Locals rage as 17th century pub called ‘The Black Bitch’ after dog to be renamed

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Hundreds of pub enthusiasts have demanded that chain Greene King stop its plans to change the name of the Linlithgow, West Lothian, pub The Black Bitch to the Black Hound

The Black Bitch is getting a new name
The Black Bitch is getting a new name

Apoplectic boozers have demanded a pub scrap plans to change the name of their local.

Major pub chain Greene King has announced it will rename Linlithgow boozer The Black Bitch to The Black Hound.

The pub chain says it is doing so as part of its commitment to being an “anti-racist organisation”, the Daily Record reported.

But hundreds of locals had yesterday signed a petition demanding the pub keep its original name, which has long been a nickname for townsfolk and symbolises a well-known local legend dating back to at least the 17th century.

One resident said: “I’m a Black Bitch and proud to be one.”

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One punter called the name-change “bureaucracy gone mad”
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A race forum from the West Lothian community, which was consulted on the name-change, has argued in favour of the name change.

A spokesperson for the group said it was “the right thing to do” for 21st century Scotland.

The Black Bitch name is associated with the town’s coat of arms, which portrays the legend of a greyhound who saved his master when he was sentenced to starve to death on an island in Linlithgow loch.

Greene King said it worked with a number of groups and organisations before making its decision and undertook independent research, which revealed many punters would no longer feel comfortable visiting the pub under its current name.

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

But an online petition, called Stop the Black Bitch Pub Name Change, had gathered more than 800 signatures on Wednesday.

One local, Betty Scott, 74, said the name change was “bureaucracy gone mad”.

She said: “I don’t see any reason to change it. I’m a Black Bitch and proud to be one.”

Lesley MacArthur, 55, said: “Its our history. Changing from a bitch to hound is sexist too.”

Simon Law added: “It’s political correctness gone mad. They don’t understand the story behind it and are obviously ignorant of local history.”

But Abel Aboh, chair of the West Lothian Community Race Forum, said the name was no longer welcomed by all.

He said: “As a local person who lives in West Lothian, I can remember how I felt the first time when I saw it and every time I go down that particular road, that feeling never changes.

“We believe as a forum that the name of the pub should be changed in response to ensuring that it signals inclusion and diversity.

“That is what West Lothian is all about and we have seen all kinds of people from all walks of life living and working in West Lothian.

“Linlithgow is one of the oldest towns in the area and we know that name has always had a historical connotation but we need to reflect on what is going on now and ask if the name is reflective diversity, inclusion and equality today – the things you and I need in 21st century Scotland.

“For that reason we felt the name fell short. We are just hoping everyone can embrace the new name.”

The pub title is the fifth Greene King have changed in 2021 after they decided to rename three pubs called The Black Boy and another called The Black’s Head.

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

“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.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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