The Victoria Inn was situated on the road leading to Parkend. A brief reference in the Gloucester Record Office D2308 1/5 (date unrecorded) says that it was ‘just within the East Dean border and within 250 yards from the Cock Inn at Nibley.’ The Travellers Rest was on the other side of the road some 200 yards away. Reference was also made to the exterior of the Victoria, which had ‘considerably improved lately’. I have found no references to the Victoria after 1903, which suggests that it had closed by the outbreak of the First World War.
The annual rateable value of the Victoria Inn was £18.0s.0d. in 1891 and 1903. Registered as a beer house it was owned and occupied by John Houdley in 1891 and he ran the pub free of brewery tie. However, it had been acquired by the Alton Court Brewery in Ross-on-Wye in 1903 when it closed at 10 pm. The Cock Inn closed at 11 pm, an extra hour drinking time for those it the know!
The ill-fated Forest of Dean Central Railway ran from Awre Junction, on the South Wales Railway main line to New Fancy Colliery to the north east of Parkend. The only village on the 4 ¾ mile branch was Blakeney and a station was built just to the north of the Cock Inn, although it never appeared in railway timetables and it is doubtful if the station saw any passenger traffic at all as the Forest of Dean Central Railway was essentially only ever used for goods traffic. The stone-built station was dismantled for use at the Dean Forest Railway where it serves passengers at Whitecroft. The FoDCR opened in 1868, yet due to competition from the Severn & Wye Railway who had also gained access to the collieries, traffic diminished on the Blakeney line and had closed altogether by 1949.
Maybe the fortunes of the Victoria and Travellers Rest were also linked with the failure of the Forest of Dean Central Railway. It maybe pure conjecture but the 1861 census gives enumeration to a Victoria beer house and the Act for the construction of the FoDCR was passed in 1856; could the promise of passengers on the proposed railway been an incentive to establish a licensed house nearby?
Landlords at the Victoria Inn include:
1861 Elizabeth Reynolds (Victoria beer house)
1869 John Williams
1870 Walter Williams
1891 John Houdley
1902,1903 Charles Taylor