The Retreat pub signs

These photos show a couple of the old pub signs that used to adorn The Retreat. The last one was removed c 2017 for safety reasons and is, at the time of writing, yet to be replaced.

The origin of the pub’s name, The Retreat, is unknown.

Pub names are used to identify and differentiate pubs. Many pubs are centuries old, from a time when their customers were often illiterate, but could recognise pictorial signs. Pub names have a variety of origins, from objects used as simple identification marks to the coats of arms of kings or local aristocrats and landowners. Other names come from historic events, livery companies, and occupations or craftsmen’s guilds.

Unlike Ireland, where the names of pubs tend to be based on the name of the owner, or a former owner, in mainland Britain this has been unusual, probably because pubs wanted names that could be related to an image on their pub sign, a key means of identifying them in an age of restricted literacy. In Australia, a high proportion of older pubs have names ending in “hotel”, and generally, their names reflect hotel naming conventions.