Patriotic pride saw Heanor change the name of a popular pub on the Market Place after a visit by the King in 1914.
The name of the King of Prussia Hotel was changed to the Market Hotel at the suggestion of the Kimberley-based brewery Messers Hardy and Co, after King George’s visit to the town on June 25 1914 – the year World War 1 started.
This was the only recorded visit by a serving monarch to Heanor and saw King George V and Queen Mary greeted by a huge crowd on the Market Place.
We have been delving into the archives as part of our Pennies for Our Heroes appeal for your loose change donations so we can raise enough money to plant a tree to honour our heroes from the war.
According to Robert Mee, of the Heanor and District Historical Society, the king didn’t even bother to get out of the car!
The November 20, 1914, edition of the Ripley & Heanor News contained this article about the Heanor petty sessions: “Mr F.G Robinson (solicitor) applied on behalf of Messers Hardy and Co, Kimberley, for permission to change the name of the King of Prussia Hotel.
“Mr Robinson explained the suggested alteration was made from patriotic motives, which the present crisis of the war had brought about.
“In granting the application, the chairman said: ‘Yes, we very gladly grant it, and compliment the owners on their wisdom and discretion.’”
The pub was regularly used by Heanor Tradesmen’s Association for their meetings. The May 22, 1914, edition of the Heanor Observer, reported on a ‘well-attended meeting’ at which ‘the question of the King’s visit was also considered’.
The report said: “It was decided that shops remain open on the Wednesday, and close on the Thursday of that week, the secretary to secure permission for such change.”
But the burden of the war was beginning to be felt by local people, as other snippets from the papers of 1914 illustrate.
An editorial in the Heanor Observer paid tribute to male and female ambulance volunteers.
It said: “It is very creditable to the Heanor branch of the St John Ambulance Brigade that so large a number have volunteered for service in this time of national need.
“No fewer than 36 have volunteered for foreign and nine for home service. The female section too has been responsive to the needs of the times, and four volunteers are forthcoming for foreign and seven for home work.”
A report from the Heanor Observer also discussed the vital resource of animals that were needed for the war effort.
It said: “A class of the community upon whom the war has fallen heavily are the owners of horses and motor tractors. Many tradesmen and farmers in the Ripley district have had to give up their animals at the call of the military, but are cheerfully bearing the inconvenience and loss. Their country has the first claim.”