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PalenQ Mar 28th, 2011 07:42 AM

Britain Has Over 600 Red Lion Pubs...What is a Red Lion?
The other day on Coronation Street, the long running popular British soap, it was said that 'Britain has over 600 Red Lion pubs and who has ever seen a red lion?"

Well this got me to thinking what the heck is a red lion? The Scottish symbol? No it turns out and this site explains what it really stems from...

The inn-significance of the Red Lion | ZythophileDec 5, 2007 ... Here's what the ISS says about the Red Lion, often claimed to be the commonest pub name in Britain (though at around 650 examples it is ...


I wonder if this is the msot common pub name in Britain?

PatrickLondon Mar 28th, 2011 07:58 AM

I wish I could remember. I've been in the Queen's Arms, though - and the Bricklayer's.

Kate Mar 28th, 2011 08:03 AM

I'm not sure there's a single reason for the red lion, I suspect it's simply the fact that it so commonly appears of heraldic arms. So if the local landowner had a red lion on his crest, the local tenant tavern may have taken the name as a result. Similarly popular names include the White Lion and the Rose & Crown.

'The Crown' might be the Red Lion's chief contender for most popular name. I wonder if anyone has ever counted?

My favourite story comes from a pub I used to visit in Buckinghamshire called the Bull & Butcher. It dates from Tudor times, and the rumour is that the name was a not-so-secret code for 'The Bullen Butcher', ie Henry VIII, who chopped off the head of Anne Boleyn (also written as 'Bullen').

Dr_DoGood Mar 28th, 2011 08:13 AM

From Wiki:-

<i>According to BBPA [British Beer and Pub Association], the most common names are:

Red Lion (759)
Royal Oak (626)
White Hart (427)
Rose and Crown (326)
Kings Head (310)
Kings Arms (284)
Queens Head (278)
The Crown (261)</i>


<i>and according to CAMRA [Campaign For Real Ale]they are:

Crown (704)
Red Lion (668)
Royal Oak (541)
Swan (451)
White Hart (431)
Railway (420)
Plough (413)
White Horse (379)
Bell (378)
New Inn (372)</i>

Both surveys conducted in 2007. The reason for the discrepancy is due to the ambiguity as to what constitutes a public house as opposed to other licensed premises.

Many long moons ago I used to work in a pub called <b>"My Father's Moustache"</b> in Lincolnshire. I suspect that may have been at the other end of the scale.

flanneruk Mar 28th, 2011 08:59 AM

The Scottish national arms feature a red lion - and many Red Lion pubs roughly date from the time James of Scotland took over as king of England.

There's a a long tradtion of monarch-flattering signs: the White Hart (Richard II's arms), the Sun in Splendor (the Yorkists), the George (any of the first four) and the Royal Oak (Charles II).Putting up a sign that celebrated the monarch was, till the early 19th century, very widespread - though after a while they just became pub names, and people were opening Royal Oaks long after the Stuarts had been replaced by monarchs more prepared to work in a Protestant democracy.

So the signs got overtaken by battles where we'd bopped some Johnny Foreigner (the Alma, Spion Kop, etc) in the 19th century, then downright silliness (the Slug and Lettuce) in the late 20th, then by "For Sale" in the early 21st.

alanRow Mar 28th, 2011 09:24 AM

There's also a long tradition of naming the pub after your sponsor - retiring soldiers would use their pay-off to set up a pub and name it after the person who paid for the regiment - so something like "Northumberland Arms" is quite common

Kate Mar 28th, 2011 09:48 AM

Yes Alan, the reason there are so many 'Marquis of Granby's' is that he apparently bought a pub for all his retiring non-Commissioned Officers after some big battle, and bankrupted himself in the process.

Spent many lost 'Happy Hours' in the grotty Granby Tavern in Reading during my dissolute student years. Pound a pint back then...

pdx Mar 28th, 2011 10:11 AM

I thought you were referring to a chain pub when I first read the title. Like coming to the U.S. and drinking Starbucks.

alya Mar 28th, 2011 09:23 PM

It's 4 points if you play the travel game 'Legs'. :)

For the uninitiated it's a game you play in the car, best played by 2, you look out of the window and for every pub that you pass on your side of the car, you count the number of legs - Red Lion = 4, Coach and Horses = 8

Kings Head = 0, since he didn't actually have legs just a head. :?

NOT a game you can play in the US.

My favourite pub name is the Black Swan, generally known by everyone locally as 'The Mucky Duck'. :D

ira Mar 29th, 2011 06:48 AM

>Britain Has Over 600 Red Lion Pubs...What is a Red Lion? <

It is the name of one of 600 pubs in Britain.

nona1 Mar 29th, 2011 10:10 AM

My local is The Cock Inn. fnar fnar.

Josser Mar 29th, 2011 10:15 AM

.....It's 4 points if you play the travel game 'Legs'....

Known to our family as "Pub cricket"
We scored arms as well as legs, so the Queen Victoria would score 4. If you got a crown or similar, you were out.
There would be arguments in the car about pubs called things like "The fox and hounds".

tenaya Mar 29th, 2011 10:31 AM

One pub sign game is used by parents of pre-reading children to keep them occupied: look at the sign and guess the name. I was extremely impressed when a little boy of my acquaintance on seeing Lady With Decapitated Head Under Arm immediately guessed right --- "The Silent Woman".

flanneruk Mar 29th, 2011 11:00 AM

"I was extremely impressed when a little boy of my acquaintance... "

You'd be even more impressed if the child passed a pub near me.

Roughly contemporary with the conversion of the rough path outside into a turnpike in the earlyish 18th century - but close to an excellent fishing river - on one side, its sign features the nearby tollbooth marking the entrance to the cutting edge of 18th century transport technology: the superhighway of its day.

On the other, to attract the anglers after a hard day not doing whatever it is anglers don't do all day, a pike twisting as it leaps.

The pub, of course, is called the Turnpike: its sign isn't just a visual pun, but a piece of multi-consumer segmented marketing as well. Who says pubs rot your brain?

alya Mar 29th, 2011 11:23 AM

Josser - Fox and Hounds = 12.

One fox, two hounds! My Dad's ruling :)

jahoulih Mar 30th, 2011 07:01 AM

"The Saracen's Head"

"The Saracen's Head" looks down the lane,
Where we shall never drink wine again,
For the wicked old women who feel well-bred
Have turned to a tea-shop "The Saracen's Head."

"The Saracen's Head" out of Araby came,
King Richard riding in arms like flame,
And where he established his folk to be fed
He set up a spear--and the Saracen's Head.

But "The Saracen's Head" outlived the Kings,
It thought and it thought of most horrible things,
Of Health and of Soap and of Standard Bread,
And of Saracen drinks at "The Saracen's Head."

So "The Saracen's Head" fulfils its name,
They drink no wine--a ridiculous game--
And I shall wonder until I'm dead,
How it ever came into the Saracen's Head.

--G.K. Chesterton

PatrickLondon Mar 30th, 2011 07:20 AM

The Moon Under Water:

PalenQ Mar 30th, 2011 09:08 AM

I'll soon be in Britain and I will offer to buy anyone a pint at The Red Lion pub on April 1, 2011. Be there or be square!

Stilldontknow Mar 30th, 2011 09:38 AM

>My local is The Cock Inn. fnar fnar.<

Mines is the equally smutty Titwood.

Stilldontknow Mar 30th, 2011 09:45 AM

"The Saracen's Head"

Also one of Glasgow's oldest pubs. Displays the skull of Maggie Wall, the last "Witch" to be burned at the stake in Scotland.

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