The Victoria – A Sad Sight

I know nothing at all about this (very) dead pub on Woolwich Road in Charlton, but it makes me sad every time I see it. It was clearly once a thriving place – when the docks and factories were working flat-out. Money had clearly been spent on it – the decoration, though shabby now, is still pretty ornate.

At a guess I’d say it was late Victorian – which would tie in with the industry in the area, and, judging from the abrupt way in which its walls end, it was probably surrounded by terraced houses. Were they destroyed in the war, perhaps? Or did they just go when the place was cleared for – well – nothing much, really. There are whole swathes of post-industrial Charlton that have nothing at all on them.

(Once again, last night, as I was walking past the fire station a little closer to Greenwich, I peered through the holes in the high walls surrounding the two-odd acres that are home only to buddliea trees and abandoned shopping trolleys. My usual fantasy of creating a herb farm within those walls danced about my head, though I confess I have no real intentions in that direction. Anyone fancy starting Charlton Herbery?)

But back to the Victoria. I have a horrible feeling that this is a gonner. There are giant holes in the fabric of the building that would make it hugely expensive to repair, and without the custom to keep it open (it’s opposite Maryon Park and close to the Thames Barrier, but as for much in the way of housing that would provide ‘regulars,’ it’s pretty much on its own) I can’t see anyone coming up with that kind of cash. It’s a cute late Victorian pub – but I suspect that no one would argue it was unique.

I truly hope I’m wrong. I love this building – especially the enormous spread eagle that holds up the corner – and I would love to see something ‘nice’ happen to it (I’d even happily accept luxury flats) – but time is definitely running out for this one…

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