Greene King face boycott for renaming 'The Black Bitch' in Linlithgow

Furious pub locals vow to boycott ALL Greene King boozers and beers in protest over renaming of 17th century inn The Black Bitch to The Willow Tree

  • Protesters argue the pub’s name celebrates part of the history of Linlithgow
  • ‘The Black Bitch’ is named after a local myth about a black hero greyhound 
  • According to legend, the dog saved her owner’s life, and she is on the town crest
  • Locals have accused Greene King of ‘totally ignoring’ 12,000-name petition

Protesters fighting the name change of historic pub the Black Bitch have vowed to boycott owner Greene King’s pubs and beers – claiming it could cost jobs in the town.

The 17th century boozer, in Linlithgow, West Lothian, is being renamed The Willow Tree by the brewery over fears the historic name has racist connotations.

Furious locals staged a protest outside the pub yesterday and are outraged a petition signed by 12,000 people to keep the name has been ignored.

The pub was originally named after the local myth which told of a black greyhound who swam to an island in Linlithgow Loch to keep her stranded owner alive.

Alistair Old, spokesperson for the action group said they will boycott the brewery after it ‘refused to withdraw their assertion that the pub’s name is offensive’.

Protesters in Linlithgow, West Lothian, have vowed to boycott Greene King’s beers and pubs over its plan to rename 17th century inn The Black Bitch to The Willow Tree

According to local lore, ‘The Black Bitch’ dates back to the 17th century and was named after a black, female greyhound (pictured above) that forms part of the town’s crest

He said: ‘The fact that this company has totally ignored the 12,000 signature petition is further proof that this company came here with one thing in mind, the removal of the Black Bitch sign at all costs.

‘And there are costs, the damage to trade in the town for shops like Walkers carpets with their Black Bitch whisky glasses, the Wee Mindin and Lilypond crafts with their range of Black Bitch jewellery and quaiches.

‘These are just a small example of the many businesses in the town affected by this corporate bully’s actions in calling our Black Bitch offensive.

‘Potentially jobs and livelihoods could be affected in the longer term.

‘Greene King were bombarded with letters telling them there was no reason to change the name and that a name change would most probably lead to a boycott of their pubs in Linlithgow.

Its new name commemorates a tree which was planted in 1832 to commemorate the Reform bill, which introduced wide-ranging changes to the election laws of Scotland and gave more people the ability to vote

‘Their dogged determination to ignore the people of Linlithgow now means their former customers will vote with their feet and avoid their pubs and beers.

‘This is not something we do lightly, we know this could harm the trade of the tenant leaseholder in the short term.

‘But Greene King’s refusal to withdraw their assertion that the pub’s name is offensive and their determination to change the name, leaves those whose views are being ignored with no other option but to show their displeasure by boycotting Greene Kings pubs and beers.’

The Black Bitch name had referenced a local legend of a black, female greyhound that features on the town’s heraldic crest after it brought food to its starving owner who was imprisoned on an island on Linlithgow Loch

A Greene King spokesperson said: ‘We respect the proud history of Linlithgow and listened to community feedback about our original choice of name, which is why we’re now renaming our pub to The Willow Tree to mark another important piece of local heritage.

‘It has never been our intention to cause any upset but we cannot ignore that we’ve heard from many people, including people living in the town, who don’t feel comfortable with the existing name written on the front of a pub, even when the context is known.’

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