Pub Names – O

The Oakleaf¹
Unicorn Street
A reference to the English Oak  – a tree synonymous for centuries with England and adopted as a patriotic symbol by publicans.

The Oakwood³
Northern Parade
On the corner of Oakwood Road, part of the so-called Wood Estate. The inn sign depicted a character resting beneath an oak tree. The pub is now a Co-Operative store.

The Oddfellows Arms¹
Various locations
A popular pub name, referring to the Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Union), who had numerous branches in Portsmouth, including a number based in local pubs.

The Old Canal Inn³
Shirley Avenue
This pub stands close to the course of the long-abandoned Portsmouth & Arundel Canal. The inn sign shows a boatman punting a barge.

The Old Customs House
Gunwharf Quays
This new pub is located in the Vernon Building, part of the former HMS Vernon shore base. The building was once used as a customs house.

The Old Excellent¹
Thomas Street
The original HMS Excellent was a 74-gun royal Naval vessel that was launched in 1787. The name now refers to the former Royal Navy’s shore base, located on Whale Island, Portsmouth, which was originally housed in a number of hulks named Excellent from the year 1830. It eventually moved ashore in 1891. From 1985 it was amalgamated with nearby HMS Nelson.

The Old House at Home
Various locations
This name originates from a once-popular ballad, often recounted by soldiers longing to return home from the battlefield.

The Old Oyster House
Locksway Road
May well derive from oysters once having been farmed in nearby Langstone Harbour. The inn sign once depicted a large pearl and oyster close to the shore. Nowadays the sign shows a fisherman seated on the canal side.

The Old Vic³
St Paul’s Road
Once the Borough Arms and renamed the Old Vic in 1989, presumably in honour of the late Queen Victoria.

The Olive Branch¹
Various locations
A name given to many pubs across Britain and referring to the ancient symbol of peace, deriving from the biblical story of the dove that returned to Noah’s Ark carrying an olive branch, ‘proving’ that the great flood was subsiding. Of particular relevance to Portsmouth, the coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights depicts a dove carrying an olive branch, with the motto Within The Ark Safe For Ever.

The Oliver Twist³
(Old) Commercial Road
Named after the eponymous character in Charles Dickens’ 1838 novel. Dickens was born one hundred yards from this pub, on what is now Old Commercial Road.

The Orange Tree¹
East Street and Rutland Street
The orange tree was introduced to Britain by Sir Thomas Gresham, English merchant and financier, in the late 16th century. The image of an orange tree on an inn sign would have had good novelty value in such times.

The Ordnance Arms¹
St Mary’s Street
This pub was located close to Gun Wharf – the Royal Navy’s first main ordnance yard, established in the late 17th century.

The Osborne³
Osborne Road
Named after Queen Victoria’s favourite residence, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight.

Owens²
Palmerston Road
Named in honour of Thomas Ellis Owen, who in the 1830s was responsible for the construction of many grand properties in this part of Southsea, such as those on Portland Road.

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