Hat’s Off To Ely’s Hereward Pub

Image: Betty Wilbraham

As I am currently in Mississippi I am a little late running this article that once again puts Ely’s newest pub, the Hereward in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The story was brought to my attention by the sheer number of comments I received relating to articles (1st article, 2nd article) Ely Online published about the Hereward Pub.

As security risks go it would be hard to imagine what risk an 82 year old poses. But that’s exactly what they labelled retired school teacher and Woman’s Institute member Betty Wilbraham when she ran foul of the Hereward Pub’s rule that bans any person from wearing any type of headwear. The rule was introduced primarily to twart potential young trouble makers from hiding their face from the pubs invasive 13 camera CCTV system.

Outraged Betty had entered the pub for a lunchtime meal after a busy morning shopping and had just ordered her meal when a member of the bar staff said to Betty: ‘Would you mind taking your hat off as this is a hatless pub’. A clearly bemused Betty said: ‘On the other occasions I shared a table with two ladies who were wearing hats and there was no problem.’

Mrs Wilbraham does not understand that the world is changing.

Pub licensee Tony Love tried to justify his actions by saying: ‘It’s all to do with the CCTV. We have 13 cameras inside the people and we cannot be seen to be discriminating between the youths and the elderly people.’

‘We always approach people politely and most of the elderly take their hats off anyway when they sit down.’

Condescendingly Tony continued: ‘Mrs Wilbraham does not understand that the world is changing.’

Come on guys, surely common sense should prevail here. What risk does an 82 year old woman pose to your establishment?

What is the pub going to do when someone enters the pub wearing religious headwear, notably kufis, yarmulkes, turbans, crowns, and headbands, as well as scarves and head wraps for orthodox Muslim and Jewish women?

Tony Love should do the right thing and apologise for his and his staff’s over reaction, Mrs. Wilbraham has already pointed out that she and her friends have been in the Hereward before wearing hats without incident.
With all the media coverage this story is generating (the story has probably gone national as we have received comments from all over the country) it can only mean bad publicity for the pub so do the right thing Tony and don’t leave it too late!

As regards the Hereward’s rules, well, you have to remember that this pub sold itself to the people of Ely as a family pub. To quote their spokesperson at the time, Caroline Nodder, for Barracuda Group:
We are not talking about a cut-price booze bar. It will be a traditional pub with contemporary twist. The emphasis will be on food trade, particularly lunchtime trade, and we want it to appeal to all ages and to families.

How circumstances change once their license is granted: no under 18s and happy hours (although those, through public complaint, have now been closed). As to the hats ban, well, I am not convinced it does anything but alienate. I leave the last word to our very own Anne DeBondt:
Maybe it isn’t the clothes a pain-in-the-ass wears. It isn’t the tattoos, the colours, the backward caps or the multiple piercings that makes a youth a reprobate … ever thought it might just be the person themself?

10 replies
  1. Matt
    Matt says:

    I agree with your comments and have experienced similar incidents with this person. We were watching the rugby in there one weekend and she shouted at this bloke becuase he was standing patiently at the bar holding up a £5 note, in the hope of getting served, and she said he was standing in the wrong place. When he asked what was the right place she accused him of abuse and threatened to throw him out. Also, on the same day four of us all came away from there feeling sick, despite not drinking that much and having eaten nothing. Afterwards one bloke said he had noticed that his glass looked filthy. Our conclusion was that it was a mild bacterial infection caused by a lack of hygiene in the dishwasher. I for one will never go in there again and now tend to go to the Albert or the Fountain, much better customer service in both.

  2. matt davis
    matt davis says:

    im not surprised by all these comments but am surprised that this place is still run by probably the worst and rudest land lady i have ever witnessed . I have lived in ely for a couple of years and unfortuantly the hereward is the only place to get cheep food and watch the football .

    I think everytime i go in here i say it will be my last .

    I remember first going in there and asking a simple question at the bar about what programs were on next . And the land lady being so ubrupt and rude that i would ever ask a simple question . I brushed this off and put it down to an off day.

    My wife and i invited my friends up for the day with there two children we sat down and ordered 5 adult meals and 1 child meal as the younger child was asleep and not hungry.

    I kid you not when i say this the same land lady made her way over and said very rudely that if the childen were not eating we would have to leave .!! It took a second to register as we had just spent 6 meals and 6 drinks at the bar ! It was totally unbelievable . My friend argued the toss and this ruined the time we was in there.

    Ever since then i can honestly say that everytime i go in there . There is some sort of incident with her .

    The bar can be empty and showing rugby with no one watching it.

    If u ask politly if you can watch the football on the other side . She will not help and im sure delights in the fact that football is not on.

    I over herd her last night tutting and asking when the football was finishing the pub was packed out with manu and man city fans . She argued with one guy at the bar saying that the pub didnt need football to be busy even know every single person in there was watching it .

    To cap it off and this is why i have taken the time to write this i went to the bar and ordered food for my wife and i spent 15 quid on two meals and a drink paid by card but forgot to order the second drink
    . I wanted to get the second drink but had no cash but she said i couldnt get another drink because it had to be over 5 pound to use my card agin Even though i had just spent money on the two meals . She knew i was upset again and insteed of trying to help she served someone else .

    Im my opinion this lady is as bad as it gets when it comes to customer service . She has been in the local paper for other incidents .

    This is the first time i have written on a site like this but i feel something has to be said .

  3. Annabelle
    Annabelle says:

    Strange they have all those CCTV cameras but when the thug bouncers decide to be heavy handed it is never in view of the cameras!!! Oh so clever!

    What goes round comes round as the going goes…

  4. Philip Sinclair
    Philip Sinclair says:

    I am a middle-aged man suffering increasing baldness and have had the same experience on now two occasions. NO notice appeared at the entrance etc. as to such a restrictions policy and I was rudely accosted after being in the establishment for several minutes and also purchasing food/drink. I refused to comply with their directions and left however I was deemed ‘a problem’ (potential trouble maker) and I was chased after by their ‘Security Guards’ and my car trapped in, being then threatened that if I return I would be physically removed.

    On the second occasion I must have been considered an ‘apt/convenient target’ (for humiliation/ridicule) after being there for over 15 minutes and directed/admonished by the young female barmaid in a most condescending manner, I explained my baldness problem but she couldn’t care less but wished to continue humiliating me, as though being her subordinate. I could stand no more and just told her I was leaving and walked out (or if continuing any remonstration may have been followed/set-upon by more Security Guards etc.).

    Manners seem to be increasingly IRRELEVANT to these establishments/people, they may at first seem ‘humble’ and civilized but once they have your money you’re as good as garbage !! I hope they learn themselves what it is like to be treated as a sub-human (it is probably something they just shrug off hurting somebody but I have hurt enough and they are simply an obnoxious ingredient in society for me — I am now extremely wary of where I go and of
    being glared at/subject to ‘surveillance’ etc. for fear of further “ATTACK”, fortunately life is not forever and neither are they !!

  5. James
    James says:

    One rule for everyone, why should this old lady kick up a fuss and get on national news for it!!

    The pubs ok but the service is bloody terrible

  6. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    As I understand the problem it is for the manager of the pub to make an apology but you have more chance in sinking a battle ship – the man is miserable.

    A man who does nothing but moan about staff and cleaners!

  7. Eddie
    Eddie says:

    Why should an old woman that seeks publicity be an exception. If she cant respect the rules that are intended to protect, then let her & her kind go elsewhere. She’s obviously not true to the Ely spirit. Let her go elsewhere. Shes simply not welcome.

  8. Armin
    Armin says:

    I politely disagree.

    Why should only young people take off hats, hoodies, whatever they decide to wear? The vast majority probably don’t cause any trouble, so why should they be discriminated against because of a minority, stereotypes or prejudices?

    Either everyone takes their hats off or nobody. The one blowing it out of proportion is Betty Wilbraham.

  9. Peter Nowell
    Peter Nowell says:

    Old lady has to take hat off.

    Do you not realise what a bunch of knobheads this makes you look like?

    By the way, your service is as crap as your food, your staff are hopeless, and the management are complete arseholes!!

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