Oxford History: The High


73: Eastgate Hotel

73 High Street

There has been an inn on this site on the corner of Merton Street, near the medieval East Gate in the city wall, since at least 1605. It was in St Peter-in-the East parish until that parish was united with St Cross parish in 1957.

The current building, however, is relatively new, only dating from 1900. It was designed by E. P. Warren in a seventeenth-century style, and built by Benfield & Loxley. There is a cartouche between the upper-floor windows showing what the city wall at this point, demolished in 1772, looked like: this Historic England image shows it clearly:

For most of the nineteenth century, the inn on this site was known as the Flying Horse.

Historic England photographs:

Innkeepers of the former Flying Horse in the censuses
  • 1841: Mrs Mary Smith (née Bunce), who was aged about 60, was the publican at the Flying Horse, and had 23 boarders.
  • 1851: Matthias Popple, the proprietor, lived in the hotel with his wife and three children, plus a servant. The people lodging here on the night of the census were a tailor, a mason’s labourer, a trunk maker, a miller and his wife, two charwomen (one with her two sons) and two servants (one with her daughter).
  • 1861: Job Durran, described as a publican and cab proprietor, lived here with his wife and son, who was described as a coachman. There were five people lodging here on census night: a clothes cleaner, a porter at University College, an agricultural labourer, a groom & fly driver, and a housemaid (the last two presumably employed by the Flying Horse). He was still here in 1871.
  • 1881: Fred Birmingham, proprietor, was living here with his wife and two daughters (the elder a barmaid) and two sons, and a permanent lodger. Two families were staying here on census night: Charles Adams, a journalist, and Robert Adams, a jeweller, each accompanied by his wife and children.
  • 1891: Henry Beesley (34), licensed victualler, lived here with his wife and four children and a general servant. A barmaid and a waiter boarded with them.

The Eastgate in the 1920sAbove: The Eastgate in the 1920s

The Eastgate was extended in 1965 by the incorporation of three houses further along Merton Street.

Occupants of 73 High Street
Darker background = former building, now demolished

By 1839–1876

Flying Horse
Mary Smith (1839)
Matthew Popple (1846)
Job Durran, cab proprietor (1861–1876)


Eastgate Hotel
Frederick Birmingham, proprietor (1880–1887)
Henry J. Beechey junior (1889–1912)
Stanley Coombes (1913–1922)
Mrs E. A. Coombes (1923–1934)
Mr & Mrs Nowell Richardson (1935+)


Eastgate Hotel

including Keeper's Kitchen & Bar
(formerly Marco's New York Italian Restaurant, the High Table; Café Bohème;
Tthe Townhouse; and Merton’s Bar & Brasserie)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 26 August, 2021

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