Home Cartoonist Bear Inn owner Alan Course launched the pub’s famous tie collection

Bear Inn owner Alan Course launched the pub’s famous tie collection



Our article on Alan Course generated a lot of interest for the famous cartoonist, policeman, publican, artist and artist.

Many readers have fond memories of the jovial character who brightened the local scene for over 40 years.

We remembered his immense contribution to city and county life when we reproduced one of his cartoons that appeared in the Oxford City Police Association newsletter, depicting former city officers (Memory Lane , September 6).

Read again: One of Oxford’s smaller pubs has 95 outdoor seating

Educated at Bedford School, he began his professional life as a commercial artist, but moved to Oxford shortly before his 21st birthday in 1934 to join the city police, in which he served for 12 years.

He became a designer for the Oxford Mail, combining his artistic work with the management of the Bear Inn in Alfred Street, Oxford.

It was here that he began a collection of nearly 3,000 school, college, club and regimental ties, which has become world famous.

Customers would be invited to have their ties cut off and added to the collection.

In 1958 he moved to the White Hart in Wytham and three years later to Woodstock where he took over the Star Inn, retiring to a canal-side cabin in Thrupp, near Kidlington, in 1967.

However, his thirst for life did not stop and he later joined the night shift staff at Telephone House in Oxford.

Among his many other activities, he worked as a fire extinguisher salesman, made two unsuccessful attempts to become an Oxford town councilor, and helped run the Oxfordshire Association of Boys’ Clubs.

He was a born artist and organized the Oxford team which appeared on the popular Top Town TV show.

He even appeared on screen himself, drawing cartoons on the backs of the young dancers of Vera Legge.

He once admitted he had a “12 year itch” – he had to constantly look for new challenges.

He died in Radcliffe Infirmary in 1975 the day after his 62nd birthday following major heart surgery.

The church in the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell was packed for his funeral, with some friends and colleagues traveling for miles to attend.

Read more: The owner of the Alan Course pub was a talented cartoonist

A tribute paid by an anonymous admirer in the Oxford Mail read: “A man who could have made a fortune if he had been so motivated, this is how I will remember Alan Course.”

“He’s had relative success in everything.

“The reason he didn’t win a million was just that he was turning his hand too often, always looking for new fields to conquer.

“He was popular everywhere he went and lived his life to the fullest.”

The Bear Inn has one of the smallest bars in town.

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Earlier this year, with pubs still not allowed to open indoors due to the pandemic, staff set up tables outside to seat 95 people. Some customers in April braved the snow for drinks outside with friends. Staff said it would be impossible to fit 95 people inside because it was too small. Until pubs reopened indoors in the summer, drinkers had to use 18 tables outside.



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