Hitchin Nub News hospitality heroes: The Victoria - 'A community pub with a big heart'

By Layth Yousif

27th Feb 2021 | Local News

Ahead of the eagerly-awaited lifting of lockdown restrictions, here's first in a new Hitchin Nub News series showcasing the brilliant pubs and restaurants in our town.

Hospitality has been hard hit over the last 12 months, and like many in Hitchin, we're big fans of the wonderful hostelries and eateries that help make our area what it is today.

That's why in the buildup to their reopening on April 12 outside, and May 17 inside, we will be featuring a different pub, bar, restaurant or cafe every week.

So, read on for the first in our new series Hitchin Hospitality Heroes as we focus on the brilliant Victoria on Ickleford Road.

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'A community pub with a big heart in the historic market town of Hitchin' is how the Vic describes themselves.'

Prior to the Covid pandemic that has brought us three lockdowns, the renewed pub on Ickleford Road hosted an impressive calendar of event including live music, quiz nights, themed food evenings, charity fundraisers, St Food Fridays, VicFEST & Sunday session acoustic nights.

They were as acclaimed for their famous Sunday roasts as much as their epic gig nights.

They have a 'great big beer garden', a barn for hire as well as a site for community events - and a real fire.

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History

As anyone who has had the pleasure of supping at the Vic over the years, the pub is steeped in history and can date it's origins back to the mid 19th century.

But did you know the story behind the Vic's early days?

The Victoria Public House was originally built to serve the community in 1865.

Back then it was previously known as The Cricketers, but there was another pub situated on the Bedford Rd with the same name.

Naturally this lead to confusion, as the Vic explains on their website, so in an intriguing tale, the two landlords decided to settle the matter by meeting on neutral ground between the two premises, at Butts Close.

Some say the matter was settled by simply tossing a coin, although others suggest a duel.

Either way The Cricketers on the Bedford Rd won, sadly a pub no more.

But what to call the pub on Ickleford Road, once it has to change names?

Well, during the Victorian era, the fashion was to choose names relating to the royal family, so the pub was re-named - and The Victoria was born.

For more on this visit the Vic's website here

Vic at The Vic

Victoria Kevans took over as landlady in 2006, daughter to her predecessor Cilla Kevans, The Vic has featured heavily throughout her life, as a social hub and workplace.

During her 13 year reign Victoria has gradually extended and modernised things to create the comfortable surroundings you are welcomed to today.

The pub has undergone a recent refurbishment acknowledging it's Victorian roots with sympathetic decor amongst modern amenities and touches.

The spacious beer garden has an impressive sheltered area, the old barn has been transformed from a storage area into a function room available for private hire, live events and free community use.

The Victoria is the true meaning of a public house, everyone is welcome and made to feel at home.

And so say all of us!

For more on this visit the Vic's website here

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