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?‘