IT opened more than 50 years ago, boasting a smoking room and wiring for both radio and television.

But now The Cavalier pub has been razed to the ground after bulldozers moved in last week to knock the building down.

The pub, in Copse Lane, Marston, Oxford, was opened in 1956, but has been demolished to make way for student flats after standing empty for four years.

It was the first pub to open in the city after the Second World War.

Neighbours have had a mixed reaction to its decline.

Headteacher of nearby New Marston Primary School Zara d’Archambaud said: “I am pleased they are going to make better use of the space, but my main concern is the traffic problem.

“I am worried there will be increased car parking outside the school which could be problematic for the safety of our children.”

The pub closed in 2008 despite an appeal for support from the landlord, Brian Minns.

A sign was put outside the pub saying: “Pub or flats, your choice – support your local.”

Mr Minns, who is now a driving instructor, said: “The local population didn’t use it so they lost it, and that was it.

“To me it is just a building of bricks and mortar.

“I was landlord of The Cavalier for five years and I have fond memories of it. There are some nice people there, but they cannot go out every night.”

Originally, plans were drawn up by property development company I and O Ltd for a building containing 35 student study bedrooms and a shop.

But last year the firm was given planning permission to turn the building into 58 ensuite student rooms over three floors.

Oxford City Council’s planning officer Steven Roberts had said pub sales had fallen “significantly” from 2006 until the pub eventually closed.

Over the past few years the area has also lost The Bricklayers Arms and The Friar.