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Magdalen Street, Oxford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Mary Magdalen church seen from Magdalen Street West
St Mary Magdalen church seen from Magdalen Street West
Location of Magdalen Street within central Oxford
View of the Martyrs' Memorial with the Randolph Hotel and Taylor Institute behind at the north end of Magdalen Street.
View of the Martyrs' Memorial with the Randolph Hotel and Taylor Institute behind at the north end of Magdalen Street.

Magdalen Street is a short shopping street in central Oxford, England, just north of the original north gate in the city walls.[1] Traditionally, the name of the street is pronounced /ˈmæɡdəlɪn/ and not as the name of the College, which is always /ˈmɔːdlɪn/.[2]

At the southern end, Magdalen Street meets Cornmarket Street continuing to the south, Broad Street to the east and George Street to the west. At the northern end it continues as St Giles' to the north, with Beaumont Street to the west. To the west are shops. The street used to be the location of Oxford's leading department store for many years, Elliston & Cavell. It later became a Debenhams store. On the northern corner with Beaumont Street is the Macdonald Randolph Hotel, widely considered to be Oxford's leading hotel.

To the east is a historic church, St Mary Magdalen, originally established in Saxon times.[3] Beyond that is Magdalen Street East and Balliol College. North of the church is the Martyrs' Memorial, commemorating the Oxford Martyrs.

Thornton's Bookshop opened in Magdalen Street in 1835 and was located here until 1840, and again from 1853 to 1863.

St Giles' Fair, held at the beginning of September each year and mainly in St Giles' to the north, extends into Magdalen Street. During the 1930s, the poet John Betjeman noted that:

It is about the biggest fair in England. The whole of St Giles' and even Magdalen Street by Elliston and Cavell's right up to and beyond the War Memorial, at the meeting of the Woodstock and Banbury roads, is thick with freak shows, roundabouts, cake-walks, the whip, and the witching waves.[4]


  1. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Magdalen Street". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 237. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  2. ^ Jones, Daniel, eds. P.Roach, J.Setter and J.Esling Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary, 18th Edition, 2011, Cambridge University Press
  3. ^ History Archived 2010-03-11 at the Wayback Machine, St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford.
  4. ^ Alison Petch, Calendar related artefacts: St Giles Fair, England: The Other Within, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK.

This page was last edited on 3 August 2021, at 07:40
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