Greene King to rename pubs over ‘links to racism’
The UK pub chain announced it would rebrand three venues currently called The Black Boy – in Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury in Suffolk, and Shinfield in Berkshire – as well as the Black’s Head in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, due to their “potentially offensive connotations”.
The move comes after the company’s historic links to slavery were exposed through a University College London (UCL) database of slave profiteers in June last year. That prompted Greene King to pledge it would make “substantial investment” in black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) communities as part of anti-racism efforts in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
Bosses said the racial origins of four pubs’ names had not been definitively confirmed but the rebrand is to go ahead nonetheless as part of a bid to make the company a “truly anti-racist organisation”.
Nick Mackenzie, Greene King’s chief executive since 2019, said it was important to acknowledge the chain’s “history” but acknowledged it was “just as important to work proactively to eradicate racism in our society today”.
“We have looked at pub deeds, consulted with colleagues and while the origins of these pub names are obscure,” he said on Friday, “and 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”.
“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,” he added.