The Independent

Pub’s ‘racist’ name changed despite dogged opposition


A 350-year-old pub in West Lothian, Scotland has been given permission to change its name from The Black Bitch over growing fears that the name could be seen as racist.

Owners Greene King will now rename the pub to The Willow Tree following a public consultati­on, despite facing backlash from local residents.

More than 11,000 people from the local community signed a petition to stop the name change and some 500 objections were submitted.

Greene King had to approach the government for help after a decision to rename the pub was previously deferred by West Lothian Council.

The pub’s name comes from a local legend about a black dog, which features on the town’s heraldic crest, that brought food to its starving owner. A statue commemorat­ing the legend still stands in the town centre today.

According to government reporter Elspeth Cook, who is involved with approving plans for listed building and advertisin­g consent, there are no grounds to refuse plans to change the historic name as the name has “no direct connection to the event”.

The pub has had two names prior to The Black Bitch – The Western Tavern and Robert Braes Wine and Spirits.

“As a result, I do not consider the name of the business is an integral element of the historic interest of these buildings,” said Ms Cook.

The West Lothian History and Amenity Society said the term “black bitch” had been associated with the town for over 700 years, with natives of Linlithgow “proud” to be known as “black bitches”.

They said: “The term describes a female canine, rightly called a bitch which is black in colour – nothing offensive, no misogyny involved.”

The society added that Greene King had “jumped to the wrong conclusion­s” and “read something into the name which does not exist”.

Linlithgow Civic Trust added: “According to their managing director, Greene King is on a journey to become a truly antiracist organisati­on and has already changed the names of a few of their public houses in England on the grounds that the names have racist connotatio­ns.”

However, the chain appears to have no plans to change the names of other pubs called The Black Horse or The Black Bull, concluded the trust.

Want your views to be included in The Independen­t Daily Edition letters page? Email us by tapping here letters@independen­ Please include your address

 ?? (Goog l e Maps) ?? More than 11,000 locals have signed a petition to prevent The Black Bitch being renamed
(Goog l e Maps) More than 11,000 locals have signed a petition to prevent The Black Bitch being renamed

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom