Greene King renames Black Bitch pub due to ‘offensive and racist connotations’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

New name: Greene King announced the pub will now be called the Black Hound
New name: Greene King announced the pub will now be called the Black Hound

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Pubco and brewer Greene King has announced plans to change the name of one of its pubs in Linlithgow, West Lothian as the name now carries offensive and racist connotations, the company said.

The Black Bitch dates back to the seventeenth century and was originally named for a black, female greyhound, which features on the town’s heraldic crest. It also symbolises a well-known local legend of a hunting dog that saved its master’s life.

Greene King said while back then, the name was not racist or seen as offensive, the way language has now evolved means the name carries a different meaning.

Company consultations

The businesses consulted with a number of internal and external groups and organisations including the West Lothian Community Race Forum.

It also undertook independent research, which revealed many people would not feel welcome going to a pub with that name, even if they knew where the name came from and so, the pub will be called the Black Hound.

A planning application will be submitted to the local council to physically change the name written on the pub sign.

Reviews and discussions

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie said: “This is an important decision to take but we feel strongly 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.

“We have spent many months reviewing and discussing this as we understand 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 welcome and inclusive and that means taking action when there is a need to make a positive change for the better.”

Greene King first announced plans to rename pubs with “racist connotations” in January​ this year, which the pubco said the change followed detailed discussions with a range of stakeholders and thorough research of the pubs’ histories.

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