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Magical Mystery Tour of Oxfordshire Part 3

The iconic music of The Beatles will be brought to life on stage at Oxford's New Theatre this month. Let it Be, the spectacular concert jam-packed with over 40 of The Beatles greatest hits, celebrates the legacy of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band from Mon 20 - Sat 25 June. 


The Beatles' music, and indeed the fab four themselves, are no strangers to Oxfordshire. Witney isn't the only town in the county where John, Paul, Ringo and George have stopped for lunch.


The Oriel Hotel


In 1963, Abingdon Focus reported that "It was while travelling the A40 road on their way between engagements at Bournemouth and Coventry that the Beatles decided to stop for lunch at the Oriel Hotel in Ock Street."

The report goes on to say that other diners waited at their tables until The Beatles had finished eating in order to ask them for autographs.

One set of autographs gained that day was sold at Bonhams, a privately owned British auction house, in 2003. The autographs, signed in blue ballpoint on Oriel Hotel headed paper, had an estimated value between £2,000-£2,500 and were sold for £3,760.

Abingdon's Oriel Hotel was originally the home of John Matthew Townsend, who with his brother Thomas, owned Townsend's Steam Brewery, situated in Ock Street. In addition to being a home and hotel, the building was also at one time used as a doctor's surgery.

The Oriel Hotel occupied an attractive large plot and was replaced by a block of flats known as Juniper Court in the early 1988.

Whilst The Oriel Hotel no longer exists today, OckStreet remains. The street is a centre for Morris dancing, and continues the traditional election of the Mayor of Ock Street each year in June. 

For more information visit http://www.abingdon.gov.uk/history/streets/ock-street

With special thanks to Jackie Smith, Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council's HonArchivist.