Oxford's historic Lamb & Flag pub in Oxford will reopen to coincide with the start of the new Oxford University term.

The pub in St Giles, one of the city’s oldest, closed in January last year due to adverse trading conditions in the pandemic.

But community interest group the Inklings stepped in to take over the running of the St John’s College-owned pub.

Read again: The Lamb & Flag will never close once it reopens

It was due to reopen earlier this year but the resignation of Steve Jones, who had been appointed landlord, led to delays, and restoration work caused further delays but it will now reopen on Thursday, October 6, the Inklings group has announced.

Oxford Mail:

Inklings spokesman Dave Norwood said: "In 1911 a young man arrived at Exeter College, Oxford to read classics. A couple of years later, he changed courses to read English language and literature, which turned out to be quite significant.  

"So we will reopen our pub at 6pm on Thursday, October 6th, 2022, which is possibly, or exactly, 111 years to the day that JRR Tolkien arrived in Oxford.  

"Thanks again for all your support and patience. It was a harder undertaking than we first envisaged, but all worthwhile journeys are.

Read more: Enjoying a pint at the Eagle and Child

"The extra work and time delays would have depleted our funds, but these extras have been covered by an incredibly generous donation from an anonymous Inkling.

"So we can still reopen the pub with a healthy bank balance. As a Community Interest Company our ambition remains the same: to ensure the pub remains open to Oxford and the world for the next 1,000 years."

Earlier this year Mr Norwood pledged that the pub would 'never close' once it reopened.

Oxford Mail:

The Lamb & Flag is one of Oxford's oldest pubs and there was shock around the globe when it closed.

The Oxford branch of the real ale group CAMRA has backed the Inklings group's takeover.

Spokesman Dave Richardson said earlier: "We are sure the Lamb & Flag will regain its place as one of Oxford’s top pubs serving local beers."

The building is Grade II listed so the new management team has had to ensure there has been careful restoration.

Mr Norwood added: "We now have over 300 Inklings and are planning lots of events, but more on that later.

Oxford Mail:

"As the pub is reopening we will now close the Inklings Group for general subscription.

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"Going forward membership will be by invitation only and would need board approval."

The pub, popular with students and real ale drinkers has existed since 1566, and switched to its current site in 1613.

Famous visitors have included CS Lewis and Thomas Hardy, former US President Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

The Inklings were a literary group featuring fantasy writers CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

They would sometimes meet in the Lamb & Flag, and sometimes in the Eagle and Child, also in St Giles.

Read more from this author

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: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF