During the 1930s, a small, unofficial club was formed in the intellectual hub of Oxford University. Every week, a group gathered to drink a few beers and discuss the latest adventures in worlds inhabited by lions, wizards, and hobbits, which were slowly materializing from the fertile imaginations of its most famous members: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
The group, called the Inklings, consisted of professors, thinkers, and writers who lived around the university town. Warren Lewis, C.S Lewis’s older brother and also a writer and an Inkling, wrote that, “Properly speaking, it was neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both. There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections.”
Beginning in the 1930s, formal meetings were organized every Thursday evening at Lewis’s university rooms and more casual lunches were held at different local pubs, most frequently The Eagle and Child. Most Mondays or Tuesdays, the group gathered in the backroom of the pub they referred to as the “The Bird and the Baby,” to discuss their own writing and other matters of the day. At this time, Lewis was crafting his Space trilogy, comprising Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, and Tolkien was writing the Lord of the Rings series.
The pub now sports pictures and prints related to these hugely popular books and a plaque records the role it played in their creation.
Know Before You Go
Walk out of the centre of town (Carfax) along Cornmarket Street past the Martyrs Memorial and keep going. The Eagle and Child is on the left hand side of St Giles about a quarter of a mile up the pavement walk.