"This is one of the earliest photographs taken for Urbanpix. The pub is very old and very small, and this view seems to emphasise its dolls-house proportions." J J Marshall
The Bear Tavern is a little gem, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford’s High Street yet only a few paces from it. The Bear is ‘cosy’ with small rooms, low ceilings and a collection of over 4,500 ties (begun in 1952 when a tie-end was exchanged for half a pint). It sells real ale and home-cooked food and has outdoor seating. The Bear is featured in Colin Dexter's novel Death Is Now My Neighbour when Inspector Morse seeks the aid of the pub's landlord in identifying a tie from a photograph. The Bear is delightfully central, being just a few paces from Christ Church, Corpus Christi, Oriel and Merton Colleges; also the city Museum.
The original Bear Inn was built in 1242 and used to stand on the corner of the High Street. In 1583 there is a record of the proprietors owning a tame bear called Furze. In its heyday as a coaching inn and stop off point for London, it boasted thirty bedrooms and stabling for a similar number of horses. The present building was built in 1606 and was initially used as a home for the ostler who looked after the coaching inn’s horses. In 1774 it was converted into a tavern called the Jolly Trooper, and it became The Bear Tavern in 1801 when the coaching inn on the High St closed.