Wednesday, 14 March 2012


So. You’re a brewery who has just acquired a pub from pubco that needs to realise some of its assets by selling off some of its property portfolio estate. Obviously you’ll want to put your shiny new branding on it, and that includes, hopefully, an impressive signboard that represents your brand values. But what to have on it? Well, often the name of the pub itself will suggest a pretty obvious theme, and you’ve already provided a fine sign for another pub in the town only three or four years ago, so you have a pretty good idea what to do.
Now, do you go to the trouble of maybe doing a bit of research to see what’s appropriate, and then commissioning a signwriter to come up with something special? Or do you just reproduce something you find on the Internet?
Here's the new sign. Which approach do you think they took?

(Here’s a clue.)
Yep, it’s a direct lift from one of those ‘your family crest’ companies that I have commented on before (those ghastly scrolls give the game away). And as before, it is an unfortunate choice.[1]
Checking with a more authoritative source reveals that these arms (vert three boars heads couped argent armed or) belong to a Burley (note the spelling), from Leicestershire and Wiltshire. So (needless to say) it has nothing to do with the Burleigh in question here, who was a certain James Burleigh, a prominent local landowner and carrier in the late 18th century (and of course no armiger). Burleigh Street, on which the original Burleigh Arms once stood, is named after him (incidentally, its continuation, Norfolk Street, is named after his father-in-law, William Norfolk, who was mayor of Cambridge in 1769).
It wouldn’t have taken very much effort to have done this much better.
[1] I do hope, incidentally, that the proper channels were gone through and permission to reproduce was granted (for the appropriate fee) – those American copyright lawyers can get pretty nasty.
Ronald Grey and Derek Stubbings, Cambridge Street-names: Their origins and associations, CUP, 2000, pp. 55f.