The Rose and Crown. Flower Power? What’s in a name?

I went to a Nadfas lecture today on the history – and the present – of pub signs, which was really entertaining.  The lecturer was very good – and I thought of a sideline, that I didn’t raise in questions after the lecture, but would have if I’d been on the committee (no more committees for me, just now) and taken him for lunch – that is, nicknames for pubs.

Come on, darlings, signing in for comments is off, so if you have any funnies, let’s ‘av ’em.

I can start with a few.

The Lady of the Lake in Oulton Broad was always known as The Bitch in the Ditch (yes, I know.  Sorry)

The Black Swan, down the road at Homersfield, is the Mucky Duck.

I can’t remember its original name and it’s now an American-style diner, but there was a pub in Boringland (starts with a P but pfft) that was always known as Old Grumpy’s, after the landlord, so its name was changed to that.

More, please?

14 comments on “The Rose and Crown. Flower Power? What’s in a name?

  1. Kipper

    I remember years ago Antiques Roadshow U.K. Had a lady whose late husband had designed pub signs. The drawings were great and the appraiser and lady agreed that the era of pub signs was fading away.

  2. tim

    I rarely go to pubs nowadays, never frequently enough to learn or remember their nicknames. But I do remember that the Union bar at Leeds University, in 1960-63, was universally known as Fred’s, after its manager and head barman. He cultivated a curmudgeonly image, which was a smart move when dealing with rampant students, but Fred would usually have four or five pints of Tetley’s mild lined up ready for when we stalwarts rolled in at six o’clock. Does that count?
    Sorry, this should probably have been a blog post – and may well end up as one. You’ve triggered a memory track.

  3. PixieMum

    A quote from Wild about Twickenham ” previously known as the Queens Head hotel, due to the owners weird or you could say barmy tradition of assembling their Christmas tree upside down it was renamed the Barmy Arms in the 1970s ”
    (Punctuation as in work quoted)

    I had never heard of the Christmas tree story, another older book by a local historian remarks the Queen’s Head was serving the waterman in the 17th century; it is now known as the Barmy Arms, a longstanding local name for it.

    It was my understanding that the queen’s head was upside down on the signboard but I cannot find documentary evidence for this and we need to start getting organised as son, Daughter in law and grandson are coming to stay tomorrow evening and we are not prepared.

  4. tim

    And there’s the Jamaica Wine House off Cornhill, London’s first coffee house, frequented by Pepys and, more recently, City traders (and, occasionally in the 70s, me) and known to all its regulars as The Jampot.

  5. mago

    There was a “Caffè” here that was allowed to be open (nearly) all night, called “Caffè Ludwig”. It was known as “Caffè Lutschmich” in town.

  6. mago

    In my ill-spent youth I sometimes visited a shabby Weinstube called “Zum Häcker” run by a very old landlord and his sisters. It was also known as “Zur fröhlichen Wanze”, the jolly bug …

    BTW the ancient landlord was really an astonishing man. One evening a friend and me saied some French words. He heard it, sat down and started to converse with my friend in French. He had learned it as a prisoner of war in WWI. This happened 1979 or 1980.
    Their choice of wines was excellent.

  7. Z Post author

    Apparently, traditional painted signs only last about five years because the paint fades in the sun. And thank you, darlings, brilliant!

  8. Mike and Ann Horner.

    There was a pub somewhere up near you called the Tumbledown Dick. It was named after Richard Cromwell (Oliver’s son). After Oliver Cromwell died in 1660, Richard took power, but not for long. Charles II returned and took the throne , after 100 days (I think), and Richard Cromwell retired into private life (he lived long though). The pub sign with his portrait on was found in an outhouse of the Tumbledown Dick around 1970 (I think), but disappeared soon afterwards.

    Do you remember any of this? I only remember it vaguely.

    1. Z Post author

      Yes, Russell used to know the man who lived there, it was somewhere near Beccles, I think. Not sure if it was still a pub by then. He’d know. Too late, of course.

  9. Lucie

    I live at a pub – The Greyhound in Botesdale. Nothing unusual there but the picture is of a spaniel, Elvis, the owner’s dog. It has been featured in the Daily Mail’s spotted column and often raises comments from visitors to the village.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.