Top critical review
Whats in a name?
on 14 March 2014
From my experience, I would say that this is definitely one of those books that are best tackled by dipping in and out of. I attempted to read it cover to cover but soon grew tired of it, becoming overwhelmed with the large amount of fairly dry information that I was attempting to take in. Maybe I might have appreciated it more had I not had the constant feeling that I already knew most of the information that I reading – and found that I was probably right as I have two books on the origin of pub names already on my shelves, which on investigation seemed to duplicate much of what is written in Ye Olde Dog & Duck.
I would say then that if you going to produce a book on pub names then you should try to be a little more inventive with the names chosen than Albert Jack has been; he has chosen to include too many lengthy and slightly tedious explanations of bog standard pub names like The George, Royal Oak, Wheatsheaf and Rose & Crown when I would have preferred to read about pubs with more obscure names. An example of this is that The Blind Beggar is included whereas just a short walk along Whitechapel Road there is/was a pub with an extremely singular name, The Grave Maurice, which is not. Surely The Grave Maurice has a story which would be far more interesting than that of The Woolpack or the Red Lion? It is no coincidence therefore that the pub name that sticks in my mind is most is The Bucket of Blood.
Despite my misgivings this is decent book which would make a fine reference book for pub lovers.