A 500-YEAR-OLD Shinfield pub has officially applied to have its name changed due to 'racist connotations'.

Greene King, the owners of The Black Boy pub, have applied to rename it The Shinfield Arms.

The pub chain chose to rename The Black Boy pub because of its ‘racist connotations’, therefore, the name change hopes to champion equality and diversity within the company and further support people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

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.

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Back in January, Greene King's chief executive said there is a 'perception that the pub's linked with racism today'. 

Nick Mackenzie said: "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."

Before the name is changed for good, Greene King must receive advertising consent from Wokingham Borough Council.

The plan involves putting the new name on the pub itself and changing its two road signs. The designs have been drawn up by Ashleigh Signs.

The application was received and validated on Monday, April 12 and a public consultation will end on Saturday, May 15.

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The Black Boy name history

According to the pub's website, there are around 70 inns and pubs in the UK with the name “The Black Boy”, “The Blackboy” or similar. There are many theories as to the origin of the name, the three most credible include:

Mining Links

There is a theory that some Black Boy pubs originally had links to the mining industry and the name referred to the coal-blackened child miners who worked in them.

This is however, unlikely for our particular Black Boy pub, because the Reading area is not known as a traditional coal mining heartland.

King Charles II

Another theory states that the name refers to King Charles II.

Charles was nicknamed “Black Boy” by his mother, Henrietta Maria of France because of his dark hair and complexion and colloquially became known as “The Black Boy” by his Royalist supporters.

Many Black Boy pubs also carry his portrait on their pub signs.

Tobacco Links

The third theory states that the name has links to the early tobacco industry in England.

When tobacco was first introduced and sold in Europe through shops that sold tobacco, pipes would identify their trade by placing a figure of a Native American outside their premises.

This would usually be a wooden carving with a headdress and skirt often made of tobacco leaves and later holding a bunch of cigars in an outstretched hand.

The figures became known as “Black Boys” or “Virginians”, possibly as they were preserved by being painted with tar.