The Old Dog and Duck: The Secret Meanings of Pub Names Hardcover – 3 Sep 2009
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The fascinating stories behind our favourite inns, from the Nag's Head to the Green Man
Lively and intriguing... a testament to the nature of the pub as a focus for creativity, wit and yarn-spinning.
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.
Hopefully, with books like this, we can try and keep some of these places - and their intriguing names - alive.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unfortunately the book didn't have coverage of the pub names I was interested in, so it soon went off to the charity shop.Published 2 months ago by Mr. Paul Watson
Anything by Mr Albert Jack is first rate, very entertaining reading.Published 4 months ago by El Toro
bought this as a present and the owner spent hours on Christmas reading it out and we made a quiz of it tooPublished 6 months ago by sappy