Greene King to change pub names with 'racist connotations'

15 January 2021 by
Greene King to change pub names with 'racist connotations'

Greene King is to rename four of its pubs due to concerns that the existing names having 'racist connotations'.

The brewer and pub company is renaming the Black's Head in Wirksworth and three sites called the Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Shinfield.

An online poll will be held to allow local community groups to vote on new names from a list of suggestions.

Greene King has vowed to improve its diversity and inclusion policies after it emerged last year that its founder Benjamin Greene, who launched the company in 1799, profited from the slave trade.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive at Greene King, said: "It is important to acknowledge our history, but just as important to work proactively to eradicate racism in our society today.

"We have looked at pub deeds and consulted with colleagues, and while the origins of these pub names are obscure, what is clear is that there is a perception that they are linked with racism today and we want to make this positive change for the better."

The company said that while the pub name ‘Black Boy' exists throughout the country, there is no consensus on its origins and many of those consulted felt the name to be offensive and discriminatory.

Mackenzie said: "We know this is a decision that will attract a range of views and we're conscious of the history and heritage of pub names. We've thought long and hard and feel this is the right thing to do as it is incredibly important to us that our pubs are warm and welcoming places for everyone as we continue on our journey to become a truly anti-racist organisation."

In 2020, Greene King pledged to significantly invest in initiatives to support more young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to begin a career in hospitality.

It also created an employee-led group called Unity to represent Black, Asian and minority ethic groups across its workforce. Unity was consulted on the pub names.

Greene King runs more than 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland.

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