Bristol’s Lost Pubs
Old Fox Fox Road
This information on the Old Fox was kindly provided by Jim McNeill chair of Living Easton. The Old Fox closed 15th May 2004.
Easton – The Forgotten Hamlet, Ellery, L. W., 1986.
An imposing three-story building of c.1700, this inn, situated close to the river Frome, now covered by the M32 motorway is famous for its connection with Dr. W. G. Grace, Easton doctor and father of international cricket in the period, c.1870-1915, and who used to drink here occasionally, after cricket fixtures at the Gloucestershire County Cricket Ground, in nearby Horfield and elsewhere, before returning to his Surgery nearby, at 59 Stapleton Road.
Bristol Illustrated News, May 1966.
The Old Fox in Fox Road, Eastville, Bristol, is in Bristol’s east end, tucked in off the main road to the north-east on the way out of town. Under the recently acquired managership of Harry and Maureen Campbell, it has acquired a reputation for being one of the best pubs in which to have a hot lunch in the city. Following the sophisticated London trend of making the East End a popular good-value eating district, the Campbells provide a three-course, 8/6d traditional British lunch, generously served and of the kind of quality which is attracting hungry top executives from all over Bristol. The bar-restaurant is most attractive, decorated with wrought iron and brasses. Harry Campbell’s service is cheerful and efficiently unobtrusive and his wife’s cooking is first class and ample. This is the place for roast beef, roast pork and lamb, succulently cooked vegetables, good apple pie with cream and all the insufficiently praised delights of the English table. The beer is good too and although the wine list is limited you can get a glass of wine with your meal. At present, it is very much a pot luck restaurant – there is a set menu every day – but the luck of the pot is well worth the trip east to Eastville.
Avon Drinker, the magazine for public house customers produced by CAMRA.
CAMRA was formed in the early 1970s and grew from a membership of 2,000 in 1973 to a total of 21,000 a year later. It was a response to the replacement of real ales by gas-pressured ales by the Big 6 breweries at the time. In September 1974 a subsidiary company, CAMRA (Real Ale) Investments Ltd., was set up to run a chain of real ale pubs across the country. Their first pub was the Old Fox, it was soon followed by the opening of White Gates at Hyde, Manchester. The Fox continued to trade during its renovation and officially opened to much publicity in October 1975 and was an instant success. It originally had the following range of ales; Breakspears from Henley-on-Thames, Clubs from Pontyclum and Wadsworths. It was, at the time, the most interesting range of Real Ale yet assembled in Bristol. It is interesting to note that the two local breweries, Smiles and Butcombe, were created at this time. The Avon Drinker, No.2 August / September 1977, reported that the Old Fox was installing a cellar cooler, a blessing for which landlord Peter Bull will no doubt be thankful after last year’s problems. The Avon Drinker, No.3 October/November, 1977, listed the Old Fox as one of the three outlets for tickets for the Avon Beer Festival.
In August 1978, Neil Harris wrote in the Avon Drinker, A trip to the Fox is always stimulating because it’s such an excellent boozer and, despite its ups and downs, has always done a good job for the Campaign. The purchase of the Fox was made possible by Courage breweries selling off their smaller uneconomic pubs.
Matthews’s New History of Bristol or Complete Guide and Bristol Directory for the year 1793-4
For those who are fond of bathing and swimming, the spacious bath and dressing houses, pleasant gardens and good accommodations of Mr. Rennison, near to Stokes-croft turnpike; and the conveniences for bathing in the River Froom, at the Fox, Baptist-mills, about half a mile from Bristol.