Members and Meetings
Apart from Lewis and Tolkien, regular members of the Inklings included the philosopher and author Owen Barfield, the poet, novelist and playwright Charles Williams, Adam Fox, a poet and later canon of Westminster Abbey, and physician Robert Harvard, one of whose patients was Lewis. There were also family connections: Lewis’s older brother Warren often attended, as did Tolkien’s son Christopher.
As well as the evening meetings in Lewis’s college rooms, the group often assembled at lunchtimes in nearby pubs. The most regular of these was their gathering on Tuesdays at midday at The Eagle and Child, known to locals as “The Bird and Baby” or sometimes simply “The Bird”. There they met in a private room at the back, known for reasons lost to history as the “Rabbit Room”.
Although they never read their manuscripts aloud in the pub, the group had clearly become well known in the area. In his 1947 crime novel, Swan Song, Edmund Crisp has his hero, Professor Gervase Fen, sitting with others in the front parlour of the Eagle and Child. “There goes C. S. Lewis”, remarks Fen, “It must be Tuesday.”
Lewis in particular was known for his enjoyment of hearing work read aloud, as well as his astonishing memory of texts he had absorbed in this way. According to Tolkien, he was able to quote verbatim from novels or poetry he had heard decades earlier.