the rabbit room and I am pretty sure that you were indeed looking at it through the window.

    Yours etc., Sherlock Holmes

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  4. Oxford is an amazing place to visit the veg artist. I felt like I was walking where famous people had walked and drank.

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  5. Well worth the visit JayCee. I just we had spent more time there.

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  6. Thanks for the heads up YP. I read that one of the colleges now owns the pub. It would be great if an organisation like the CS Lewis Society bought it and preserved it in the Inklings honour.

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  7. How wonderful to find this place which has so much literary history. I hope they can fix it up and you can visit it's insides

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  8. It was wonderful to see the Inklings watering hole in person Linda. I have seen it in Shadowlands and now in real life. It would be good if the National Lottery gave a grant to preserve this literary treasure of a building for us and future generations.

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  9. I love it Dave. I understand totally. I would feel the same way. Thank you for sharing that moment.

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  10. Thanks Rachel. It was a special literary moment.

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  11. In my time at Oxford we knew it as the "Bird and Bastard", it was a favourite watering hole along with the Turl for a lunchtime stopover on the way back to college from morning lectures.

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  12. Wonderful anecdote Will. I am very envious of your time spent there. Thanks!

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    1. Memory playing tricks - should have been Turf Tavern, Turl was the street.

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    2. No worries Will. We knew what you meant.

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  13. Oh, I DO understand this moment! I'm glad you found the place.

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  14. I had a drink in that pub. The beer was very inexpensive compared to non-university towns.

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  15. Amazing that you visited the pub Tom I would like to visit if it ever opens again.

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