No, not that Jericho. And not that Freud. But altogether splendid.
Where better for the Holy Spirit to reside once a church is deconsecrated than in a cocktail bar! This is the rather wonderful Freud's in what was once St Paul's parish church' on Walton Street, so in the Jericho district of North Oxford.
The building dates from the 1830s - very classical in design, much like a Roman temple. And the sandstone has been bashed about a bit over the decades, which makes you wonder at first glance if this really was once a Roman temple.
But a board inside the bar quickly puts you right ...
Actually this was the first church in Oxford (not England) to be built since the Reformation - and then only if you turn a blind eye to the rebuilding of one or two of the churches in the town centre.
The land was once part of the burial ground of the Radcliffe Infirmary. The church was built particularly to serve the Jericho area, which was being built in part to accommodate workers at the Oxford University Press. But in the 1860s, Jericho got another church - the wonderful Anglo-Catholic St Barnabas - which is still going strong. So Jericho was over-supplied with parish churches.
The two parishes combined in the 1960s, and St Paul's - in some disrepair - closed as a place of worship. The organ and statues were removed, but the stained glass and some of the memorial plaques are still there and give the building a real sense of distinction.
An attempt to revive the building as an arts centre was short-lived, and Freud's has been based here since the late 1980s and it's still a great place for a margarita.
And all this Frevd with a 'v' stuff? Well, that's just psevdo-classical bvllshit if yov ask me.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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