Turf Tavern
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The Turf Tavern (or just "the Turf") is a historic pub in central
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London, south-east of Birmingham and north-east of Bristol. The city is home to the Un ...
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
. Its foundations and use as a malt house and drinking tavern date back to 1381. The low-beamed front bar area was put in place sometime in the 17th century. It was originally called the Spotted Cow but the name was changed in 1842, likely as part of an effort to extinguish its reputation as a venue for illegal gambling activities. The pub is frequented primarily by university students (of both
Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London, south-east of Birmingham and north-east of Bristol. The city is home to the Un ...
and
Oxford Brookes University Oxford Brookes University (formerly known as Oxford Polytechnic (United Kingdom), Polytechnic) is a public university, public university in Oxford, England. It is a new university, having received university status through the Further and High ...
). It is located at the end of a narrow winding alley, St Helens Passage (originally Hell's passage), between Holywell Street and New College Lane, near the Bridge of Sighs. Running along one side of the pub is one of the remaining sections of the old city wall. Due to the illegal activities of many of its original patrons, the Turf sprang up in an area just outside the city wall in order to escape the jurisdiction of the governing bodies of the local colleges. The Turf Tavern is also where future Australian Prime Minister
Bob Hawke Robert James Lee Hawke (9 December 1929 â€“ 16 May 2019) was an Australian politician and union organiser who served as the 23rd prime minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991, holding office as the leader of the Australian Labor Party (AL ...
set a
Guinness World Record ''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book published annually, listing world ...
for consuming a yard glass of ale in 11 seconds in 1954. Other public figures who have dined or drunk at the tavern include
Richard Burton Richard Burton (; born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a Welsh People, Welsh actor. Noted for his baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a ...
,
Elizabeth Taylor Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was a British-American actress. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. ...
,
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
, CS Lewis, Stephen Hawking and
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
. It also served as a hangout for the cast and crew of the
Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven fantasy literature, fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young Magician (fantasy), wizard, Harry Potter (character), Harry Potter, and his friends ...
movies while the nearby colleges were used as locations throughout the filming of the series. The Turf Tavern also claims to be the location where future American president
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton (Birth name, né Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He previously served as governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 ...
, while a student at University College, Oxford as a
Rhodes Scholar The Rhodes Scholarship is an international Postgraduate education, postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom. Established in 1902, it is the oldest graduate scholarship in the world. It is con ...
, famously smoked "but did not inhale"
marijuana Cannabis, also known as marijuana among List of names for cannabis, other names, is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant. Native to Central or South Asia, the cannabis plant has been used as a drug for both Recreational marijuana, recr ...
. It was also featured in the ITV TV Series
Inspector Morse Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse, George Medal, GM, is the eponymous fictional character in the series of detective novels by British author Colin Dexter. On television, he appears in the 33-episode drama series ''Inspector Morse (TV ...
aired between 1987 and 2000.


References


External links

* Bill Clinton Pubs in Oxford {{pub-stub