The Eagle and Child, one of Oxford's most famous pubs, has been left to rot, according to a campaigner.

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. 

LATEST UPDATE: Plans for extensive renovations spark new hope that Eagle and Child pub may reopen

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: Eagle and Child will cost a million to renovate

The pub has been shut since March 2020 and there are ambitious plans for it to be refurbished, with boutique hotel rooms also provided.

Oxford Mail:

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

Mr Richardson said: "It does appear that the Eagle and Child has been left to rot.

"I'm calling on the owners St John's College to provide an update because the pub really is a national treasure."

The Eagle and Child has strong literary links - it was the meeting place of the Inklings - a literary group featuring fantasy writers CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

Read more: Pubs across Oxfordshire seek new tenants

They would test out their latest chapters on each other before they were published.

The Inklings also drank in the Lamb & Flag, which is being reopened by a community interest group at the end of the month, following a long period of closure.

Oxford Mail:

It is also owned by St John's College.

Mr Richardson added: "Now that the Lamb & Flag is reopening it would be a good time to find out if anything is happening with the Eagle and Child.

The pubs campaigner said he believed the popular pub would need significant repairs before it could reopen.

"The building was in a bad state two and a half years ago when it closed, with rats running around, so I expect it to be in a bad state now."

Read again: Lamb & Flag will reopen next month

It is understood that some prospective tenants viewed the pub about a year ago but decided not to take it on.

Oxford Mail:

According to Mr Richardson they may have been put off by the lease 'guiding on overall rent in excess of £165,000 a year, and the requirement to 'commence works which will include a contemporary extension to the ground floor trading area and preparatory works for 6+ B&B rooms over the upper floors'.

He added: "Businessmen or boutique hotels could take it on but so far that hasn't happened.

"The renovations and high rent could well be a factor.

Oxford Mail: 01 November 2014
The Eagle and Child, 49 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LU
Job name: Beer festival
Catchline: Beer festival
Requested by: Luke Sproule 

Barman Aiden Strong (07810311834).
Beer Festival at The Eagle and Child, St. Giles, Oxford.

"But it's a historic location and a place dear to many and of course we want to see it reopen."

St John's College has been approached for a comment.

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

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