OXFORD’S Eagle and Child pub is to undergo a major facelift as part of a scheme to renovate buildings in a historic stretch of St Giles.

St John’s College said the famous pub and other college-owned buildings in St Giles are urgently in needs of upgrades.

And the college said the expiry of leases had presented a unique opportunity to get on with the necessary work.

Principal bursar of St John’s College, Prof Andrew Parker, said the college had no plans to close the Eagle and Child, famous as the meeting place of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and other members of the Oxford writers’ group known as ‘The Inklings.’ But he said the pub could be substantially changed when the current lease, held by Mitchells & Butlers, ends in December, while neighbouring buildings could see some change of use.

The buildings at 49-51 St Giles will all require substantial work, said the college, with detailed survey work showing them to be in poor structural condition.

Other tenants include Green’s Cafe and the newsagents St Giles’ News.

The buildings are Grade II listed and the Eagle and Child has been used as a pub since about 1650, with the present name dating at least from 1684.

Survey work showed the poor structural condition of 60-year-old buildings at the rear of the properties were cause for most concern.

Kitchen and toilet facilities were found to be sub-standard and fire escapes for both upper floor flats and the Eagle and Child were shown to be in need of improvement.

Prof Parker said: “The college is interested to receive any views, particularly in regard to the Eagle and Child, during this stage of planning and consultation.”