“Just south of Paddington is a well-to-do area going by the revived name of Tyburnia. At its heart is the wonderful Victoria pub, nominated as Fuller’s pub of the year in 2007 and 2009.
The pub was built in the first year of the eponymous queen’s reign. The interior still harks back to the 19th century, with a gorgeous curving bar and numerous alcoves. As if the place needed any more Victorian credentials, it’s said that Charles Dickens wrote some of Our Mutual Friend at its tables. Upstairs, a smaller bar is decked out like a theatre, supposedly using materials rescued from a playhouse on Aldwych. The beers are drawn from the usual Fuller’s range.
Quiz night is Tuesday.”
“Between Paddington Station and Hyde Park, this Fuller’s-owned corner-site pub has some very early and spectacular fittings. Such was the amount of pub renovation at the end of the 19th century and since, that any fittings before the late-Victorian era are incredibly rare. Those at the Victoria are stylistically mid-Victorian and a precise date – 1864 – is suggested by the date on a clock in the bar-back fitting. We even know the man responsible for the work because, below the clock, is the inscription, ‘S. Hill Fitter New St. Boro’ Rd. Southwark’ (the clock is also signed by local clock-maker ‘Wm C. Mansell’). The decorative ceiling is made of Lincrusta.
This, and a side wall,
have large mirrors with intricate gilding and coloured decoration, each panel being separated from the others by detached columns with lozenge and Fleur-de-Lys decoration. This may be the oldest surviving bar back in the country, with the other possible contenders being the Kings Head, Bristol dating from c. 1865 and the Red Cow, Richmond.
In the angle of the building is a delicate Regency-style fireplace containing a print of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their numerous progeny.
The counter is no doubt a piece from 1864 with panelled bays divided by fluted pilasters. It still retains a brass water-dispenser for diluting spirits – still fully functioning.
Mounted on the long wall are coloured prints of soldiers in wooden frames but these are most probably a relatively modern (though now smoke-stained) addition. There are several outside doors and these would have led originally to a series of internal drinking areas, separated by screenwork. Upstairs the Theatre Bar has ornate fittings imported from the Gaiety Theatre about 1958.”