Historic Linlithgow pub to change its name from 'The Black Bitch' over 'racist connotations'

The Black Bitch pub in Linlithgow is changing its name due to "racist and offensive connotations".

The Greene King chain, that owns the pub, has announced plans to change its name to The Black Hound, despite a petition to keep the name.

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, the pub will be moving to a more “inclusive" name as part of its commitment to being an “anti-racist organisation”.

It is the fifth pub name Greene King have changed in 2021 after they renamed three pubs called The Black Boy and another called The Black’s Head..

Google maps image of The Black Bitch pub

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A planning application is now set to be submitted to the local council to physically change the name written on the pub sign, although the sign is set to remain.

A petition named Stop the Black Bitch Pub Name Change, has since gained more than 2,500 signatures.

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Greene King operations manager for Scotland, Paul Wishart, told BBC Scotland's Drivetime that language had changed, so it was appropriate to change the pub's name.

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He said: "To put it into context, you wouldn't call a new business today The Black Bitch.

"We know that name was not originally racist or offensive. But its meaning over time has changed.

"The grouping of those two words together can be deemed, in today's language, as racist and offensive."

CEO Nick Mackenzie said: “This is an important decision to take but we feel strongly that it is the right one.

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“We are well-aware of the pub’s history and where the name originates and so we are choosing a new name that still reflects the pub’s history and will look to retain the coat of arms and images on the pub’s sign.

“We have spent many months reviewing and discussing this as we understand that changing this name will attract a range of views, but as part of our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation we want our pub names to be welcoming and inclusive and that means taking action when there is a need to make a positive change for the better.”

Last year the John Newland Festival in Bathgate came under fire last year due to its ties with slave and plantation owner, John Newland.