copy of press release issued by Greene King January 2021
GREENE KING TO ASK FOR COMMUNITY HELP IN CHOOSING NEW NAME FOR THE BLACK BOY IN SHINFIELD
Greene King is to hold a public vote on selecting a new name for The Black Boy pub in Shinfield, as it believes the name has racist connotations. There will be an online poll shortly, so the community can pick from a list of suggestions for the pub.
The decision to change the name follows detailed consultation with a range of stakeholders and researching the pubs’ histories, plus consulting with the Barons Pub Company, which leases the pub from Greene King.
Clive Price, Managing Director of Barons Pub Company said: “As a company we support Greene King’s move to change the name of The Black Boy. We looked at a proposed name change previously in 2017 when we took over the running of the pub and following local consultations it was decided the timing was not right then.
“However, times have changed in the light of global issues with racism and we appreciate Greene King’s proactive move to change a number of ‘Black Boy’ pub names across the country. We hope a name change will add to an even friendlier, inclusive and welcoming environment for our customers and we look forward to this positive move.”
While the pub name ‘Black Boy’ exists throughout the country, there is not a consensus on its origins and many of those consulted felt the name to be offensive and discriminatory.
Nick Mackenzie, Greene King CEO, 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, 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.
“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.
“We’re keen to involve local people in this project and look forward to working with them to choose a new and inclusive name for these pubs so they remain at the heart of communities.”
The renaming of this pub is part of Greene King’s inclusion and diversity strategy to champion equality and diversity within the company and increase support for people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
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. As a result of this, last August, Greene King strengthened its partnership with the Prince’s Trust with a new five-year agreement, increasing funding by a third and pledging to create 1,000 opportunities for young people and an increased financial commitment to the charity linked to the diversity aims.
An employee-led group called Unity has also been created that represents Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and is formed from representatives across Greene King with the aim of creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Last October also saw the launch of a year-long partnership between Greene King and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool to raise awareness and educate about the historic transatlantic slave trade.
Greene King is also looking to rename two other pubs called The Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, as well as a pub called The Blacks Head in Wirksworth.