Historic Cheshire pub’s new name branded ‘ridiculous’ by villagers

A Cheshire pub is being given a new name as part of its refurbishment – but angry villagers have branded it ‘stupid’ and ‘ridiculous’. The new owners of The Red Lion pub in Goostrey have announced their plan to rename it The Space Invader and have left jaws dropping with the ‘out there’ suggestion.

The Cheshire Pub Company already owns a number of acclaimed pubs across the county, including The Frozen Mop at Mobberley, The Churchill Tree at Alderley Park and The Dog at Peover. They announced on Facebook that they have now bought The Red Lion, with plans for a major refurbishment and rebrand, the Manchester Evening News reports.

And in announcing the news, they unveiled the new name as The Space Invader – a nod to the nearby Jodrell Bank observatory. But it has sparked a huge reaction from residents who have slammed it as “ridiculous”, “waste of space” and “a dreadful name for an old village pub”.

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The pub sits right next to St Luke’s Church in the pretty village of Goostrey, near Holmes Chapel, which counts famous residents like England and Manchester City star Raheem Sterling and used to be home to Man United star Cristiano Ronaldo. The village is also famous for hosting the annual Goostrey Gooseberry Show where residents compete to grow the biggest berry.

In announcing the takeover news, the Cheshire Pub Company entitled a message on Facebook ‘mission accepted’. It said: “Cheshire Pub Company can officially announce that they will be landing in the village of Goostrey this Autumn. Goostrey’s village pub, formerly The Red Lion (as pictured) will undergo a makeover this summer, and will be awarded the new name of The Space Invader.

The Red Lion pub in Goostrey, looking across to St Luke's Church
The Red Lion pub in Goostrey, looking across to St Luke’s Church

“While the premises will remain a traditional village pub, the cool, new concept will pay homage to the area’s heritage whilst delivering on excellent service, great food, and good times. While in relative terms their new pub will be another small step in the right direction for the growth of the Cheshire Pub Co portfolio, comparatively it will be a giant leap, and bring great drinking and pub dining opportunities to the village of Goostrey.”

But fuming residents felt the name may be a leap too far for Goostrey. Posting on Facebook, Leyla Woodward said: “I think it’s great that the pub is having a refresh…….but the name change sounds cheap and ridiculous and not in keeping with the village.

“The Red Lion has been a part of Goostrey all my life! Everyone I have just mentioned it to thinks your choice is wrong.”

Phil Hartley said: “What an absolutely stupid name, keep it as The Red Lion. A waste of space invader, if you ask me.” While Bill Morrison said: “Terrible name. Sounds like an arcade in Blackpool.”

Lesley Woodier said: “Great that there’s going to be a refurbishment but surely a better name could be thought of if they want a local link why not just call it …The Lovell or Bar 1957 the date the Telescope was completed.”

While Julie Formby said: “So pleased it’s reopening but what dreadful name for a lovely old village pub.”

Other villagers said they were simply glad that the pub was being saved for the community – and not being taken over by developers instead. Adrian Barber said: “I do find it amusing how revved up people are getting about the name. The pub has been saved from being turned into a house or an office! The village still has this pub!

“Come on guys, chill out a bit, the name can be changed at any time but if it became a private dwelling that would be almost irreversible.”

Kathryn Bennion added: “I think it’s cool that the name is associated with Jodrell Bank. What other pub is called this? Name stands out & will bring more custom which it sadly lacked.

“The name Red Lion or The Crown is used too often. Look forward to coming in.”

The MEN asked the Cheshire Pub Co for further comment about the name change plans. They said that the name was “carefully and respectfully chosen” to honour the history of Sir Bernard Lovell and the Jodrell Bank telescope which can be seen from the village.

Goostrey Station
Goostrey Station

They added that the makeover itself will preserve the memory and traditions of The Red Lion which is on Station Road in Goostrey.

A statement from the company said: “There is no doubt the name has caused controversy amongst the locals of Goostrey, yet Cheshire Pub Co. ensure that the new name was carefully, and respectfully chosen to link to the Jodrell Bank Observatory, and it’s founder Sir Bernard Lovell – The (ultimate) Space Invader.”

It added: “The Space Invader is so much more than a name, it’s a moment in time, an escapism, a satisfaction, and most importantly an element of fun to stand out, and remind us that positive change in the right direction is not only important, it’s necessary. The pub will deliver a respectful, modern take on a classic memory, whilst preserving the former memory and traditions of The Red Lion.

“Whether a classic memory for you is a traditional family dish, an old book, a classic video game, fond film or a favourite place, we will endeavour to recreate those feelings of nostalgia, and grant more heart-warming moments again and again, because that’s just what we do.”

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