No Lights Out at Berkhamsted’s Boat pub is put down to health and safety

The Boat, Berkhamsted. PNL-140508-144757001
The Boat, Berkhamsted. PNL-140508-144757001

A pub has come under fire for failing to take part in Monday night’s poignant Lights Out event to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War.

Businesses and households across the country joined the national mark of respect by turning out their lights and lighting a candle to burn for an hour from 10pm.

The Boat in Berkhamsted has been criticised for not doing its bit, but pub manager Sonya Mifflin said her hands were tied by health and safety.

An angry reader, who took this snap of the Gravel Path venue with its lights on inside and out, said: “I was disappointed to see it was business as usual at our local pub. Open 365 days of the year, the pub was lit up, all signs and lights burning brightly without a thought for the Lights Out campaign and the neighbours observing this.

“If businesses, churches, homes across Britain and even the Houses of Parliament can honour this event it seems sad that Fuller’s can only measure the spirits and beers it serves and not the mood of the community.

“It seems Fuller’s has forgotten it is a privilege to sell British beer in a free country.”

Sonya said she ‘completely understands’ the views of the man, who wished to remain anonymous, but explained that safety concerns made it impossible for the venue to take part.

“It is quite an issue for me with health and safety,” she said.

“My pub would be very dark at that time of night if I turned all the lights off. It is a health and safety issue. There aren’t really any street lights around us and it is completely dark next to the canal. It would be quite dangerous, both inside and outside.”

A Gazette poll of other pubs in the town revealed that many others did take part in the centenary mark of respect including The Old Mill in London Road and High Street pubs, The Kings Arms, The Crown and The George and Dragon where the lights were dimmed and poems were read aloud.

The Berkhamsted reader said: “I was encouraged to see so many lights go out over Berkhamsted as a mark of respect for those who gave their lives. Many neighbours in Berkhamsted, especially the elderly lit a single candle and placed it in their windows.”