Fenny Stratford residents are furious that “their” new Wetherspoon’s pub is being named after a historic happening in neighbouring Bletchley.
Wetherspoon bosses originally planned to call the new facility Halfway House, the pub’s original name in 1870 before it became the New Inn and later the Bletchley Arms.
“Suddenly they changed the name to Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party. Not only is it a silly name, but it’s connected to an event at Bletchley Park and has nothing whatsoever to do with Fenny Stratford,” said chair of the Fenny residents association Rosemary Smith.
The association has tried to no avail to persuade Wetherspoon to drop the new name.
But Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Citizen: “ We are looking forward to opening our new pub and the last thing we wish to do is upset the locals.
“We place great emphasis on the naming of our pubs and chose the name, Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party, in good faith.
We will look into the matter further.”
Less than three and a ahlf hours later, Mr Gershon contacted the Citizen again to say:“ We did review the name once again taking into account feedback from the Fenny Stratford Residents Association. However, we are happy with the name of the pub and will be sticking with it.”
‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting party’ was the undercover name for a group of M16 people and government code experts who spent a weekend at Bletchley Park mansion house to assess its suitability as a wartime centre for intelligence activity. Pretending to be only interesting in shooting wildlife, they even brought with them one of the best chefs from the Savoy Hotel to cook their food!
“It’s all very interesting - but not at all relevant to Fenny Stratford,” said Rosemary.