A cup of tea with… where we sit down and chat with those who make Victoria what it is. People with a passion for Victoria, people who live here, work here, know the area, its history and its future better than anyone else.
This month, we were invited by Matthew Drinkwater General Manager of The Nadler Victoria, an affordable luxury hotel just a few steps away from Buckingham Palace.
How long have you worked in Victoria?
About three and a half years, however I’ve been here at Nadler Victoria for five months. Prior to that I was working close to Green Park. I have known the area for a while now as I have always travelled in and out of Victoria. I have been visiting the area for quite a while now.
What was the biggest change here you’ve experienced since then?
I think the biggest change and the most obvious, has to be Nova building and the development there. Previously it used to be a street of cafe’s and small shops along the road, to suddenly a bustling hub of people.
I remember the first month Nova opened, it went from being a relatively quiet area on a Thursday and Friday night, to being full of people streaming out of bars and restaurants in the area. It has been an instant overnight success in comparison to some other areas of London, where you see this type of development grow over a slow period of time.
What is your favorite spot in Victoria?
I think my favorite spot would have to be Timmy Green’s. We work quite closely with them, we send guests to them quite a lot, for breakfast, lunches and dinners. Also if we take any of our clients out for meals or drinks, we tend to head to Timmy Green’s because of the great, food, atmosphere and service delivered by Steven and his team.
And if you could change one thing in Victoria, what would it be?
It would be nice to have the building works completely finished, to be honest. It just feels like the area is one big building site, especially for us with the Northacre development at No.1 Palace Street.
I think the works are now a lot closer to completion. They’ve now brought in the big crane, so apparently it’s going to fly up over the next few months. I believe the crane installation was delayed, So now it’s up, hopefully things should speed up.
I think once completed it will help grow the Victoria area even further, but unfortunately for now it is just a building site.
What’s your favorite story you have experienced yourself or that you have heard?
I think it’s a pretty long list! However my favourite is going back to Dickensian times with the creation of Victoria Street in order to break up the area known as Devil’s Acre, where the slums of London were at their absolute worst.
This is what Victoria street was designed to do, to plough through that area and to rid the area of the slums. I find it interesting, an area so close to the palace became one of the worst slums of London.
What’s your message for the people out there in Victoria?
I think we still need to keep some of our identity and community. Whilst we need and appreciate that it’s great there are lots of new developments, however you can see, a lot of the smaller businesses are starting to suffer. So as a community we still need to support the smaller businesses in the area, not just the big developments coming in. If you look along Buckingham Palace Road, some of the smaller shops and cafes that have been here for quite a long time are starting to close.
They were doing well when Nova was being developed from the builders and related works, however now Nova is here they’re starting to go. I think we need to protect them, we’re a community and always were a community here in Victoria. If we allow them to go, some of the community feel will be lost.
What is the biggest issue or challenge Victoria is facing in the future?
I think Victoria needs to be clear about its identity. I think if you look at various other successful regeneration areas of London they know exactly what they are and who they’re appealing to. I think Victoria is still trying to understand what it is. It’s got the new developments coming in which are great, but it still doesn’t have its own draw outside of the palace. You go to Shoreditch and you know what you’re going to get there. You go up to St James’s or Mayfair and you know the what to expect there, I think Victoria just needs to establish what it is.
What’s your favorite lunchtime spot?
I quite like the Thursday Market round in Cardinal Place. It is nice to see something different come into the area. Working in the area you get the same places every day but actually, if you go there on Thursday you can try different street food as they are on a rotating basis.
It’s something that is growing in popularity, you only have to look out to the reaches of Shoreditch and Croydon (soon to be Wembley), where you’ve got Box-Park, a permanent home for street food vendors. Also, If you go towards Soho you’ve got the street market there at Rupert Street. So it’s nice to see that in Victoria, it would be nice to see more of it to be honest. Street food is becoming more and more popularBack to our news Top