View Full Version : The Pub Curmudgeon - What’s in a name?

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10-11-2013, 16:06
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In the past few years, a number of local pubs have been sold off into the free trade by the pub companies and family brewers. In many cases, with the aim of demonstrating a fresh start, the new owners have decided to change the name. Thus the Railway in Romiley became Platform One, the Board in Whaley Bridge the Drum and Monkey, the Flying Dutchman on Hillgate the Fairway and now the Pack Horse on Stockport Market Place the Cocked Hat.
This has divided opinion, with some people seeing it as a betrayal of tradition. However, I can’t really get too worked up about it. I can understand why the new owners want to draw a line under its former reputation, and the new name is at least an established pub name with a link to Stockport’s past association with the hatting industry. There is perhaps a better argument in favour of retaining unusual and distinctive names such as the Flying Dutchman. There was another example of this in Widnes a few years back where the possibly unique Angel & Elephant became the depressingly mundane Appleton Arms (and is now closed anyway).
At least the once commonplace fad of giving old pubs new “trendy” names such as Sippers, Jesters or Marilyns now seems to have died the death – along, sadly, with many of the pubs given this treatment, like the old Manchester Arms in Stockport which eventually ended up as Cobdens.
And, if you do rename your pub, you run the risk that for decades people will continue to refer to it as “you know, what used to be the Pack Horse”. Plus, sometimes new names simply do not stick, so a few years later the pub quietly reverts to its original identity, as we saw with the Dog & Partridge in Heaton Mersey which had a spell as the Mersey Vale.

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