Sexism row over revamp at the Top Lock pub in Wheelton

A quote painted across the interior of a newly-decorated pub has been reported to a national forum which '¨tackles sexism.
New licensee Mike Hales and his manager Curtis Lunt at the newly refurbished Top Lock Pub in WheeltonNew licensee Mike Hales and his manager Curtis Lunt at the newly refurbished Top Lock Pub in Wheelton
New licensee Mike Hales and his manager Curtis Lunt at the newly refurbished Top Lock Pub in Wheelton

‘Here’s to wives and girlfriends. Let’s hope they never meet’ are the words emblazoned on the wall of the Top Lock pub in Wheelton.

The popular canal-side pub reopened in May following a two-month closure.

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New licensee Mike Hales has taken the helm and undertook the internal refurbishment of the Top Lock, including a series of quotes which he says are humourous but others have branded sexist.

Some are now saying they are boycotting the pub until the quote is painted over, arguing that is is regressive and offensive to women.

Kath Riley, of Bolton Road, said: “We couldn’t believe it to be honest.

“In this day and age of equality this in very poor taste.

!It is receiving bad reviews from all kinds of people – men and women, young and old – who used to go there in summer but are vowing not to whilst these slogans are visible.

“What century are these people living in?

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“It’s just derogatory to women. It’s implying that men can do anything they want - they can have a wife and a girlfriend.”

Thomas Griffin, who is a teacher, said: “I noticed the first unaccredited quotation when I went to sit down and thought it looked a bit antiquated.

“Then I realised most of the other quotations on the walls seemed to be typecasting women as nags or things to be cheating on your wife with.

“I’ve been in pubs with worse stuff on the walls but that’s because nobody has been bothered decorating over them since the 1970s.

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“Its just a massive error in judgement that whoever is running Top Lock thought that would appeal to the clientele.”

Top Lock licensee Mike told the Guardian that the quotes were meant to be a joke.

“When I undertook the refurbishment of The Top Lock I wanted to include some humour in the design,” he said.

“These are standard drinking jokes and there are some about men too.

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“They’re meant to be tongue in cheek and not to be taken at face value.

“I understand there has only been one complaint whereas we’ve had positive feedback about them from many of our customers.

“If anyone has found them offensive, I would like to apologise.

“The response from the public to The Top Lock’s reopening has been overwhelming and we’d like to thank local people for supporting us.”

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Kath, who is a teacher at Lancashire Adult Learning, has reported the quote to everyday sexism, the online forum which was started by Guardian journalist Laura Bates.

Other quotes stenciled onto the pub wall say ‘When I die, bury me under this pub so my husband will visit me seven times a week’ and ‘If she drinks beer she’s a keeper’.