Page Updated:- Thursday, 25 March, 2021.


Earliest  1856

Victoria Inn

Latest 1996+

174 Church Street


Victoria Inn 1870s

The building in the centre of the picture is the original "Victoria Inn" circa 1870s.

Victoria 1900

Above postcard, circa, 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Victoria Inn

Above photo date circa 1904.

Victoria Inn 1911

Above photo circa 1911.

Victoria Inn 1930

Above postcard, circa 1930. Kindly sent by Debi Birkin. Also showing the "Black Bull" in the distance, same side.

Former Victoria Inn 2012

Above image from Google, July 2012.

Victoria Inn sign 1992Victoria Inn sign 1996

Above sign left, June 1992. Sign right, December 1996.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


One time a Mason's tied house, but the brewery was bought out by Shepherd Neame in 1956 and the brewery was subsequently closed and demolished.


The following information has been taken from


It is said that the "Victory" was so named to celebrate Britain's successful outcome in the Crimean War in 1856, however it also suggested that the reason may have been Britain's victory over Napoleon and the French.

The "Victory" beerhouse lay between Cliffe's oldest drinking establishments, the "Black Bull" and the "Six Bells," in the then Cliffe High Street. As Cliffe's population increased due to the coming of the cement industry so did the need for accommodation and another place to relax and recuperate from the toils of labour.

The "Victory" began life as a small wooden building which was re-built in brick and renamed sometime between 1871 and 1877.

On the right hand side of the beer-house was a small grocery store and to the rear lay a coal-yard - both were under the control of the Thorndike family who ran the beer-house.

The Thorndike family were highly respected in the village (and by the brewery too) not only due to them being related to many of Cliffe's merchant families but their hard working attitude, sense of fairness and support for the village.

Thorndike family 1918

The Thorndike Family pictured in the "Victoria Inn," 1918.

Back (L to R): Laura Thorndike, Frank Thorndike Jnr, Rowland Thorndike & Lillian Thorndike.

Front (L to R): Thomas Thorndike, Anne Waters Thorndike, Frank Thorndike & Laura Louisa Thorndike.


The "Victoria's" yard was surfaced, like most off-road areas, with cinders from the fires which, in dry weather, spread dust up your legs as it crunched underfoot and in very wet weather was best avoided.

Entering the "Victoria Inn," by the 'Jug & Bottle' bar (off-licence today) you would be faced with a room that was more akin to a corridor whose walls were heavy wooden panels to separate it from the Saloon bar, which had it's own entrance by the bakery, and the Public bar which had a corner entrance, adjacent to the yard, by Parker's Shop.

In the back room, which could be entered from the yard or Public bar entrance, was were a book keeper would sit and enter sums of money in a ledger that customers could save in the 'Vic Swearing Club'. It is likely that the swearing club originated from the practice of placing a swear box on the bar to which a customer would be expected to place a fine should he have used a swear word in conversation. The contents of this box would then either be shared out or used for charitable activities at Christmas.

Above the bars and reached by a flight of stairs was a large room that stretched from the High Street at the front to the yard at the back. As you descended the stairs, should you turn right, you would enter the Public bar through a door which could be locked, turn left and you would enter the large back room containing two large trestle tables.

For those who recall the "Victoria Inn" in recent times may be amazed by the number of people that it was able to house.

In 1881 the census returns show the following living at the "Victoria Inn":

George Thorndike, 46, head

Georga Thorndike, 44, wife

George Thorndike, 19, farm labourer

Thomas Thorndike, 17, farm labourer

Rose Thorndike, 11, scholar

Frank Thorndike, 4

Thomas Thorndike, 22

Thomas McCarthy, 53, lodger, cook

John Blagburn, 57, lodger, bricklayer

Mary Ann Bareden, 27, servant

Henry Worthington, 43, lodger, bricklayer

William Shelon, 30, lodger, cement labourer

William Symonds, 29, lodger, bricklayer

John Day, 29, lodger, bricklayer

William Bridge, 39, lodger, navvy

J. Gibbs, 29, lodger, navvy

Ann Waters Thorndike


I am informed that the pub has been converted into housing, but don't yet know when the pub closed and this happened.



PARKER Martha 1861-69

THORNDIKE George 1878-87

THORNDIKE Ann Waters 1891-1919

THORNDIKE Laura Louisa 1920-32

WITHERS Leslie Arthur 1932

CORNWALL Frederick William 1934-35

BRADFORD Henry 1935-39

ALEXANDER Jessie 1939-49

CLARK Alfred William 1949-50

THRUST Michael 1950-57

HOPKINS Claude Walter 1957-59



If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-