Saturday, 8 June 2013


I wish I had a different photo to put on here today, an angry, pissed off face instead of my handsome smiling one. 

I was sent a link today to a news story that bloody infuriated me. Here's the link, Please read this before you read the rest of this blog so that you know what I'm ranting about.

So, hopefully you've read the news report and you're annoyed about it too. Why do these people feel they have to change things? The pub sign is more than just a sign, it's part of a pubs' identity. They are works of art and also a history lesson.

The pub sign originated with the Roman invasion. In ancient Rome wine bars would hang vine branches outside their premises advertising their wares. When the Romans came to Britain there were very few vine branches to be had so they used the nearest thing to it, a bush. Hence The Bush, The Bull and Bush, the Ivy etc..

It was centuries later that the first proper pubs were seen and these were operated by religious houses (see our posts about The Boars Head, Middleton) to feed and water knights and pilgrims on their way to the crusades .

One famous such house is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham which was established in 1189 and purports to be the oldest pub in England. The Turks Head, The Saracens and The Lamb and Flag are all associated with this period in history (The lamb representing Christ and the flag the crusaders).

In the 16th century, after the dissolution of the monasteries, you might expect all religious association to cease, but it continued with The Mitre, The Ship (representing the ark) and The Anchor (the Christian faith).

Heraldry also plays an important part. The Black, White, Red and Golden Lions have all featured on the royal coat of arms since the Norman Conquest. The Unicorn was in the Scottish coat of arms. The Red Dragon in the Welsh, The Rising Sun was in the coat of arms of Edward III etc., etc..

In 1760, the Marquis of Granby commanded British cavalry at the battle of Warburg during the 7 years war. After the campaign he bought pubs for all his non-commissioned officers which bankrupted him and he died in 1770 leaving debts of £37000. Heaven knows how much that would be today. There are still lots of his pubs still operating.

I could go on and on, The White Horse, The Black Horse, The White Hart, The Square and Compass, The Shoulder of Mutton. Look 'em up. They all have meanings.

But now, thanks to Greene King, a lot of these famous old hostelries will be no more distinguishable that your local McDonalds. They'll all look the same and something special will be lost.

My message to Greene King?

WHY?      IF IT AIN'T BROKE........... DON'T FIX IT!!!!

Yeah! What he said.....

I really hope none of the pubs on our list are Greene King, I don't know what me dad will do...

How many years do you get for GBH nowadays?

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