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The Old Dog and Duck: The Secret Meanings of Pub Names [Hardcover]

Albert Jack
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Sep 2009

This is a book for everyone who has ever wondered why pubs should be called The Cross Keys, The Dew Drop Inn or The Hope and Anchor. You'll be glad to know that there are very good - strange and memorable - reasons behind them all.

After much research about (and in) pubs, Albert Jack brings together the stories behind pub names to reveal how they offer fascinating and subversive insights on our history, customs, attitudes and jokes in just the same way that nursery rhymes do. The Royal Oak, for instance, commemorates the tree that hid Charles II from Cromwell's forces after his defeat at Worcester; The Bag of Nails is a corruption of the Bacchanals, the crazed followers of Bacchus, the god of wine and drunkenness; The Cat and the Fiddle a mangling of Catherine La Fidele and a guarded gesture of support for Henry VIII's first, Catholic, wife Catherine of Aragon; plus many, many more.

Here too are even more facts about everything from ghosts to drinking songs to the rules of cribbage and shove ha'penny, showing that, ultimately, the story of pub history is really the story of our own popular history


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Particular Books; 1st Book People Edition edition (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846142539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846142536
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 13.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Albert Jack is a writer and historian. His first book Red Herrings and White Elephants explored the origins of well-known idioms and phrases and became an international best-seller in 2004. It was serialized in the Sunday Times and remained on their best-seller list for sixteen straight months. He followed this up with a series of other books including Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep, Pop Goes the Weasel and What Caesar did for my Salad.

Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world's great stories, Albert has become an expert at explaining the unexplained, enriching millions of dinner table conversations and ending bar room quarrels the world over. He is now a veteran of hundreds of live television shows and thousands of radio programs worldwide. Albert lives somewhere between Guildford in England and Cape Town in South Africa.

OTHER BOOKS BY ALBERT JACK

RED HERRINGS AND WHITE ELEPHANTS
SHAGGY DOGS AND BLACK SHEEP
PHANTOM HITCHHIKERS
LOCH NESS MONSTERS AND OTHER MYSTERIES SOLVED
POP GOES THE WEASEL
THE OLD DOG AND DUCK
WHAT CAESAR DID FOR MY SALAD
BLACK SHEEP & LAME DUCKS
IT'S A WONDERFUL WORD
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE - PART 1
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE - PART 2
THE JAM: SOUNDS FROM THE STREET
SHED DEBT & START LIVING LIFE
THE QUEEN OF HEARTS
WANT TO BE A WRITER?
LAST MAN IN LONDON

albertjack.com albertjackchat (facebook and twitter)

Product Description

Review

The fascinating stories behind our favourite inns, from the Nag's Head to the Green Man
--DAILY EXPRESS

Lively and intriguing... a testament to the nature of the pub as a focus for creativity, wit and yarn-spinning.
--THE TIMES

Highly entertaining and full of stories...a book worth taking down the pub, methinks. --METRO

The ultimate booze who of Britain - the amazing tales of how pubs got their weird and wonderful names.
--DAILY STAR

Hopefully, with books like this, we can try and keep some of these places - and their intriguing names - alive.

--SCOTSMAN

About the Author

When not engaged in research, Albert Jack lives somewhere between Guildford and Cape Town, where he divides his time between fast living and slow horses, neat vodka and untidy pubs. This is the book he has always wanted to write.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pickled Parson 9 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
Neither of my locals, the Daisy and the Old Unicorn, are in this book but it is nevertheless a treasure house of other delights. We have such as the Bag of Nails, the Bucket of Blood, the Pickled Parson and the Quiet Woman. All are explained as to their origins and it makes good reading.

My favourite, perhaps, is the Drunken Duck. The said duck was found apparently dead in the pub's back yard, taken indoors and plucked ready for the oven. As it happened, the duck wasn't dead but dead drunk and was slowly reviving. A barrel had leaked beer into its feeding trough and it had drunk its fill, and more besides. No matter, the landlord's wife knitted it a pullover until some of its feathers grew back and the duck became something of a celebrity. So much so that the pub's name was changed accordingly.

Excellent bed-time reading.

John Whitaker.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book 10 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book, one to pick up and put down at will. Nice to dip into but informative.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sister and brother love this book. 4 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hi,this book was sent to both my sister and brother,they both said they have had happy hours reading it.Pick it up,put it down when you wish,great little boredom breaker and a laugh too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good 2 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought for partner , he was impressed, kept him quiet for ages ! And enjoyed the book reference for local quizes
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Dog & Duck 18 April 2012
By jonboy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had lots of fun reading this book. Albert Jack has done some major research into the subject and has some very amusing anecdotes and observations. Definitely worth buying !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inn teresting read. 15 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed reading this book. It contains lots of interesting bits & bobs.

There were a few entries I'm not sure of though...

===

1/ "The Bull":
Albert Jack mentions the most likely source of 'a cock and bull story' coming from two pubs in the town of Stoney Stratford. In his book "Why is Q Always Followed by U?", and on his website 'worldwidewords', Michael Quinion dismisses this suggestion.

2/ "Goat and Compass":
One of the many suggestions in the book for this pub name originates in the crest for the Worshipful Company of Carpenters which dispays 3 compasses. Michael Quinion, on his website 'worldwidewords' mentions this and goes further in saying the crest also features a Chevron, which derives from the Latin 'caper', meaning 'goat'.

3/ "The Green Man":
Easter is linked to the pagan goddess Eostre, celebrated at the spring equinox. That is a common suggestion and one put forward back in the 8th century by St. Bede the Venerable. There are other schools of thought though, most notably that Easter (white week) is a mistranslation from German for the plural of 'alba' meaning 'dawn', and therefore 'Eostarum' became Easter. This is explained in more detail in "The Pedant's Revolt" by Andrea Barham.

4/ "The John Snow":
Albert Jack says in this entry that the reason the expression 'good health' is widely used by people having a drink together is because in London in the mid-19th century drinking alcohol was a way of ensuring you didn't fall ill due to the poor drinking water.
This seems a plausible explanation but "wassail" (was hail) meaning 'be in good health' has been around since Saxon times.
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