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Greene King reveals new names for The Black Boy pubs in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury after thousands vote in online polls




New names have been revealed for two historic pubs in Suffolk after thousands of people voted in online polls.

The Black Boy pubs in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury have been renamed following concerns by owner Greene King about their 'racist' connotations with residents given the chance to choose new names from a shortlist.

The Bury St Edmunds pub will now be known as The West Gate and the Sudbury pub, on Market Hill, will be called The Lady Elizabeth.

The Black Boy, in Bury St Edmunds, will be called The West Gate. Picture: Mark Westley
The Black Boy, in Bury St Edmunds, will be called The West Gate. Picture: Mark Westley

The West Gate is significant as the pub, in Guildhall Street, is built close to where the town’s old West Gate once stood and towards the back of the pub are remnants of the old town wall which used to join up to the West Gate.

The Lady Elizabeth is named after Lady Elizabeth de Burgh, who in the 14th century invested in creating the Market Hill.

New names were also chosen for The Black Boy, in Shinfield, which is now called The Shinfield Arms and The Blacks Head, in Wirksworth, which is now The Quarryman.

The Black Boy, in Sudbury, will be renamed to The Lady Elizabeth. Picture: Google
The Black Boy, in Sudbury, will be renamed to The Lady Elizabeth. Picture: Google

Wayne Shurvinton, Greene King Pub Partners managing director, said: "We’d like to thank the more than 7,000 people who have taken part in these votes and who contributed to our community consultations to help find new names for these four pubs.

"Despite the obscure origins of the pubs’ previous names, from the research we carried out it was clear that there was a perception today that the old names were linked with racism, which is why we knew we had to take this step if we wanted to continue on our journey to become a truly anti-racist organisation.

"Once we took the decision to change the names, we wanted to involve local people in choosing new and inclusive names for these pubs, so they remain at the heart of their communities.

"We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who voted and helped us choose new names that continue to reflect the history and heritage of each pub but also ensure that they are places where everyone can feel welcome."

From the research we carried out it was clear that there was a perception today that the old names were linked with racism, which is why we knew we had to take this step - Wayne Shurvinton

The decision to rename the pubs prompted a wide-ranging reaction with many questioning and others praising the decision.

The results of the votes from the shortlists of names were:

The Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds (3,540 votes cast)

  • The West Gate with 2,580 votes (73%)
  • The Thomas Clarkson with 642 votes (18%)
  • The Abbot with 171 votes (5%)
  • The Saint Edmund with 147 votes (4%)

The Black Boy in Sudbury (760 votes cast)

  • The Lady Elizabeth with 324 votes (43%)
  • The Market Inn with 297 votes (39%)
  • The Coach & Horses with 139 votes (18%)

The Blacks Head in Wirksworth (1,923 votes cast)

  • The Quarryman with 839 votes (44%)
  • The Gilkin with 609 votes (32%)
  • The Market Tavern with 475 votes (24%)

The Black Boy in Shinfield (913 votes cast):

  • The Shinfield Arms with 470 votes (51%)
  • The King’s Rest with 225 votes (25%)
  • The Merry Monarch with 218 votes (24%)

Greene King said it is likely to take a few months to change the signs at each pub because of the timescales required for the necessary planning permissions to carry out work on the buildings.

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