'I had been out in this blizzard and taking photographs for a couple of hours, and as I was walking home, I emerged from Blue Boar Street and was confronted by these wonderfully rich, festive red, white and green colours. Sadly, without the snow and in normal weather, they are quite drab, but just for that instant, they were vibrant and Christmassy.' J J Marshall
St Aldates is probably Oxford’s oldest street, leading as it does, from the Thames at Folly Bridge in the south of the city, to the highest part of the early Saxon settlement at Carfax, the city’s central crossroads. By 1342, the street was known as Fish Street with a permanent fish market that stretched across the whole street on market days. The street was renamed St Aldates in the nineteenth century after the church of St Aldates, the name possibly being a corruption of ‘old gate’. The South Gate of the city stood between Christ Church College and Brewer Street and was demolished in 1613.
St Aldates today, houses the Town Hall and Museum of Oxford, the Post Office, Pembroke College, Christ Church College and the entrance to Christ Church Meadows, the Bate Collection of musical instruments, the Crown Courts (which were converted from the old Morris Garages building), and the Police Station.
St Aldates’ Tavern is one of two public houses in St Aldates, the other being Old Tom which opened in 1681 as the Unicorn and Jacob’s Well, became Great Tom in 1865 (named after the bell tower of Christ Church), and became Old Tom in 1878.