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Pub could be forced to change its historic name because it's so offensive

Callum Jones

Published 
| Last updated 

Pub could be forced to change its historic name because it's so offensive

Plans to change the name of a pub in Scotland are set to be discussed by the Scottish Government as the 350-year old public house's name could be deemed as too offensive.

Owner Greene King announced in February it would change the name of the The Black Bitch Tavern in Linlithgow, West Lothian, to The Willow Tree after a public consultation.

The term ‘Black Bitch’ has been associated with the town for more than 700 years, according to West Lothian History and Amenity Society, and it carries the name of a legendary black greyhound.

The Black Bitch Tavern is set for a name change due to its current one being too offensive. Credit: Angus McComiskey/Alamy Stock Photo
The Black Bitch Tavern is set for a name change due to its current one being too offensive. Credit: Angus McComiskey/Alamy Stock Photo

There's even a statue in the town to honour this historic name and the town's rich history.

Former SNP first minister Alex Salmond had been against Greene King's plan before the announcement was made on the name change in February.

Speaking last year, Salmond, the town native said: "Whoever they consulted on this silliness certainly wasn’t local where the name Black Bitch is borne with pride as showing awareness and respect for Lithgae’s rich history."

A petition to stop the name change - which has now been closed - brought in more than 11,000 signatures in a bid to stop the change from Greene King happening, which is rather impressive considering the town of Linlithgow has under 13,000 residents itself.

Greene King have reportedly gone to the government for full approval on the proposed name change after the local council deferred planning permission.

There's even a statue in Linlithgow to honour the history of the pub's name. Credit: Andy Arthur/Alamy Stock Photo
There's even a statue in Linlithgow to honour the history of the pub's name. Credit: Andy Arthur/Alamy Stock Photo

A statement on behalf of the brewery said it is not for West Lothian Council to control the name of the pub: "It was made clear to the council’s Development Management committee both within the officer report and verbally at committee that it is not for the council to control the name of the premises and that there are no planning grounds for either advertisement consent or listed building consent being refused on this basis.

"It was also made clear that Historic Environment Scotland had been consulted and have raised no objection."

In a statement to LADbible, a West Lothian Council spokesperson said: "At a meeting of the Development Management Committee in July, the committee voted to continue the two applications and requested that officers sought further information from Historic Environment Scotland regarding the listing of the building.

"The applications were due to reported back to the committee in September, but the applicant has now appealed against the non-determination of the applications to the DPEA (Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division).

"The decisions on the applications will now be made by a reporter appointed by the Scottish Government."

More than 11,000 people signed a petition to keep the pub's historic name. Credit: Google Maps
More than 11,000 people signed a petition to keep the pub's historic name. Credit: Google Maps

The Linlithgow Civic Trust has argued in a statement that there is 'nothing racist' about The Black Bitch and the name should not be changed.

It read: "It accurately describes a female canine with a black coat.

"We note that Greene appear to have no plans to change the names of their public houses called The Black Horse or The Black Bull."

Greene King is no stranger to implementing change as it has already changed the name of some of its pubs which were deemed as too offensive, including The Black Boy in Suffolk and The Black's Head in Derbyshire.

Featured Image Credit: Google/Geograph.co.uk

Topics: UK News

Callum Jones
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