Fury after 'racist' pub 'The Black Bitch' renamed by Greene King bosses

2 December 2021, 12:28

The 350 year old pub is set for a name change after racism concerns were raised
The 350 year old pub is set for a name change after racism concerns were raised. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A historic pub called 'The Black Bitch' is set for a name change as the owners say they are committed "to being an anti-racist" establishment.

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Located in Linlithgow, Scotland, The Black Bitch is the oldest pub in the area with its name deriving from a folklore tale about a black dog.

But the 17th century pub is set to undergo a rebrand and will now be called 'The Black Hound' after Greene King bosses feared the name could offend punters.

But the move has been met with criticism from locals who say the name is part of Linlithgow's history with the folklore tale being embedded in the town for over 350 years.

According to local legend, a black greyhound's master was imprisoned on an island in the middle of Linlithgow Loch, tied to a tree and sentenced to starve to death.

Everyday the greyhound swam out to her master with food, but once caught in the act, the black greyhound was taken to another island, where she too was tied to a tree.

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Caller thinks offensive pub name important to local history

The black dog even has her own statue in the centre of the historic Scottish town and features on the town's coat of arms. 

Greene King's CEO Nick Mackenzie said Greene King is an "anti-racist organisation" and that whilst the new name "still reflects the pub's history" it is more "welcoming and inclusive".

But furious residents have now created a petition in a bid to stop the boozer chasing its name with the organiser writing: "Petition to stop the name of The Black Bitch Pub Linlithgow being changed as it is seemingly offensive!

"This is part of the Linlithgow History and one of the oldest pubs in Scotland! Bitch is a reference to the black greyhound dog which is part of our local history!"

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Staff member at offensively named pub responds to proposals for change

The Change.org petition has 2,754 signatures at the time of writing.

Commenting on the move, Greene King's CEO Nick Mackenzie said: "This is an important decision to take but we feel strongly that it is the right one. 

"We are well aware of the pub's history and where the name originates and so we are choosing a new name that still reflects the pub's history and will look to retain the coat of arms and images on the pub's sign.

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"We have spent many months reviewing and discussing this as we understand that changing this name will attract a range of views, but as part of our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation we want our pub names to be welcoming and inclusive and that means taking action when there is a need to make a positive change for the better."

Greene King have already changed the names of other pubs in England with potentially offensive names.

Three pubs called The Black Boy and another called The Black’s Head were given new names.

It comes after Sheffield council confirmed racist street names will not be replaced.