The Victoria celebrates 180th birthday


The Victoria pub in Paddington, twice recognised as Fuller's pub of the year, celebrated its 180th birthday on 17 November where they launched their very own gin-inspired beer. 

The Victoria Managers, Helen Wilson and Chris Cochran, who have managed the pub for the past 18 years, arranged an abundance of activities and entertainment to celebrate The Victoria’s 180th birthday – with themes spanning 180 years of history. 

the victoria pub team celebrates 180 years with a party

A party fit for a Queen

At the event, The Victoria served a one-off beer called Drina, named after Prince Albert’s nickname for Victoria, which had been invented by the pub team. 

The Victoria team won an internal competition by Fuller’s where they had the opportunity to bring their beer to life and brew it with the support of the brewing team, in the new Pilot Brewery at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London.  

Helen said the 4.2% ABV cask botanical pale ale was inspired by gin, and brewed with ingredients such as juniper berries, coriander, bergamot and Sicilian mandarins. 

“The theme of past and present inspired our recipe for the botanical pale ale – gin is certainly going through a renaissance and is as popular now as it was when The Victoria first opened,” Helen explained. 

“We chose to use English malts and hops in the brew and for it to be available on cask – a nod to traditional brewing – while embracing the current popularity of pale ale.”

The beer was blessed at the celebratory event by Reverend Stephen Mason from local Church St John’s Hyde Park – a church which was built in the same decade as The Victoria. 

“Drina was well received – it tastes very much of a pale ale with a lot of citrus on the nose, and a little bit of spice from the pepper. It smells of gin botanicals, and you can taste the fruit, coriander and juniper,” Helen said.  

The Victoria gin-inspired beer pump clip design
Drina’s pump clip design was inspired by a famous painting of Queen Victoria. 

Celebrating 180 years of The Victoria

Accredited beer sommelier, Jane Peyton, gave a bespoke talk about the pub and its influence through the years. Artefacts and artwork was on display in the pub, and Nick Miller, local musician and composer, played Victorian-era songs on a piano. 

The pub’s Head Chef, Dan Smalley, created a Victorian-inspired menu with gamey, rich and indulgent dishes, while the pub’s Pastry Chef, Florin Toda, baked two birthday cakes for the event. 

David Bowie launched his first EP from the pub’s upstairs bar with a small gig in 1966, so the evening was ended perfectly with The Mighty Wub performing a heavily David Bowie based set.

The birthday celebration had a great turnout and regulars, as well as new faces, came together to celebrate 180 years of history at The Victoria in Paddington, with plenty more years to follow. 

“Chris and I have been managers of The Victoria for 18 years now – 10 per cent of the pub’s life – and it’s been a real privilege to be a part of its story,” said Helen. 

“It was a lovely day and was a great community event – it’s what pubs are all about.”

The Victoria is located at 10A Strathearn Place, Paddington, London.

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