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Shepherd Neame to rename The Black Boy pub in Sevenoaks after Black Lives Matter movement

One of Kent's largest brewers has announced it will rename one of its pubs in Sevenoaks in light of the recent global anti-racism protests.

Shepherd Neame says The Black Boy on Bank Street will soon become The Restoration, a name which instead focuses on its links to King Charles II.

The Black Boy, Sevenoaks. Picture: Peter Still
The Black Boy, Sevenoaks. Picture: Peter Still

The Faversham-based brewer made the decision saying its current name could be seen as unwelcoming to some of its customers.

In a statement on its website, the brewer said: "Shepherd Neame is committed to equality and diversity in every area of its business, and strives to create inclusive, welcoming pub environments for all customers to enjoy.

"After much deliberation, we have decided to seek consent from relevant authorities to change the name and provide new signage for The Black Boy in Sevenoaks. It was not a decision taken lightly, but we recognise that its current name is not potentially welcoming for all customers, and feel that it is the right thing to do.

"In order to reflect the pub’s long history, we have chosen to focus on its potential connection with King Charles II, and are therefore proposing to rename it The Restoration."

This is not the first time the town centre pub has had a name change. In previous years it has been known as Evergreens and the Bank Street Brasserie.

Shepherd Neame says the pub, which is one of the most historic in Kent, dates back to 1616 with some suggesting it was named after John Morockoe who worked at nearby Knole country house during the reign of James I.

The statement continued to say there are several other Black Boy pubs in the UK and many theories around where their names came.

Some say it could be linked to coal mining or chimney sweeps, or the nickname given to King Charles II due to his dark-hued skin and exile during Cromwell’s reign. It is believed that a number of pubs changed their name to The Black Boy to show their allegiance.

Since the death of George Floyd in the US, anti-racism protests have been happening globally, with several towns showing solidarity here in Kent.

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