Last Friday the Citizen reported that the Four Mile House in Brookthorpe has re-opened, having been closed since suffering a serious fire back in January. This is great news – it’s always good news when a pub re-opens these days – but why did they have to change the name?
According to the Citizen, The Four Mile House was once a coaching inn and dates back to at least 1856. The name presumably refers to the fact that it is Four Miles out of Gloucester – perhaps not a very imaginative name, but it has history and meaning.
Now, however, the owners Quality Inns, according to their website, “decided it was an ideal time to change the name and concept” and they reopened it as Fagin’s.
I know that we can’t preserve the past in aspic and I don’t believe that we should seek to do so. I have no beef with the fact that they have a new ‘old fashioned’ menu (unless it is poncy and pretentious – one of my pet hates), or that they have decided to introduce table service. Their stated aim to ‘change things and come back better than before’ is laudable, pubs need to move with the times to survive. But why does the ‘total rebranding’ have to include a change of name? What the hell does Fagin’s represent?
Maybe I am wrong and Quality Inns have dug up some interesting historical fact about the pub and thoughtfully woven it into the new image. Maybe they discovered that Charles Dickens was enjoying a pint there when he was inspired to write Oliver Twist – although that would take the date of the pub back to at least 1837. But I doubt it, and if that’s not the case, leave the name alone.
In fact, leave the name alone anyway, it’s not hurting anyone.