Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Volunteer for Guide Dogs for the Blind

 During the 1950s and 1960s, my father became a Voluntary Organiser for the Guide Dogs for the Blind. Each year he would run a competition to coincide with the annual Hayes Carnival and Fete. For months before the carnival, he would advertise for silver paper and milk bottle tops to be collected and brought to his shop at Hayes End.
Silver paper and milk bottle tops were recycled in those days and were a reasonable source of revenue for collectors. Each year he asked that the milk bottle tops were washed before they went into the collection, each year our garage smelt vile, with the smell of 'off milk'!
The heaviest collection won a prize, usually a box of chocolates or similar, the winner announced at the Hayes Fete which followed the carnival.
A novel way of collecting money for the Guide Dogs, but I can still smell our garage!

In this Civic Bulletin, my father submitted an article about the training of Guide Dogs and how he helped to raise money by organising bus trips, theatre outings, dog training, collections taken during dances and giving talks to clubs.
On the back page of the Bulletin is the advertisement for the Town Fete and Carnival Day, to be held on Saturday 13th June, 1964.
Not only did we store all the silver paper and milk bottle tops, dad also entered into the carnival (parade). Very early on the morning of the parade mum, dad and I were up early, cutting all the hundreds of roses in flower in our garden. The flowers were then attached all over the car and the large model of a guide dog fixed on the roof of the car. Many times dad won a prize in the decorated floats category.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Temperance Medal puzzle

My next post is a Temperance Medal which appears to have been given to my father in the early 1930s.

In 1932 he would have been 24 years old, he had left home by then (his father told him to leave and find a job and somewhere to live on his 13th birthday!)
That gives an idea as to why I have no photos of my grandfather!

I know my dad was into boxing; this was one of the reasons that he ended up at The Colony (see November posting), as he was having blackouts which it was believed were a result of his boxing career. Was he a member of the society because they offered a boxing club?

In the past I have tried contacting the Temperance Society, but was told that they don't keep records, which I find hard to believe!
I think I need to contact them again.

Any other suggestions? Does anyone know anything about the Sons of Temperance? Did they have sporting clubs to take the young men away from the pubs? Does anyone know if there are any records of members?


Top triangle; Love / Purity / Fidelity
Red & white ribbon
Bottom shield inscription reads;
The Order of the Sons of Temperance

Back of Shield reads;
Southwark Division  
No. 173
Presented to
Bro. H. Zant
Oct.1932 to Mar. ‘33

Monday, 27 January 2014

My father's work

My father was known as Harry Zant, even though he was christened Harry Van Der Zant, which causes some problems in researching as I have to look at various possible names under either Z or V. Take into account also that this is a Dutch surname and is pronounced as "Von Der Zont" by the Dutch, with both of his parents being Dutch nationals who lived in England, one can see even more research possibilities.

At some point in his life he was apprenticed as a shoe repairer, and in 1949 started his own shoe repair business at Hayes End, Middlesex, England.

 I can remember as a child, he spent long, long hours preparing shoes for competitions and so this time I have got the certificates he won in those competitions. Some of the competitions appear to be run by certain magazines; 'The Shoe and Leather Record' and the 'Leather Quarterly'. Do these journals still exist? If not, have any of their journals been archived? If so, where?


I also have membership to the 'St. Crispins Boot Trades Association Ltd' dated 8th January 1964. Why 1964? He was in business from 1949 and worked for other shoe repairers before that date. Were there other organisations that he joined?

So get your thinking caps on. What do you know about researching the Shoe Repairing Trade? How can I find out more information about my dad's apprenticeship and life as a Master Shoe Repairer?

Friday, 22 November 2013

What was in my mother's house?

My mum, Lily Elsie Burrows Zant

Over time I want to go through all of the genealogical 'goodies' that I found when I was clearing my mum's house. I have them stored away at the moment, waiting until I find time to look at them all. This time is not going to happen unless I make a commitment! So here goes.

Dad's Religious Book
One of the first finds was a book entitled 'Before The Altar'. Somewhat surprised, I opened it to see what exactly it was, as neither of my parents were particularly religious.
Before The Altar is subtitled 'The Devout Christian's Manual' a summary of faith, instructions, morning and night prayers and questions for self-examination. Weirder and weirder!
There is an inscription on the back of the cover; "To Harry- in memory of your Confirmation-Whitsunday 1942 and first Communion May 31st 1942, from Herbert J. Hanasley.

So who was Herbert J Hanasley?

I seem to have vague memories of mum saying that dad was confirmed whilst at The Colony at Chalfont St. Peter and Herbert was the organist at the church. 
I think that The Colony was a sort of hospital that treated epileptics. I remember as a child being taken to the Sports Day each year, so that dad could catch up with his friends.

I need to find the church, find a record of organists, check up on The Colony at Chalfont St Peters, (do they have medical records?)

So any other suggestions?