A historic pub that dates again to 1566 and was frequented by the likes of J.R.R Tolkien and CS Lewis has been closed indefinitely by its college house owners.
The Lamb & Flag in Oxford has been serving pints in its present location in St Giles since 1613. It was additionally believed to have been visited by Thomas Hardy, who set his well-known novel Jude the Obscure in a fictionalised model of town.
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However St John’s School, which has owned the pub since its inception, mentioned the coronavirus pandemic has rendered the enterprise unviable and introduced, after “cautious consideration”, that it’s going to “stop operations” on 31 January.
Steve Elston, the deputy bursar St John’s School, mentioned: “The Lamb & Flag, like many other businesses in the hospitality industry, has been arduous hit by the pandemic.
Residence to literary greats
“Regardless of the very best efforts of the workers and each choice to hold it open, the buying and selling figures of the final 12 months have meant that the pub isn’t at the moment financially viable. Additionally the School as a charity isn’t allowed to financially help a loss-making enterprise that isn’t a part of its core charitable targets.
“Subsequently, the Administrators of the Lamb & Flag (Oxford) Ltd have regrettably been obliged to shut the pub. We all know that it holds an essential place in Oxford’s historical past.
“The School want to thank the workers of the Lamb & Flag (Oxford) Restricted for his or her finest endeavours in such difficult circumstances.
“The pub will stay within the School’s possession and the main focus now could be to work to look past the current state of affairs and make sure the pub’s long-term future is secured.”
In a press release, the school hinted the way forward for the Lamb & Flag stays unclear and a spokeswoman declined to remark additional when requested by i.
Whereas it’s clear St John’s School is certain by its charitable standing and is unable to supply its pub firm a lifeline at the moment, it’s puzzling as to why the establishment can’t merely dissolve Lamb & Flag Ltd. and begin over. Perhaps it should after the pandemic.
No approach out?
In any case, St John’s is the wealthiest of all of Oxford’s faculties and its accounts for 2018-19 confirmed it’s price nicely over £500m.
Drinkers are fretting nonetheless.
Dave Richardson, from the Oxford department of the Marketing campaign for Actual Ale, mentioned the Lamb & Flag was one of many metropolis’s most conventional pubs and it might be a tragedy to see it disappear.
He mentioned: “It has no TV, it has no jukebox, it has no music. It’s a spot the place individuals come to speak to one another, to benefit from the conventional, historic environment. Generations of individuals have executed that, college students, townspeople, individuals from afar.”
Since 1997, St John’s has used earnings generated by the pub to fund scholarships for graduate college students, however mentioned these endeavor them wouldn’t be affected by the pub’s closure.