New name of Stevenage pub branded ‘bizarre’ by historian

The historic White Lion pub in Stevenage High Street may soon have a new name

The historic White Lion pub in Stevenage High Street may soon have a new name - Credit: Archant

A historian has branded the new choice of name for Stevenage’s historic White Lion pub ‘bizarre’ and says it has no connection to the town.

The Comet reported last week that the High Street pub in the Old Town will become The Mulberry Tree after its revamp.

Historian Hugh Madgin, who runs Stevenage Farmers Market, expressed disappointment at the choice of new name.

He said: “It is extremely sad that Stevenage’s longest serving business name, which has been in use since 1653 at least, will be dropped for something that has no connection to the town.

“As far as I am aware there has never been a mulberry tree on the property. You could not make it up – it is bizarre.

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“And bearing in mind the hallucinogenic drug associations of the mulberry tree, Greene King’s choice of name is most unfortunate.”

The only connection mulberries have to the town, he said, was that the 1967 film Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush was filmed in Stevenage New Town.

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Gill Richardson, who chairs the North Herts branch of real ale and pub pressure group Camra, says she’s “not too worried” about the name change of one of Stevenage’s oldest pubs – but would like it to start serving real ale.

She said that she was more concerned about the refurbishment being carried out to the inside of the ancient pub rather than its imminent name change.

Gill said: “It has been The White Lion for a long time, but then again a lot of pubs have changed their names over the years, it just reflects the changes being made within.

“My hope is that they do not change too much on the inside, it used to be an old coaching inn and it’s got a lot of history behind it.

“But I would like it if they started serving real ales.”

A spokeswoman for Greene King said: “We will be honouring the heritage of the pub with a tribute to its former name in the back garden area, which will also be developed as part of our investment.”

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