Welcome to the Black Boy Pub!
Mike and I are the proud owners of the Black Boy pub in Shinfield. Together we have 40 years of experience in the pub trade and Mike has three successful pub/restaurants under his belt, so between us we should get it right. We’re working hard to create a great pub to serve the community round and about and there’s been lots of changes.
In addition, we have an excellent outside space for drinking
and al fresco dining. It features both a smoking area with overhead
heaters and a non-smoking area, and is fantastic for enjoying the
outdoors on those nice-weather days.
Inside we have a both large bar area, a children-allowed cosy seating area, and the main restaurant with booths, tables and couches to accommodate large or small groups, work meetings and families. We can accommodate babies and small children with high chairs, changing facilities, juices behind the bar, and a great children's menu. We have also designed the seating and table arrangements with business meetings and couples in mind, creating a private environment that lends to easy conversation.
The Black Boy Inn has been a landmark in Reading for over 500 years. Naturally, it has gained quite a history and following during its longstanding status as a public house and inn. It has been mentioned in Reading Corporation Books in the 16th century, where a reference is made to an assembly held there prior to riots and attacks made on several Catholic families who lived in nearby Shinfield. In the 1800's, there stood a blacksmith's shop opposite the pub run by Isaac Baily, making it an important stop along the former coaching route, in the days when coaches were horse-drawn. Around the same time, a meeting was held at the Pub between Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his surveyor in 1833 while they were prospecting the Great Western Railway. Brunel recorded the meeting in his personal diary.
The pub also boasts an important piece of British history: it was built around an ancient wisteria tree which is located to the rear of the pub. The tree is believed to be the oldest wisteria in the country.
There are many interesting theories as to how the Inn acquired its unusual name. As the pub was around during the reign of Charles II, it is supposed that it and other Black Boy pubs around the country were named after the king, who was renowned partly for his swarthy complexion.
Alternatively, many believe that the name comes from a famous dark figurine smoking a pipe that once adorned the doorway. It is surmised that it is the figure of a Native American. The Pub was once home to a cigar merchant in the 18th century, and much of the tobacco at that time came from the Americas. The Native Americans used to carry tobacco as evidence of their strength of character, and hence became the symbol for several tobacco companies throughout the world.
Wherever the Pub got its name, it has no doubt been witness to countless moments in history, important meetings and private moments over the centuries. We look forward to the privilege of carrying on this tradition for many years to come.
References: "A Walk Around Our Village" compiled by the Shinfield and District Local History Society;