"This subject suits black and white photography. The Lane used to be called Grab Cunt Lane because of the high levels of prostitution, but for the sake of decency, in the card's caption I refer only to Grab Lane!" J J Marshall
Magpie Lane in Oxford, is a narrow, historic lane that runs at right angles to the High Street and links with Merton Street at its southern end. Half way down on the left is Kybald Street, a cul de sac that gives access to the rear of University College.
Magpie Lane has been renamed many times. In the 13th century it was known as Grope Lane, reflecting the prostitute activity that took place there. It was named Magpie Lane in the 17th century after an alehouse which had a magpie on its sign, was then called Grove Lane and finally renamed Magpie Lane in the 1920s.
In the early 19th century it is recorded that a bookbinder plus a gun and pistol maker had shops in Magpie Lane. Today there are no shops: the building on the corner of the High Street dates from 1902 and houses the Quod restaurant, while on the opposite side is the 1910 Rhodes building owned by Oriel College, and towards the Merton Street end of the lane is the new student accommodation for Corpus Christi College.