Oxford, England

The White Horse Pub

Fronting onto Broad Street and squeezed between Blackwell’s bookshops, the tiny White Horse Pub dates from the 16th Century and is entered down a small flight of stairs. A pub much valued for its intimate atmosphere, it has often featured in episodes of Inspector Morse, Lewis, and Endeavour.

Photo of the White Horse pub in Oxford

White Horse Pub, Oxford

Called The Mermaid in 1591, it was renamed the White Mermaid and then the Jolly Volunteer, when it was used as a recruiting centre for King Charles 1st’s army (1662 – 1665). From then on, with a short interlude as the Elephant, it has been known as the White Horse ever since.

Owned by the City Council from 1620 to 1773, it was bought by Exeter College, opposite on Broad Street, who owned it until 1980. A tradition has it that if an Exeter student noticed that the doors of the College had inadvertently been left open, he could run across to the White Horse and claim a free pint.

From 1957 to 1978, the pub sign showed a mounted policeman on a white horse holding back the crowds when they famously broke on to the Wembley pitch at the 1923 Cup Final between West Ham and Bolton.

 

White Horse Pub, Oxford


Review by Chris Peters, Tours of Oxford