Black Bitch protestors consider community buyout to save Linlithgow pub's name

Protestors are considering crowdfunding a community buy-out of The Black Bitch tavern in Linlithgow to stop current owners Greene King changing its name.

The ‘Hands Off Our History’ rally, held at Linlithgow Cross on Saturday. Photo by  Angus Laing.
The ‘Hands Off Our History’ rally, held at Linlithgow Cross on Saturday. Photo by Angus Laing.

The Black Bitch has been serving drinkers since the 17th century. But Greene King have ruled that the ancient name is “racist” and want to rebrand it with something less offensive, like The Black Hound or The Wearie Drover.

However, protest organiser Alistair Old said: “If Greene King was amenable to selling the pub, we would start looking seriously at crowdfunding for a community buyout so we could retain the name.

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“We've not gone any further at the moment because they've said that's not in their plans, so we're waiting to find out exactly what their plans are, apart from changing the name.

Alastair Old pictured at the protest last weekend. Photo by Angus Laing.

“If the company persists with this ridiculous behaviour, not only will its customer base in Linlithgow substantially reduce, but its reputation for being unapproachable and uncaring will far outweigh any impression of being seen as welcoming or inclusive.

“If they call it anything other than The Black Bitch they'll basically kill the pub.”

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He said many natives of the royal burgh, who proudly call themselves ‘Black Bitches’ were threatening to boycott the bar if the controversial name change went ahead. He also said One Linlithgow, which represents over 200 businesses in Linlithgow (including The Black Bitch), had unanimously rejected the name change plan.

In addition, 11,400 people had signed a petition opposing the name change.

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Murdoch Kennedy speaking at the event.

A Greene King spokesman said: “We’re changing the name as there are people who find it offensive as language has evolved. We are seeking to work with local people on a new name.”

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Fiona Hyslop MSP at the event. Photo by Angus Laing
The ‘Hands Off Our History’ rally, held at Linlithgow Cross on Saturday to oppose the proposed name-change by the brewers Greene King of the Black Bitch tavern in the town, on the basis that the name is racially-offensive. Photo by Angus Laing.
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Photo by Angus Laing