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Rachel’s artwork is a beautifully hand-printed poster using the names of these pubs overlaid on a map of the area. Some were ‘ghost’ names, where an old pub had been renamed or demolished, and she incorporated these as an under-layer of printing in grey to show their lingering presence.
The signed, numbered copies of this print are only available through this Art Happens campaign.
“I asked for help with finding the names of pubs on a Facebook community of people interested in Oxford's history and heritage. There was an amazing response with many friends and family of publicans from St Ebbe's sharing their memories and pictures. Many of the names are quite quirky and it's puzzling to think of why they may have been chosen. In themselves they suggest stories which are probably now lost.”
Researching the work uncovered some gems of local pub history says Rachel
“People shared some stories about their pub memories. Someone told me about a character called Big Mo Amos who used to play piano in the Paviers Arms. Whilst playing he could pick up pint of beer and drink it straight down.”
As a link to the city’s printing industry Rachel used an old block-type method, which was a challenge to find at short notice. Thanks to the Bodleian Bibliographic Press she was able to use traditional technology and old typefaces that would have been familiar to drinkers in these lost locals. The final artwork is a thoughtful and crafted tribute to Oxford’s lost locals.
Local Oxford artist Rachel Barbaresi has been delving into Oxford’s hidden histories since she moved here in 2004. Her latest work focuses on lost pubs in the city’s St Ebbes area. Redeveloped in the 1960s, this used to be a densely populated area with a host of local pubs. Rachel says:
“I wanted to suggest something that has disappeared, but is still held in memory of the generation who lived in the area of St Ebbe's just before it was demolished. I included all the pubs which I could find references to or records of via living memory and which have been demolished or are no longer used as pubs.”
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