Lamb and Flag, What does Britain mean to you?

Lamb and Flag, What does Britain mean to you?

Just in time for The Coronation, we spent a day with Anoushka, chatting about all things British and how she restored one of the oldest pubs in Oxford. 

 

Anoushka in Union Jack jumper

As I approach the Lamb and Flag. I am greeted by the very elegant Anoushka standing beneath an Elvish Sign, a soft hint at who spent their time here. Inside I am instantly welcomed by a warm smell of wood and beer and an appetising scrunch of pork scratchings. We sat down and engulfed into conversation…

 

  1. Can you please tell me a bit about the history of the Lamb and Flag and why it was so important to Oxford not to lose it.

The Lamb has been going since 1613. As you clocked upon entering, the pub was once the haunt of the Inklings Group, which included C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien of Elvish fame. It is also the place where Thomas Hardy is said to have written Jude the Obscure with his fictional heroine working behind the bar. Inspector Morse has filmed here too – the list goes on.

 

But more than that – though it sounds corny – it was important to keep the pub around for the community. The cultural legacy will keep the tourists coming, but the pub is remembered for serving ‘town and gown’ – local residents and members of the University – for hundreds of years.

 

Like so many other pubs, the Lamb was forced to close during lockdown. But a group of old regulars clubbed together to take on the lease and sponsor its restoration. At a time when 20 pubs are closing a week, it’s great to have a survivor.

 

Lamb and Flag, Oxford, 1959
  1. It seems like each piece that you have brought into the pub has its own history and uniqueness, what is your favourite thing that you have acquired for the pub?

I am happy with the way the lighting turned out. Nothing lets down a design like bad lighting. Above the bar hang six opaline acorn-shaped lights that I found at auction. In the panelled room at the front, there are simple sconce lights by HOWE with card shades. In the more irregular rooms at the back, the iron wall lights were wrought by a local ironmonger.  

 

   3.   How will you celebrate the coronation ?

I’ll watch the ceremony on TV and probably graduate to the pub later in the day. I’ll be steering clear of Coronation chicken though… cold curry with raisins… no thank you.

 

  1. What is one of your favourite British traditions?

Hard to choose. I’m a big fan of black cabs and thank you letters, but I also think the British make a great contribution to the Arts.

 

The windows which overlook St. Giles’
  1. Pubs are of such importance to the UK. It is one of Britains greatest traditions. What do you like about pubs in particular ?

Pubs are casual and have the same rules countrywide. At the same time, no two pubs are the same. The building, landlord and F&B offering differentiate a good pub from a bad pub.

 I also regard pubs as one of the great British traditions under threat: a bit like cash… something that enfranchises everybody and is at risk of extinction without conscious effort.

 

  1. Lastly, when you are not in Oxford gallivanting at the lamb and flag, what is your go to pub in London or not.

 Outside London, my favourite pub would have to be the Woolpack in Slad. In London, I hop around a bit. At the moment I like The Windsor Castle in Notting Hill – a stone’s throw from my new project and so-named for its view of the Castle on a clear day, before the western development of London in the 20th century.

 

 To find out more information about the Lamb and Flag and its journey you can visit -