4. Bell has rung at the Victoria – and the Gloucester Arms
Take a snoop around Mornington Crescent’s fine backstreet boozer The Victoria via Google’s slightly creepy if impressive map thingy above. Unfortunately that’s the only way this pub can be enjoyed now, as the owners have completed the sale to a developer and pulled their last pint.
Despite its cosy main bar and garden, plus a gorgeous function room upstairs, the business has been losing money for years. When we first covered the campaign to “save the Victoria” back in April there was plenty of controversy. The worn-out landlord/owners felt that their right to sell the property was being blocked by well-meaning but ignorant locals who never visited the pub anyway.
The tussle highlights a key problem. Everyone loves the idea of a quiet little gem of a pub to visit once a year, but without real support, these businesses are simply not viable. Rather than local regulars, the Victoria was apparently popular with a loyal band of post-work regulars from EMAP, based in the nearby art deco cigarette factory. When the company moved offices, losses piled up faster than ever.
Meanwhile up in Leighton Road, the Gloucester Arms has also just been snapped up for conversion into yet more flats. Campaigning to save historic pubs is a worthy cause, but in the digital era, it’s all too easy to sign a petition, become outraged, but not actually contribute much in the way of a solution.
We suggest everyone visit their favourite backwater boozer tonight. Simple. A quiet pint is worth a thousand impassioned e-petitions, any day.
And for the latest on the Castle saga, see our story on today’s home page.
Next: another new festival for Camden?