Howz-hat!

PUBLISHED: 11:33 09 March 2006 | UPDATED: 13:17 04 May 2010

Betty Wilbraham in the  rain hat she was asked to remove.
Photo: RICHARD MARSHAM

Betty Wilbraham in the rain hat she was asked to remove. Photo: RICHARD MARSHAM

Pub rap for Betty - for wearing rain headgear RETIRED teacher Betty Wilbraham was amazed she should be expected to go out to lunch without her hat. She believes it s not the done thing for ladies to be seen without suitable headgear for the occasion. But

82-year-old Betty Wilbraham is upset at being asked to take her hat off in an Ely pub.
Photo: RICHARD MARSHAM

Pub rap for Betty - for wearing rain headgear

RETIRED teacher Betty Wilbraham was amazed she should be expected to go out to lunch without her hat.

She believes it's not the done thing for ladies to be seen without suitable headgear for the occasion.

But staff at Ely's newest pub, The Hereward, had other ideas and asked 82-year-old Betty to remove her rain hat before sitting down to eat.

They have declared the Market Street pub a hat-free zone because headgear restricts their CCTV coverage.

The pub, which opened last summer, even has a sign on its front door showing all hats, including top hats and sailor hats, are not acceptable.

But Betty couldn't think why her black shower-proof rain hat with its elegant mulberry ribbon should cause such offence.

"I've never heard of such a thing as a hat-free pub" said Betty, of Bentham Way, Ely. "I'm a hat person. Certainly, if I were going out to lunch I would wear a hat.

"My mother wouldn't have set a foot outside the house for a loaf of bread without her hat.

"She would have been horrified if ladies went to lunch without their hats."

Betty, who has been a WI member for 40 years, had been shopping in Ely when she decided to call into The Hereward for lunch.

She went to the bar and ordered a snack along with half-a-pint of Guinness.

"The girl behind the counter asked me to remove my hat when I went to my table," she said.

"My hat was bought from John Lewis and it looks quite dressy. It means when I go shopping I don't have to take an umbrella.

"This is the third time I have been into the pub for lunch. On the other occasions I shared a table with two ladies who were wearing hats and there was no problem. Everyone seems to be so obsessed with security these days."

Betty's husband, former headmaster Ronald, 80, said: "A woman is not a woman without a hat and certainly not a woman of a certain age."

Hereward manageress Tanya Parratt said all customers must be treated the same and even gentlemen would be asked to remove their caps.

"The chef and the pot washers are not allowed to walk through the bar with their hats on," she said.

"It's for the customers' protection as much as anything else because in this day and age you don't know who are the troublemakers.

"The whole reason for CCTV is to protect people but if there is an incident we have to know who was in the bar.

"I do understand Mrs Wilbraham's point of view but it is for her protection as much as anything else.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ely Standard

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists