Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Highway Robbery

Someone has stolen the Dick Turpin Public House – shock! Well, not exactly the pub, just the name and the sign. It has now changed into this, below.

Ask any local, and even some not so local, and they still call it the Dick Turpin. In fact, as Ron points out, it is still listed in the telephone directory as the Dick Turpin and when you phone you are invariably greeted with the words “Dick Turpin”. Well, we appreciate that Miller and Carter are trying to build a national steak house brand and they don’t want to dilute the effectiveness by naming each site after a legacy pub name, but it is also a pub and part of the local heritage.

If I recall correctly the Cocked Hat in Southend Road and the Two Brewers in Chigwell Row both lost their names for a while when operated by such chains, but they now have their respective names back. If the Toby Chain can do it I’m sure Miller & Carter can too.

Ron Jeffries is on their case. Back in 2007 Ron had an agreement with Mitchels & Butler, the former owners who went bust, to replace the sign and indeed there was even a design produced.

In the meantime it will still be known as the Dick Turpin. As Ron says, “you can’t wipe out 100 years of history just like that”.


  1. Miller & Carter have performed a similar stunt with the former "Camelot" pub at Lambourne End - a hostelry that some of us still remember as "The Beehive".

    One gets the distinct impression that they are more keen on their "corporate image" than they are on local goodwill.

  2. Oh! I didn't know The Camelot was formerly The Beehive.
    Of course we now have The Beehive in Beehive Lane, a Harvester last time I looked, which I remember as Sullivans where you could purchase a pewter Jug of Ale.

  3. NeighbourhoodWatcher3:24 pm, July 14, 2011

    The original "Beehive" sign (unless it has recently been removed) was up high on the wall around the corner in the road that leads to Abridge.

    The "Green Gate" always appeared on bus timetables long after it had become "Oscars" - and is, of course, now the drive-through McDonalds at the Junction of Eastern Avenue and Ley Street/Horns Road. "The Chequers" in Barkingside continued to be known as such the whole time it was "Ye Olde Investigator"; and the "Red Lion" in Ilford Hill was given back its name (though may have changed again after the refurb.)

  4. Although not such an avid pub-goer as many of B21's contributors appear to be, I believe that both the Toby and the Miller and Carter chains (both names are inventions or derivatives) are run by Mitchells and Butler, who are certainly still very much in business to the best of my knowledge and who appear to own about 90% of the licenced houses in the U.K.(the Fairlop Oak is an exception - it's Witherspoon's,; an independent.If you check on line you'll find M&B run around six or seven different chains with different 'brand' identities ranging from very posh down to crummy old pubs which haven't had a refit for the last twenty years, a lot of which have been recently closed down; i.e. The Bald Hind at Chigwell.

    It's the old prestige game to fool the public into thinking they're dining or drinking 'at that new trendy place'

    Some people must be taken in because they're doing it all the time.

    I believe it's laughingly called 'progress'!

  5. Since The Camelot was taken over by Miller&Carter some years ago now, it is hardly new or trendy. Perhaps lots of people use it, just as we regularly do, because it is family-friendly, the staff know their job and the food is consistently good?

    Or is that too positive a comment for this increasingly sour-note blog?

  6. As usual, sjm, you miss the point with your burning desire to be sarcastic. Why was it necessary for Miller & Carter to make drastic changes, and to dispense with the names by which places were known?

  7. Thankfully Miller & Carter have not reached the far east of Kent yet. Good for SJM if she likes this kind of establishment as many do. But it is regrettable than in their rush to rebrand they have removed a historic name. Here in East Kent we are travelling in the other direction a small corner shop at the top of the road closed down and is now an independently owned real ale pub named the Conqueror after a paddle steamer that ran in the early 2Oth century between East Kent & France before entering service in World War 1 as HMS Bustler. The little pub is a great success.

    Laurence Davies

  8. We understand from Ron that Given this Blog, and the feelings that people have, M&C will consider this more closely and will be in touch....

  9. You are right, Alan. I wrote to M & C a few days ago and yesterday my contact therewrite: "Given the Blog, and the feelings that people have, we will consider this more closely and I will be in touch".
    The reference to the "Blog" is, of course, what I prefer to call the Barkingside 21 Website - so you can see that the influence of the website continues to be felt even in the higher echelons of M & C.
    M & C continue to tell me: "As I am sure you can appreciate, we have a balance to achieve between building a national brand that is synonymous with fantastic steaks with retaining the history of some of our sites."
    I gather a decision will have to be delayed until September - in view of a business trip to Asia and summer holidays, so I have replied as follows:
    "Many thanks for your reply. I fully appreciate your wish to build a brand - I worked in editorial and public relations prior to retirement so I have some understanding of what you are trying to achieve.
    "We are not asking for the name Miller and Carter to be removed. All we want is for the name DICK TURPIN to be added to the signeage in the manner suggested in the sketch I sent to you.
    "There is, as you rightly say, over 100 years of history - and locals, as well as those living further away, will call the place the DICK TURPIN whatever you may decide.
    "All we want is a small sign with the words DICK TURPIN.
    "I will wait for your reply and note that I will receive a decision in September. Depending on what you decide, I may need to take further action - but I hope this will not be necessary and that we will be able to rejoice in having the name back again.
    "Meantime have a good business trip and holiday."
    I am not - at this stage - revealing just what "further action" I have in mind, but rest assured that there is life in me yet as I rush headlong towards my 79th birthday!