In the area known by its revival name of Tyburnia, a five-minute walk south of Paddington station, on land that was once owned by the Abbey of Westminster lays a quaint pub ‘The Victoria.’
Having won pub of the year on two occasions, The Victoria public house should be near the top of your ‘must see’ list when in London!
It has been said that it possibly took its name when Queen Victoria stopped on the way to Paddington station for a quick libation, however, as it was built in the first year of her reign, it is more likely that it was simple named after the monarch of that time.
It has been said that The Victoria has hosted some of the greats, from Winston Churchill, Sir James Barrie, Charlie Chaplin, to today’s stars like Claudio Ranieri, Ronnie Wood, Damien Hirst, Keira Knightley, and Liam Gallagher.
As with most old pubs, their history is handed down from landlord to landlord with colourful embellishments from the regulars. The Victoria is no exception; however, there is often truth in many of these tales, as this pub was built circa 1837. It will have had its fair share of rich and famous clientele!
Winston Churchill lived at 3 Sussex Square, a stone’s throw away, where you will find a blue plaque (these houses were redeveloped in the 1960’s).
There are charming stories that one can be acquainted with over a pint of Fullers beer such as the time when it has been said Charlie Chaplin was standing on the balcony of the first floor, a huge crowd gathered in the street below, excited the crowd cheered Chaplin on. The police had to be called to manage the massing crowd.
The walls have adornments of memorabilia relating to Charles Dickens, it is claimed he wrote part of “Our Mutual Friend” whilst enjoying a pint or two.
In fact, with a little imagination you can see him in your mind’s eye, by the window, quill pen in hand dipping it into the ink pot every minute or so, with a pint on the table?
It is here in January 1966 is where the visionary David Bowie, launched the single ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’. The launch party was said to be attended by John Lennon’s father, Freddie Lennon. This single had no real success, Bowie later split from the band ‘The Lower Third trio. In this Suffragette City and Under Pressure he went solo and the rest is history – there really was Dancing in the Streets.
‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ was the first single released by David Bowie after he changed his name from David Jones so as not to be confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees. This is where he mixed, mingled, and networked as a professional musician, also the place where the Bowie legacy started, this is a must see for any David Bowie aficionado.
The Victoria, is a grade II listed pub, it was damaged during the Blitz, however it is in keeping the first namesake. Having been refurbished in early 2018/19, Walking into ‘The Victoria’ is taking a step back into a traditional Old London pub with exquisite Victorian craftsmanship and open fires.
The bar area is mahogany, which is in keeping with the wood used at the time of the original build. The mirrors are original.
However, walking in through the single door into the seating area today, you will notice that one of the three panels does not have the ageing that the others do, that’s because it is a replacement for the original that was damaged when a bomb exploded outside during the Second World War.
The upstairs Theatre Bar features decorative elements taken from the former Gaiety Theatre which were installed in the late 1950s.
Whether you have a few hours to fill while waiting for your train from Paddington station, want a good quality place to eat and drink with a pleasant and friendly atmosphere, looking for inspiration on your artistic journey, or on a David Bowie Pilgrimage, The Victoria is part of London folklore, it certainly is a beautiful pub worth visiting.
If you enjoyed reading these facts, you will love embarking on one of our day tours where one of our Driver guides will enjoy sharing their unique insight into the city with you.