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Tolkien’s favorite Oxford pub to get major renovations

07.12.10 | Kunochan | Speak, friend & comment!

Originally posted on 7/7/10 on JRR Tolkien Examiner.

Oxford, England’s Eagle and Child pub, famed as a meeting place of the Inklings literary society in the 1930s and ’40s, will soon see major renovations, according to St John’s College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

The little pub was owned by University College, Oxford from the 17th Century onwards; it was purchased by St. John’s College in 2003. The pub is often referred to as the “Bird and Baby” or “Fowl and Foetus.”

The Inklings were a group of literary figures and academics who met to read and discuss both their own writings and other literature. While formal Inklings meetings usually took place in CS Lewis’ college rooms at Magdalen College on Thursday evenings, the Inklings and their friends also met for Tuesday lunches at “The Bird,” or at the Lamb and Flag pub across the street.

JRR Tolkien read passages from the yet-incomplete The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings at Inklings meetings; and Lewis distributed proofs of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Eagle and Child’s “Rabbit Room” currently displays mementos of the Inklings.

Most of the renovation work will target 20th Century additions to the building, including plumbing and fire escapes. The college warned that the pub could see “substantial changes,” and is seeking public input.

For more info: “Historic Oxford pub to get a revamp” on the Oxford Mail; via Tolkien Collector’s Guide. See also The Eagle and Child and Inklings on Wikipedia.
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