As It Happens

Pub in village of Vogue tells Vogue magazine: no, we're not changing our name

Mark Graham, the landlord of the Star Inn at Vogue, says the Cornish village pub will not be changing its name, despite an earlier demand from Conde Nast.

'That's our name and that's where we are,' says landlord of the Star Inn at Vogue in Cornwall

Mark Graham, left, is landlord of The Star Inn at Vogue, a pub in Cornwall, England. They recently received a demand from Conde Nast, publisher of Vogue magazine, to change their name — a request that was later retracted. (Submitted by Mark Graham)

Story Transcript

"From one Vogue to another — please accept our apologies," reads the handwritten note from the Conde Nast team to the Star Inn at Vogue.

In the letter, the publisher of Vogue magazine retracted their earlier demand for the Cornwall, England pub to change its name. 

"I couldn't believe they were, you know, that worried about a little Cornish village pub," landlord Mark Graham told As It Happens guest host Robyn Bresnahan. 

The Star Inn at Vogue is located in the Cornwall county village of Vogue, about 400 kilometres southwest of London. Graham first heard from Conde Nast shortly after registering the Star Inn to become a limited company. 

"And of course we chose the name The Star Inn at Vogue, because that's our name and that's where we are," he said. "This flagged up some sort of nuisance to them that their readers might confuse us with them and divert their traffic to us."

The magazine publisher's British office sent a letter asking the Star Inn to stop using the name or risk "appropriate remedial action" from the publishing house. Graham said he responded with a categorical "no," explaining the pub's origin and the history of the village of Vogue, which long predates the fashion magazine. 

If the worse comes to the worst... we might actually turn around and ask them to change their name.- Mark Graham, landlord of the Star Inn at Vogue pub

"It's always been called Vogue. It's a Cornish name, meaning, basically, smelting house for Cornish tin," he said. "And I presume that they were using the uncapitalized version, as in vogue, to be in fashion, but we were Vogue — the real Vogue."

A few weeks passed with no response from Conde Nast. In the meantime, the story of the Vogue pub was picked up by a local news outlet, which put an international spotlight on the Star Inn. 

Finally, the publishing house responded. 

The publisher of Vogue magazine sent a second letter, along with a handwritten note from the Conde Nast team, retracting the earlier demand for the Star Inn at Vogue to change its name. (The Star Inn Vogue/Facebook)

"We were grateful for your response and to learn more about your business in this beautiful part of our country," reads the letter. "However, you are quite correct to note that further research by our team would have identified that we did not need to send such a letter on this occasion."

Graham said that he later received a signed and framed copy of the second letter, which is now proudly displayed on the bar at the Star Inn, as well as its Facebook page.

He said the Vogue locals were ready to stand up for their village pub if necessary. As for the apology, Graham jokes he's still unsure whether he'll accept it. "If the worse comes to the worst, if we can find a decent enough solicitor or lawyer or barrister, we might actually turn around and ask them to change their name."

Written by Olsy Sorokina with files from the Associated Press. Interview with Mark Graham produced by Chris Trowbridge. 

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