The New Victory Inn was affectionately known as the ‘Little Vic’. The pub closed in December 2012.
The Townsend family had a long association with the New Victory stretching from 1912, when Thomas Townsend took it over, until 1983 when Jim, who succeeded brother Tommy, finally called it a day. Violet Townsend, better known as ‘Cissy’, who was a popular landlady in the 1950’s was ignominiously removed from the Magdalen House Nursing Home in Gloucester just five days before she died in February 2003, aged 88.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s the New Victory Inn was the Head Quarters of the Tredworth Rugby Football Club and had successful darts, shove ha’penny, crib and even angling teams. The Tredworth Road Walk was established at the ‘Little Vic’ in the 1950’s. This was initially a fun race where customers of the pub downed a couple of pints, stripped down to their vests and ran in their working boots. As the years passed it developed into a competitive running race and was a great day out, during its heyday attracting thousands of spectators. By 1970 interest had waned and the race was abandoned. In 1974 the event was revived and the ‘Little Vic’ was the starting point.
The Citizen, 1st February 1979 – 501 out in 17 darts: When the News of the World section darts finals were held at the New Victory Inn, High Street, Gloucester, for the Gloucester and Gloucester and District sections, two players went out in 17 throws for the 501 total. They were D. Portlock (Berkeley Hunt near Berkeley) and Gordon Birt (Plough Inn, Alfred Street, Gloucester).
The Citizen, 23rd October 2009 – “We’ll never forget dad”: Jim Townsend was the traditional pub landlord who loved helping people in the community. That’s how family and friends remember the former landlord of the New Victory Inn in Tredworth. They said Jim, who died aged 87, would always be remembered.
Jim’s only son, who is also called Jim, said: “He was well known in the area and everyone knew of him and his family in Tredworth. He helped run the pub for more than 50 years. He loved to help people in the community and did lots of work for charities. He was a happy person and was the perfect host. He was the traditional landlord, wearing his waistcoat, and was always involved with the customers and was jolly.”
The Townsend family connection with the New Victory – called the Little Vic locally – stretched from 1912, when Thomas Townsend took it over, to 1983, when Jim, who succeeded brother Tommy, finally retired. Jim and run the pub with his wife Pearl who died a few years ago. Jim junior, 61, said: “He ran the pub for more than 50 years and it shows how good the pub was when it was voted the fourth most popular in Gloucester at one point. He loved darts and crib and played for the pub team and was chairman of county darts, there is even a Jim Townsend cup for darts in his name.”
Jim, who has one grandchild called James, moved when he retired and enjoyed gardening. He had a fall in February which kept him in hospital for the last few months. Jim died at Stroud Hospital on Monday night.
Darrel Kirby in his book ‘The Story of Gloucester Pubs’ (The History Press, 2010) visited the New Victory Inn and described it as a ‘delightful old-fashioned, unspoilt pub, the Little Vic is entered via a small covered passageway from the High Street. The passage goes through to the pub garden at the back and two doors lead off it. The first has a sign saying ‘Saloon & Off-Sales’, although this is the pool room. Just inside the door is an old hatch for off-sales, which I haven’t seen in any other pubs in the city. The sign over the second door says ‘Games Room’ This is a small room with a bar running along the length of the right-hand wall and a dartboard on the back wall. The Little Vic doesn’t sell real ale, but it does sell cider, referred to by the regulars as ‘rough’, but we weren’t adventurous enough to try that.’
The Citizen, Friday 2nd April 2010 – Road race’s 64th running: The annual Tredworth Road Race will take place on Easter Monday. The race through the streets of the city will start at 11.15am. It will be the 64th time the race has been run in Tredworth. The 4.3 mile course begins at the New Victory Inn on the High Street, and is open to anyone aged 15 and over.
A separate race for the under 10’s will be held on the day, with Easter eggs given to all finishers on the day. An Easter bonnet competition will also be held at the event.
The Citizen, 24th June 2013 – Pub’s ground floor well alight in attack: Arsonists are believed to be behind a fire at the New Victory Inn in Gloucester yesterday. People living nearby said the culprits broke into the building in Tredworth High Street in the early hours and set fire to some piled up chairs. Firefighters were called out at about 1.50am to tackle the blaze and found the ground floor well alight.
A man, who lives across the road and owns a neighbouring shop, said: “The children woke us up saying there was a fire. By the time we came out they had already put it out.” The man said he believed the pub had closed down in December.
A 10-strong team of firefighters managed to douse the flames before they spread to neighbouring buildings. No-one was hurt. The fire service confirmed the fire was being treated as suspicious and police are investigating.
Vice chairman of Tredworth Estate Tenants and Residents’ Association Tony Ward said the landlord left the pub unexpectedly and shut it at the end of last year. He said of the fire: “This sort of thing is very disconcerting as you don’t know what they are going to do next.
Landlords at the New Victory Inn include:
1879 Robert Price
1893, 1906 R. Price (junior) (reference in 1873 is to the New Victoria)
1912 Thomas Townsend
1936 T.B. Townsend
1939 Mrs Louisa Townsend
1950’s Tommy and Violet ‘Cissy’ Townsend (‘Old Vic’)
1954-1983 James S. Townsend (Jim was Tommy’s brother)
1997,1999 Steve Birch and Cassie Overthrow