|The Blue Pig, Grantham ©Graham White|
Similarly we previously adopted The Nutshell pub in Bury St Edmunds when my mother lived in Suffolk for many years. This pub's claim to fame was as the smallest pub in England and when mum relocated we mourned this tiny pub with all the US dollar bills stuck on the ceiling and the dried body of the cat hanging from a hook, along with the eccentric bar staff and the often rather odd customers (including, I suppose, us).
|Taking my time sketching in the bar|
The name of the pub has its roots in 19th century political rivalry between the Manners family (the Duke of Rutland from Bevoir Castle) and the Brownlow family from Belton House. The Manners family were Whigs and chose Blue as their colour. They bought several pubs in the constituency and added blue to their names so there used to be, in addition to the Blue Pig, the Blue Lion, the Blue Horse and the Blue Dog where supporters could declare their political allegiance and drink blue ale. This was in the days when there was no secret ballot and aspiring politicians, who were invariably the local landowners, bought their votes. In time these corrupt practices became illegal and eventually one man, one vote became the rule.
In time the Tory party (the Conservatives) adopted blue as their colour and in the late 20th century they were led by Margaret Thatcher, to date our only woman Prime Minister. She was born and brought up in Grantham and after her death last year her blue silk, prime ministerial suit was part of a display about her life in the local museum.