Greene King ‘racist connotation’ pubs renamed

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Local opinion: Greene King sought views from the communities surrounding the four pubs on what the new monikers should be
Local opinion: Greene King sought views from the communities surrounding the four pubs on what the new monikers should be

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

More than 7,000 pubgoers have voted for new names at four Greene King pubs which had ‘racist connotations’.

The Suffolk-based pubco announced plans to relabel a number of pubs in its portfolio due to the existing names having racist connotations​ last month (January).

Greene King asked 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.

The 3,100-strong group said the name change followed detailed consultations with a range of stakeholders and thorough research of the pubs’ histories.

The Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk received 3,540 votes with almost three quarters (73%) choosing the West Gate.

Some 1,923 people voted on the name change for the Blacks Head in Wirksworth, Derbyshire with 44% voting for the new name to be the Quarryman.

Obscure origins

More than 900 residents near the Black Boy in Shinfield, Berkshire were involved in choosing the pub’s new name and just over half (51%) picked the Shinfield Arms with 470 votes.

Sudbury pubgoers cast their votes on the Black Boy and 43% of the 760 plumped for the new moniker for the Suffolk venue to be the Lady Elizabeth.

Greene King Pub Partners managing director Wayne Shurvinton said: “We’d like to thank the more than 7,000 people who have taken part in these votes and who contributed to our community consultations to help find new names for these four pubs.

“Despite the obscure origins of the pubs’ previous names, from the reach we carried out it was clear there was a perception today the old names were linked with racism, which is why we knew we had to take this step if we wanted to continue on our journey to become a truly anti-racist organisation.

“Once we took the decision to change the names, we wanted to involve local people in choosing new and inclusive names for these pubs, so they remain at the heart of the communities.

“We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who voted and helped us choose new names that continue to reflect the history and heritage of each pub but also ensure they are places where everyone can feel welcome.”

Significant investment

Greene King previously 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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