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This is the page for 288 Cowley Road.

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February 2017: The City Arms pub basks in morning sunlight, showing off the splendid brickwork.
1995: Photographed by Martin Stott


The present building was constructed in the late 1930s in the Jacobean revival style. It is an example of an ‘improved public house’, part of a move by breweries in the interwar years to signal the increasingly respectable status of pubgoing as a social activity.[1]

Since 2003 known as the City Arms and is part of a pub chain.


From 2017 Cowley Road Carnival memory wall

  • Was also a Scream pub in the early 2000s
  • In the 80s women were not allowed in the bar and it was "the most terrifying pub in Oxford".
  • Was an Irish pub in the late 70s and early 80s.
  • In the 70s there was a great reggae band that played on Sunday lunchtimes
  • One person had a kale smoothie with a shot of gin there.

1995 - 2002

Thomsons Directory 1998 to 2002 Philosopher & Firkin public house, and see photo from 1995 on right


Jack Allaway, later to become mayor of Oxford, was manager of the University & City Arms during the 1950s when he worked for a company called Cotons Stores, which owned several properties along the Cowley Road. Cotons Stores was started by Alfred Landon and a Mr Collier, and a Mr Tolley, and they owned several properties along the Cowley Road, mainly towards the Plain. It is unclear whether they held the leasehold of this pub or actually owned it.


The University and City Arms public house is listed in Kelly's Directory of 1932. The proprietor is listed as Albert Owen [2].


A public House called the University and City Arms was recorded at this location in Kelly’s Directory of 1876 and is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1878.[1]


Before then?

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