Statue of Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester
Architecture Historic photography Parks and Gardens

Pubs, Parks and Pavilions: Victoria in Public Places

Here are just some of the historic public places in England named after Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819. Her reign of 63 years and 216 days was longer than any of her predecessors.

Perceptions of Queen Victoria’s legacy change with each generation. At the time, she was held in great affection by large swathes of her subjects. From publicans to peers, those empowered to express their loyalty did so by naming places and things after her, or to mark milestones in her reign.

From pubs to parks, streets to statues, and even a phantom city, here are some of the historic places named after Queen Victoria.

A large crowd with banners gathered around the statue of Queen Victoria in the market place, celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Decorated horse drawn wagons can be seen in the foreground.
A crowd in Abingdon, Oxfordshire celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 with her freshly unveiled statue. © Historic England Archive. View image cc97/02110.

Stately Statues

Aside from the prominent Victoria Memorial near Buckingham Palace, statues were raised in towns up and down the country. There are at least 45 statues of Queen Victoria on the National Heritage List for England, but there are many more unlisted ones.

Victoria surveying a very 21st century scene. This monument by Edward Onslow Ford was completed in 1901 as the centrepiece to Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. © Historic England Archive. DP220614.

Streets ahead of a station

Victoria Station in London has many listed historic features, but it was actually named after Victoria Street, which in turn was named for the queen,

Around 218 miles north, Manchester’s Victoria station was named after the young queen in 1843.

Exterior of Victoria Station, London
A late Victorian or Edwardian view of London’s Victoria Station. © Historic England Archive. c9701138.

Pubs and pavilions

Victoria may not have necessarily approved of all that went on inside them but scores of pubs were named after Victoria, 46 of which are listed.

Interior view of the pub bar on the first-floor of the Victoria public house, Strathearn Place
The gilt and velvet interior of the listed Victoria public house, Strathearn Place. © Historic England Archive. View image DP138616.

Perhaps the most famous one is the fictional (but as of yet, unlisted) Queen Vic in ‘EastEnders’. Based on the former College Park Tavern in London’s Harlesden, it has survived several fires and witnessed a number of births, deaths, and dramatic exits.

Exterior of the Queen Vic public house, as featured in the TV soap opera 'Eastenders'
The Queen Vic. © Matt Pearson.

Now a pub but originally an Edwardian concert hall and assembly rooms, the Royal Victoria Pavilion graces Ramsgate’s Harbour Parade. Amazingly, this listed example of seafront architecture was designed in just a week to be ready in time for the 1903 season.

Victoria Pavilion Ramsgate
The Royal Victoria Pavilion and ‘Pleasurama’, Ramsgate, 1932. Britain from Above image. © Historic England Archive. EPW039325.

Public parks

Postcard of Queens Park, Crewe
Postcard showing a view towards a bridge in Queens Park, Crewe, Cheshire. © Historic England Archive. View image pc06235.

Not everything ran so smoothly: Queen’s Park in Crewe, intended to be fully open for Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, had to be dedicated unfinished. This didn’t prevent a festive ‘Grand Procession’ and ceremony, combining the jubilee with the 50th anniversary of the railway arriving at this important junction. The event was a quintessentially Victorian coupling of patriotism and progress.

Eponymous parks were built throughout Victoria’s life: the Royal Victoria Park in Bath was named after (and opened by) an 11 year old princess, whilst Queen’s Park in Crewe opened nearly 60 years late.

Historic postcard of a general view of Victoria Park, London
A historic postcard showing the fountain in Victoria Park, east London. © Historic England Archive. View image PC06763.

Parks also highlight Victoria and Albert’s love of horticulture and concerns over conditions in England’s rapidly growing cities. Victoria Park in East London was opened in 1840 to provide a green space in an area that otherwise had dire living conditions. The park was initially funded by a Royal Grant and was intended to be ‘a memorial to the sovereign’.

The city that never was

A view of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee parade of 1897 featuring the Royal Princes and foreign dignitaries as they pass under Wellington Arch and through a large crowd.
Crowds watch Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession, here with the Royal princes and foreign representatives, passing under Wellington Arch, London in 1897. © Historic England Archive. View image cc97/01161.

Parks and statues are great, but what bigger memorial could there be than an entire city?

There are many places in the former British Empire or Commonwealth named after Victoria, but you may not have heard of Victoria, ‘the first capital of New Zealand’. And with good reason: it was never built.

James Busby, the first governor of the area, planned the township to surround his residence. Today, his former home stands alone in splendid isolation, overlooking the Bay of Islands.

Jubilee Jamboree

Popular affection for Victoria reached new heights at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, prompting a surge in commemorative naming and monument building to mark the occasion.

How kind they are… No one ever has met with such an ovation as was given to me

Queen Victoria’s response to her reception by the public on a Diamond Jubilee procession through London

A good way to reach ‘new heights’ was to build a tower, either a completely new one like Darwen Jubliee Tower in Lancashire, or to decorate existing structures, as at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.

General view of the flaxmill complex, looking south towards the Jubilee Tower and Coronet from the top of the scaffolded kiln building
A detail of the jubilee tower at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, Shropshire © Historic England Archive. View image DP235658.

The latter building is famed as the 18th-century ancestor of all modern skyscrapers. What you may not know is that, in 1897, a wooden hoist tower was topped by a beautiful cast-iron work crown symbolically marking the jubilee.

Further reading

2 comments on “Pubs, Parks and Pavilions: Victoria in Public Places

  1. The Happy Book Blog.

    Loved this, I find Queen Victoria and the Victorian era really interesting.🙂

  2. Reblogged this on keithbracey and commented:
    In Birmingham there is a prominent statue of Queen Victoria outside #Birmingham Council House in the eponymously named #Victoria Square

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