The Birds Nest

The Birds Nest

The curious pub and the curiouser case of Mr Francis.

Location: 32 Church Street, Deptford

Description: Today it's one of the last remaining public houses on Deptford Church Street, and changed its name circa 2006 from The Oxford Arms.

Long ago Deptford Theatre stood next door (on its right as you look at it), and the playwright, Christopher Marlowe was somehow connected to it (however, not thought to be the location of his death).

The pub has a long history of showcasing top music gigs and have seen Squeeze (1976) and Dire Straits play here.

In the Kentish Gazette of 20th February 1844, the pub was reported to be at the centre of a curious case:


On Friday, the 2nd of February, Mr. Francis, jun., the son of Mr. Francis, the landlord of the Oxford Arms, in Church street, Deptford, was sitting in the tap room of his brother's house, the Marquis of Granby at the Lower Water gate, Deptford, when he fell down apparently in a fit, and a medical gentleman pronounced him to be dead, and took no means to restore what has since been declared by competent authorities to have been only suspended animation. Mr. Taylor, surgeon, of High-street, afterwards went to the house, and made several skilful experiments; and although an hour after the young man had been pronounced to be dead, succeeded in bleeding him, but not to restore animation.

There was much confusion and many experts sent for over the next few weeks as his body remained slightly warm to the touch. Several medical and surgical men in the vicinity of the place, and from the London hospitals, also visited the place; from their vague expressions there appeared no doubt that life was not extinct, at least for nine or ten days after the holding of the inquest.

Themes: PubPub Theme  DeathDeath Theme
The Birds Nest

The curious pub and the curiouser case of Mr Francis.

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