‘You know you don’t belong’: Why people of colour don’t feel welcome in pubs

Pubs

Pubs are important community spaces which are often romanticised as a key part of British culture, but for some – namely people of colour – the local boozer isn’t a place they can enter without feeling like outsiders.

By Faima Bakar

Kevin Divine*, who is Black, has felt that hostility in pubs many times. ‘When you look at all the flags outside a pub and see just white people inside, it makes you think twice,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Pubs are seen as super British but the “Britishness” they represent is kind of at odds with the kind of Britain I occupy and envision.’

‘One time, I went inside and it was like one of those scenes from a Western flick when the out-of-towner steps into a saloon and all the patriots stop what they’re doing and follow his every move.’ ‘Even the bartender forgot he was pouring a pint and let it overflow.’ Kevin, from Hull, – which was named City of Culture in 2017 – is one of many people of colour who have experienced this sense of being unwelcome in pubs across the UK. ‘That was uncomfortable but a part of me found it funny and kind of sad that people have that reaction to me being in the room,’ remembers Kevin. ‘My friends and I wouldn’t go to these places anymore because why put yourself in that environment?’

While it would be unfair to say that all pubs are unwelcoming purely because they’re often adorned with flags, there is tense relationship between Black and brown British people and the Union Jack or the St George’s flag. Some feel it conjures up images of English nationalism or reminds them of far-right movements – such as The National Front, which adopts the Union Jack in its logo. As well as decor, there are other tangible reasons that may deter people from entering or feeling welcome in pubs – including problematic names. Last year, a pub that shared a moniker with slavetrader Edward Colston was renamed after the Black Lives Matter protests. A chain decided to rename three of its establishments – including The Black Boy and The Black’s head – due to their ‘racist connotations’.

After UCL compiled a database of firms connected to slavery, another pub, Greene King, changed its title due the plantation connection of its namesake Benjamin Greene. A study last summer found that one in three people would avoid pubs if they had a racist name or signage.

Kevin isn’t alone in his wariness towards pubs. Anthony, a Filipino person who has lived in Newham his whole life, has a pub at the end of his street – but he never goes in.

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30 UK campsites to book now for summer 2021

We’ve rounded up the best camping and glamping getaways … assuming the Great British Summer gets the green light, that is

Before you book, check individual campsite Covid refund and rescheduling policies

WALES

Three Cliffs Bay, Penmaen, Gower

The dramatic clifftop location is a huge selling point for this family-run campsite on the south side of the Gower peninsula. It is right on the Wales Coast Path, and a short stroll from the spectacular Three Cliffs Bay. Guests can choose between sea-view or (cheaper) countryside-view pitches, for tents, caravans or campervans. There are also sea-view bell tents and inland yurts (both sleeping five). The shower block is particularly impressive, with power showers, LED lighting and underfloor heating … Even the dog-washing points have warm water. The shop is also well stocked, with local bread, meat, beer and wine; and guests can order hampers, and rent picnic tables and firepits. The campsite was started in 1948 on North Hill Farm, which dates back five generations, and is still run by the Beynon family.
• Camping £29.50 a night for a family of up to 5, glamping £454 for three nights, threecliffsbay.com

Top of the Woods, Pembrokeshire

Friendly pigs at Top of the Woods Eco Camping & Glamping Pembrokeshire

“Eco luxury” is the vibe at this site on a 27-acre farm. Campers can pitch their tents in the four-acre wildflower meadow, while glampers can choose from safari lodges, nature domes or pioneer camps; there is also one pitch for a campervan. The farm courtyard is the social hub, with a huge Dutch barn, campfire and wet-room showers. Breakfast is served in the barn at weekends, as is a stew supper on Fridays and barbecues on Saturdays. There are pop-up food stalls during the summer holidays and a fishmonger comes every Wednesday. Campers can help feed the site’s three kunekune pigs, walk to the secret waterfall in the woods for a swim, and take yoga classes in the barn. The owners also run glamping activity weekend breaks several times a year, from “wild gin” foraging to canoe treks and paddleboarding safaris.
• Camping £16/£8 a night adult/child, campervans £20/10, dogs free, five-metre bell tents for hire at £30 a night, glamping from £100 a night for 4, topofthewoods.co.uk

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Visiting Edinburgh? The Writers’ Museum is must-see

May be an image of castle and outdoors
Photo by Keith Foley

The Writers’ Museum celebrates the lives of three giants of Scottish Literature – Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Home to portraits, rare books and personal objects including Burns’ writing desk, the printing press on which Scott’s Waverley Novels were first produced, and the rocking horse he used as a child. We have Robert Louis Stevenson’s riding boots and the ring given to him by a Samoan chief, engraved with the name ‘Tusitala’, meaning ‘teller of tales’. There is also a plaster cast of Robert Burns’ skull, one of only three ever made.

This free museum is easy to locate just off the Lawnmarket, the top part of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, in Lady Stair’s Close.

With a wide range of stories and objects this museum has something for everyone to enjoy, whether young or old, local resident or visitor. You don’t need to have read these writers’ works to enjoy the fascinating life stories told in the Writers’ Museum.

Collection Highlights include:

The Writers’ rich collections include books, manuscripts, portraits and fascinating personal items relating to Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Highlights include a first edition of Scott’s novel Waverley and Stevenson’s beloved classic, A Child’s Garden of Verses. Manuscripts include Burns’ draft of Scots wha hae (‘Bruce’s Address to his troops at Bannockburn’). There is also the press on which Scott’s Waverley Novels were printed, a chair used by Burns to correct proofs at William Smellie’s printing office, and Stevenson’s wardrobe made by the infamous Deacon Brodie whose double life may have inspired the novel The strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Covid: Will the UK’s pubs stay shut until May?

Previous lockdowns suggest hospitality could be facing one of the longest routes back to normality.

By Paul Seddon

A world-famous British institution, they have been, along with other hospitality businesses, especially hard hit during the pandemic.

And previous lockdowns suggest both pubs and restaurants are facing a longer route back to normality than other sectors hit by periods of closure.

Recently, one group of scientists advising the government warned against reopening the sector before May.

Although the government is aiming to give over-50s a first vaccine dose by the spring, that would still leave a large number of people unprotected, they argue.

One of the scientists, Dr Marc Baguelin from Imperial College London, said even a partial reopening before then could mean “unsustainable” pressure on the NHS.
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