Greene King renames pubs with ‘racist connotations’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Locals perspective: Suffolk-based brewer and pubco Greene King is consulting with communities to decide on the new names for the four pubs
Locals perspective: Suffolk-based brewer and pubco Greene King is consulting with communities to decide on the new names for the four pubs

Related tags Greene king Social responsibility Pubco + head office Tenanted + leased

Pubco and brewer Greene King has announced it plans to relabel a number of pubs in its portfolio due to the existing names having racist connotations.

These pubs include the Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk alongside two other pubs of the same name in Sudbury also in Suffolk and Shinfield in Berkshire as well as the Black’s Head in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

The pubco is asking communities to rename the pubs via an online poll and stated the decision to change the names is part of its inclusion and diversity strategy in a bid to champion equality and diversity within the firm alongside further supporting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Greene King said the name change followed detailed consultations with a range of stakeholders and thorough research of the pubs’ histories.

It added while the pub name ‘Black Boy’ exists throughout the nation, there is not a consensus of its origins and many of those consulted felt the name was discriminatory and offensive.

Eradicating racism

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie said: “It is important to acknowledge our history but just as important to work proactively to eradicate racism in our society today.

“We have looked at pub deeds, consulted with colleagues and while the origins of these pub names are obscure, what is clear is there is a perception they are linked with racism today and we want to make this positive change for the better.

“We know this is a decision that will attract a range of views and we are conscious of the history and heritage of pub names.

“We have thought long and hard and fell this is the right thing to do as it is incredibly important to us our pubs are warm and welcoming places for everyone as we continue on our journey to become a truly anti-racist organisation.

“We are keen to involve local people in this project and look forward to working with them to choose a new and inclusive name for these pubs so they remain at the heart of communities.”

Significant investment

Greene King also highlighted how last year, it pledged to “significantly invest” in programmes supporting more young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to begin a career in the trade.

As a result, the pubco strengthened its partnership with the Prince’s Trust with a new, five-year agreement, growing funding by a third and pledging to create 1,000 opportunities for young people alongside an increased financial commitment to the charity linked to diversity aims.

An employee-led group named Unity has also been set up that represents black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and is formed from representatives across Greene King with the hope of creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Views from this group were sought as part of the company’s consultation on how the names were perceived.

Last year (September), Greene King also revealed it would be working with Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum​ in a bid to raise awareness of the historic transatlantic slave trade.

It meant Greene King offered financial support for the National Museums Liverpool’s Black History Month programme throughout October.

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