The Royal Blenheim

Royal Blenheim 1.jpg


The Royal Blenheim


In the 2000s, the Royal Blenheim on St Ebbe’s Street was another queer pub in the centre of the city.

Oxford-born artist, writer and intersex rights activist Valentino Vecchietti shares their memories of the pub:

“It made us feel welcome and like we belonged in the city. Many of us went there every day after work and it was packed at weekends. It had a great atmosphere, and was a safe and welcoming space.

Then in the early 2000s we were told it was changing hands, and the new landlords wanted it to be a ‘straight’ pub.   Most of us thought it wouldn’t make any difference who owned the space. If we just carried on as usual and came in, it would still be our space, because surely we make and define our spaces by existing in them.

But then the change came, and the new owners employed bouncers who turned away anyone who looked queer, sometimes quite aggressively. We were repeatedly told ‘this is a straight pub now’, and that we weren’t welcome.  If we did get past the bouncer, the staff wouldn’t serve us.”  

The pub has changed ownership since that time, and remains one of Oxford’s many lost queer spaces.

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