A MAJOR revamp at one of Oxford’s best-known pubs should be approved, city councillors are being advised.

St John’s College wants to demolish part of the ground floor and first floor rear extensions of the Eagle and Child pub in St Giles.

The pub is renowned for its association with fantasy authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, who met there as part of a writers’ group called The Inklings.

Oxford Mail:

The college also wants change the use of the ground floor and first floor of 50 St Giles from a cafe to hotel reception and accommodation, convert the upper floors at 49-51 St Giles for use as hotel accommodation, and build a single storey rear extension and a new entrance off Wellington Place.

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The application has been ‘called in’ for extra scrutiny by city councillors Alex Hollingsworth, John Tanner, James Fry, Ed Turner and Mike Rowley because of concerns about the impact on the historic buildings and streetscape in St Giles, and the potential impact on trees in the adjoining street at Wellington Place.

Oxford Mail:

The proposals will be discussed tomorrow at the West area committee at the town hall in St Aldate’s at 6pm.

City councillor Colin Cook, who chairs the committee, said: “It’s a sensitive historic site so the application needs sensitive handling and the councillors’ concerns will be discussed."

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The pub, run by Nicholson’s, is sometimes known as The Bird and Baby and the Inklings met in college rooms and at Oxford pubs between the 1930s and the early 1960s.

Oxford Mail:

A public house since 1650, The Eagle and Child takes its name from the crest of the Earls of Derby and during the Civil War the building was used as the playhouse for Royalist soldiers.

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Planning officers are recommending that the scheme is approved.

Oxford Mail:

They also give their backing for listed building consent as the pub is Grade II listed.

The pub has a four-star rating on reviews site TripAdvisor following 1,177 reviews. It is ranked 22nd out of 100 ‘quick bites’ venues in Oxford.

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Anselm Colom, of Grays in Essex, who visited this month, wrote: “We stopped here for a pint as did two very famous literary buddies from the early 20th century often did. Plenty of choice on tap plus a good selection of food available."