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British Pub Signs featuring Cats

Cats that Got Away

Signs which 'lost' their cats, inns that changed their names, etc

Our galleries of current signs are here:

Gallery 1      Gallery 2      Gallery 3      Gallery 4      Gallery 5

or there is an alphabetical index of all the inns included in the galleries

Gallery illustrations
Left-click a thumbnail for an enlargement.
In many cases pictures of a pub or other signs are available from text links.
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Section 1: pubs now closed down or gone, but signs were photographed.
Regrettably, changing times and circumstances mean that the number of pubs in the UK is decreasing, and the following show signs for pubs we know of that used to include cats, but are no longer in existence.


Alley Cats, Wigton, Cumbria

Alley Cats
Wigton, Cumbria (north-west England).
Closed, date unknown.


Old Black Cat, Lymington, Hants

Black Cat
Lymington, Hampshire (southern England).
Closed, date unknown.


Cat and Cockatoo, Pontesbury, Shropshire

Cat and Cockatoo
Pontesbury, Shropshire (West Midlands of England).
This pub used to be called the Horseshoes, but was renamed during the 1980s when there was a fashion for 'different' names. However, it didn't last and reverted to the Horseshoes Inn some years ago.


Cat and Fiddle, Pirton, Hitchin, Herts

Cat and Fiddle
Pirton, near Hitchin, Hertfordshire (south-eastern England).
This is now a private house.
See also sign from 1984.


The Cat's Whiskers, Elgin, Scotland

Cat's Whiskers
Elgin, Scotland.
At the end of 2008 we were told this pub no longer exists.
See also picture of the nameboard.
Both photos courtesy of John Pownall.


Cats Whiskers, Luton, Bedfordshire

Cat's Whiskers
Luton, Bedfordshire (south-eastern England).
See also 'The Office' below.


Cheshire Cat, Thornton Hough, Cheshire

Cheshire Cat
Thornton Hough, Cheshire (north-west England).
No longer exists.


Downing Arms, Tadlow, Royston, Herts

Downing Arms
Tadlow, near Royston, Hertfordshire.
Closed in 1996, this pub is included here because locals knew it as 'The Scratching Cat'. Owned by Downing College, which was endowed by Sir George Downing, the sign showed the Downing family arms, featuring a griffin — which the locals did not recognise.
Picture of the pub


Ginger Tom, Sneinton, Nottingham

Ginger Tom
Sneinton, Nottingham (East Midlands of England).
As well as the actual pub sign, this used to have two other signs at the parking entrance and exit. It was later renamed Huckleberry's, but finally closed in 2004 and was demolished.


The Live and Let Live, Oldham, Lancs

Live and Let Live
Oldham, Lancashire.
We believe this town pub is now closed; certainly the sign is very neglected, and it's not even clear what was shown with the kitten.
Picture of the pub
Both photos PnF.


The Office, Luton, Bedfordshire

The Office
Luton, Bedfordshire.
Was renamed from the 'Cat's Whiskers' (see above), but in 2007 was an Indian restaurant and no longer a pub.


Old Butchers Arms, Calne, Wilts

Old Butcher's Arms
Calne, Wiltshire (south-western England).
This no longer appears on lists of pubs in Calne, so seems to have closed.


Rampant Cat, Burford, Oxon

Rampant Cat
Burford, Oxfordshire.
The pub closed during the 1990s and was converted into a Chinese restaurant. A much older sign, from the 1950s, is shown here in black and white; thanks to Jack Adams of the Pub History Society for providing the image.


Robin Hood, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire

Robin Hood
Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire (south-eastern England).
This has become an Indian restaurant in recent years.


Whittington's, London EC4

London EC4.
Former pub-cum-wine bar near St Paul's Cathedral in London, now (July 2009) an Indian restaurant.


Ye Olde Market, Newark, Notts

Ye Olde Market
Newark, Nottinghamshire (East Midlands of England).
This pub was in the centre of Newark, and was the only one in town with a dance floor. It was closed in about 2005 and the building has been for sale since then (as at June 2009). It is a large building that could be converted into apartments.


Section 2: changed sign and/or name.
The following pubs still exist and at one time featured a cat on their sign, but no longer do. In the years given, the cats were still there.


Cat and Lantern, East Barnet, Herts

Cat and Lantern
East Barnet, Hertfordshire.
Since autumn 2007, according to the ISS, this has become the 'Village Bar'.
Picture of the pub
All photos PnF, 2005
(Note: the main sign was very badly weathered, and the image has therefore been enhanced to show an approximate representation of the original artwork)


The Commodore, Grange-over-Sands, Lancs

The Commodore
Grange-over-Sands, Lancashire.
Date unknown.
The genial naval gentleman used to have a cat on the sea wall behind him as shown, but on today's sign it is no longer there.
Picture of the pub 2009 (PnF).


The First In Last Out, Hastings, East Sussex

First In, Last Out
Hastings, East Sussex.
Picture of the pub 2009 (PnF).


Live and Let Live, Booker Common, High Wycombe, Bucks

Live and Let Live
Booker Common, High Wycombe.
This Buckinghamshire pub is now known as 'The Livvy' (July 2009) and has no pictorial sign.
Picture of the pub 2009 (PnF).


Live and Let Live, Frampton Cotterell, Gloucs

Live and Let Live
Frampton Cotterell, Gloucestershire.
Picture of the pub 2009 (PnF).


Live and Let Live, Olympia, West London

Live and Let Live
Olympia, West London.


Live and Let Live, Pegsdon, Bedfordshire

Live and Let Live
Pegsdon, Bedfordshire (south-eastern England).


New Broom, Checkley, Stoke-on-Trent

New Broom
Checkley, near Stoke-on-Trent (north-west England).


Old Wine Vaults, Eastwood, Nottingham

Old Wine Vaults
Eastwood, Nottingham (East Midlands of England).
Picture of the pub, 2007 (PnF).


Owl and the Pussycat, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey

Owl and the Pussycat
Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, not far from London.
June 2005.
We understand from the Inn Sign Society that this pub was renamed The Queen's Head in 2006 or 2007.
Picture of the pub
Both photos PnF.


Red Well, Over Kellet, Lancs

Red Well
Over Kellet, Lancashire.
Unknown date.
Picture of the pub, 2007 (PnF).


The Romper, Ringway, Manchester

The Romper
Ringway, Manchester.
Picture of the pub, 2006 (PnF).


Whitecotes, Chesterfield, Derbs

Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Picture of the pub, 2007 (PnF).


White Horse, Chilgrove, Wilts

White Horse
Chilgrove, Wiltshire.
This is strange: the story is that the signwriter couldn't paint horses, so he painted a cat instead! A later sign showed a horse; but since April 2009 the place has become an upmarket restaurant called 'The Fish House'.


Section 3: changed name or closed, signs unrecorded.
The pubs listed below apparently don't exist any more, or have changed their name, and we have not been able to find any signs relating to their previous existence. Can any readers help out?

Cat and Bagpipes, Edinburgh, Scotland.
We believe this is now called the Rose and Crown.

Cat Cracker, Isle of Grain, Kent (south-eastern England).
Demolished to make way for housing in the early 2000s.

Cat and Fiddle, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Demolished to make way for a leisure park.

Cat's Eyes, Baillieston, near Glasgow, Scotland.
We could find no trace of this.

Copy Cat, Glasgow, Scotland.
We aren't sure of the status of this one.

Fiddler's Cat Tavern, Sheerness, Kent.
Not found. It may have been renamed.

Maltese Cat, Roehampton, south-west London.
No longer exists.


Section 4
Finally, these establishments are not pubs and we don't think ever were

Blue Cat, Stockport, Greater Manchester: is a wine bar.

Cat Hotel, Luton, Bedfordshire: is a hotel for cats (i.e. a cattery).

Cats Inn, Deverill, Warminster, Wiltshire: another 'cat hotel'.

Cat's Bar, Middlewich, Cheshire: seems to be a café and had no pictorial sign.

Cheshire Cat, Fallowfield, Manchester: this looks like a club of some kind.

There are Fat Cat establishments in a number of towns and cities, but these are 'café bars' and not pubs as such.


Unless otherwise noted, most of the signs on this page are shown by courtesy of the Inn Sign Society,
and we are grateful particularly to Brian Curtis and David Roe for kindly providing them.

Our galleries of current cat signs are here:

Gallery 1      Gallery 2      Gallery 3      Gallery 4      Gallery 5

Alphabetical list of pubs and locations

Short history of British pub signs

Read about the adventures of Fleetwood who has visited over 80 pubs with his humans

If you know of any more pub signs showing cats,
or have information about sign or name changes,
please !
All additions to or suggestions for the gallery gratefully received.

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Our featured feline at the head of the page, having quite a lot of fun, is Ragamuffin, or Rags for short: sadly he's no longer with us. A cat of great character who seemed to live by the maxim 'Life is for living', it was devastating for me when that life was cut short by a road accident. A rescue cat, he lived with me in North Wales for less than four years only. You can see a little tribute to him here with a more flattering photo.

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Page created June 2008, with later revisions and additions