View Full Version : The Pub Curmudgeon - A licensed rabbit warren

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29-07-2012, 14:01
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I recently dug out my copy of the 1979 Good Beer Guide to look for early examples of “beer exhibition” pubs, and was reminded of the classic description of the Victoria Hotel in St Annes on the Fylde coast - then a Boddingtons tied house - as “Unspoilt Victorian building, resembling a licensed rabbit warren”. I’ve never been there, and it doesn’t appear in more recent editions, so I thought I would look into what had become of it. It’s still there, and can be seen on Google StreetView here (https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Saint+Anne%27s+FY8+3NE&hl=en&ll=53.756082,-3.019845&spn=0.008436,0.022724&sll=52.8382,-2.327815&sspn=8.830698,23.269043&oq=fy8+3ne&t=h&hnear=St+Anne%27s,+FY8+3NE,+United+Kingdom&z=16&layer=c&cbll=53.756024,-3.019684&panoid=JIgmf8iRMytBKfPVSKuXew&cbp=13,346.44,,0,-6.63) – a rather magnificent late-Victorian edifice, perhaps grander than I had imagined it from the GBG description. Here is a description of its history (http://www.amounderness.co.uk/victoria_hotel,_church_road,_st.annes-on-the-sea.html). As it doesn’t appear on CAMRA’s National Inventory (http://www.heritagepubs.org.uk/home/home.asp) of historic pub interiors I assume the “licensed rabbit warren” element has been subject to substantial gutting.
It appears that it has recently been the subject of a planning application by McCarthy & Stone to demolish it and build retirement flats on the site (http://www.lythamstannesexpress.co.uk/news/local/battle-to-save-the-vic-as-decision-day-looms-1-3996144). It is exactly the type of pub on a large site in a suburban residential area that has been most vulnerable to redevelopment in recent years. It’s probably the only pub within walking distance for many local residents, but that is no guarantee of success. However, there is a happy ending – the local council have refused planning permission (http://www.fylde.gov.uk/news/2012/jun/220612victoria/) for the redevelopment. Let’s hope it can enjoy future success as a pub.
Interestingly, there is no mention of food being served in the 1979 Guide, although you would now think that would be essential to its success. How times change.

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