independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Victory is hailed in campaign to reject Cromwell – warts and all – on pub sign

Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658), Lord Protector of England, circa 1640. Original Artwork: From  a drawing attributed to Samuel Cooper.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658), Lord Protector of England, circa 1640. Original Artwork: From a drawing attributed to Samuel Cooper. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

HE led a successful crusade against the proposal to rename his local pub The Cromwell, citing the military leader's infamous history in Ireland.

Now Mick Whyte (36) has revealed his shock that his stand made international headlines and says he is "chuffed to bits" at his victory.

Mr Whyte was appalled when British chain pub operator Punch Taverns tried to rename the Old Oak Inn, in Hoghton, near Manchester, in honour of Oliver Cromwell.

He set about organising an online resistance to the plan and within days it had gone global, hitting headlines as far away as America.

"Within days the petition was signed by people in Ireland, the US, Palestine – I wasn't expecting it at all," Mr Whyte told the Sunday Independent.

His opposition to the plan to rename the watering hole, which followed a €220,000 refurbishment, centred on local affection for the pub's name and the offence the new name might cause to "our Irish cousins".

"I am aware that, especially in Ireland, Cromwell doesn't have the same reputation as he does in England.

"I've always been interested in history and anti-imperial struggles," Mr Whyte said.

The petition referenced "atrocities and land seizures carried out by Oliver Cromwell in Ireland", who massacred garrisons at Drogheda and Wexford in 1649.

"I'm not Irish myself, my dad is from Scotland and my mam is from Manchester," Mr Whyte said.

In a statement, Punch Taverns said that a decision had been made against changing the name after the owners "took note of the comments and passion expressed by the local residents". It added: "It became obvious to retain the Old Oak as the pub's identity."

Sunday Independent

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