Why the closing of The Victoria Pub in Mornington Place makes be happy.
There are some public houses that look like fun to be in, especially as you pass them of an evening. The Victoria on the corner of Mornington Place, round the back of Camden, is one of them. On a Thursday and Friday evening, especially through the summer months, the place was full to over flowing as professionals sought refuge after a hard days work. They stood outside, catching up on gossip and sipping their artisanal beers until the sun went down. It paints a pretty picture doesn’t it. Well no, it doesn’t really.
I passed that pub a few times a week, about 4.5 miles into my return cycle from work in Shoreditch, to Finchley Road Metropolitan Line station. Not such a long journey, but all the more arduous due to the gentle incline out of the London basin all the way from start to finish. By the time I reached this idyllic social oasis I was a sweaty mess, struggling to climb a seemingly flat surface with all the effort of Sir Bradley Wiggins cycling the Alpe d’Huez.
Because The Victoria sits on the corner of Mornington Place and Mornington Terrace the relaxing crowd spilled on to the street where every passing commuter could be eyeballed as they passed. All impossibly perfectly turned out at the end of the working day they stared wondering why on earth anyone would want to get themselves in to such a soggy state instead of standing with colleagues supping a local ale. Well here’s the truth… I WANTED TO BE STANDING WITH COLLEAGUES SUPPING A LOCAL ALE, and not puffing my way up the road with only my ventolin inhaler for assistance.
I hated those people, all of them. Their smug looks. Their disappointed eyes. Their confused glances. But, ultimately, I’ve had the last laugh! I have restarted my cycle commute once more after a summer recess and to my utter delight I discovered that The Victoria has closed its doors, boarded up its windows and politely asked its clientele to shuffle down the road to the Edinboro Castle, where they can enjoy their beers safely behind their walled pub garden, without fear of seeing slightly overweight cyclists on fold up bikes reaching the summit of (the endlessly flat) Mornington Terrace. I’m not usually one to revel in the closing of local businesses and am saddened to see the decline of the local public house; but this once, just this once, the sight of boarded up windows and that empty street corner allow me to quietly continue on my journey unimpeded by the distraction of happy people enjoying their post work pints.
Camden is a busy place with lots of people searching for somewhere to fill their boots. I’m sure that one day soon The Victoria will rise again and the streets will once more be awash with faces confused by the efforts of weary travellers. Either that or they’ll convert it in to flats! Happy days 🙂