1. Harold Liveing "Harry" FENN , son of Dr Edward Liveing FENN M.D.  and Katharine Pauline JULIUS , was born on 28 Mar 1877 in Richmond SRY, was christened in Stoke, died on 6 Jan 1969 in Christchurch NZ at age 91, and was buried in 1969 in Timaru N.Z.. He was usually called Harry.
By family myth Harry was supposedly born in the Wardrobe Court of the Old Palace Richmond in a room Elizabeth I died in, however his birth certificate records their address in the nearby 1 Portland Tce Richmond. His sponsor was Dr G.D. Liveing. The Wardrobe Court was a Grace and Favour premises leased by the Crown to the Julius and Fenn families. Harry's birth may have been in the home of his Julius grandparents, his mother attended upon, at the birth, by her father Dr Frederick Julius.
Harry was 9 when his mother Katherine died and would, as was the custom then, have been at boarding school. Katherine's sister Aunt Polly (Mary Caroline Julius) was a surrogate mother to the family until her untimely death in 1890. They also had as children a succession of Nannies some appeared loving and supportive (see letter from Nannie Goat below). Harry was educated at Malvern House Dover and Haileybury College 1891.3 - 1894.3. He then attended Kings College London for a term before training as an electrical engineer with Paxmans of Chelmsford ESS. He was responsible for the installation of steam turbine driven electrical generating plants, and reticulation of the electricity. At this time he took up photography as a hobby.
Haileybury Register 1891.3
Fenn, Harold Liveing, b. 28 Mar 77, s. of E. L. Fenn, M.D. Colchester, C91.3-94.3. D. in ChCh N Zealand, 6 Jan. 69.
HARRY'S CONFESSIONS C1891
MY FAVOURITE VIRTUE: Courage.
MY IDEA OF HAPPINESS: Having a jolly holiday.
MY IDEA OF MISERY. Writing in this book.
MY FAVOURITE OCCUPATION: Fishing, boating, bathing.
MY FAVOURITE COLOUR: Red & blue.
MY FAVOURITE FLOWER: Rose & Jessamine
MY FAVOURITE POETS: Tennyson
MY FAVOURITE PROSE AUTHORS: Rider, Haggard, Julius Horne.
MY FAVOURITE PAINTER: Landseer.
MY FAVOURITE FOOD: Chicken & mutton.
MY FAVOURITE NAMES: Ethel, Ada, Bertha, Charlie.
MY PET AVERSION: Hot treacle tart.
MY FAVOURITE MOTTO: Death & Glory.
Harry spent some time at the end of his English schooling at schools near Montreux, Switzerland (see his letters under Research Notes) it is thought this may also have been undertaken for health reasons.
In mid 1895 Harry had a climbing accident on the "Roche de Naye" in Switzerland, this is described in a letter from his father to his brother Van.
Harry's brush with death 12 May 1895.
Have you heard of Harry's near escape on the mountain? As I do not think you have I will quote his words:
"I and some other chaps began to go up the Rocke de Naye, all went well until we got up about 5000 feet then we had to go up steep slopes covered with frozen snow the snow was very hard and it was also freezing hard, well we ascended by dint of hard work cutting our way up them, after we had gone up about 100 yards (I forgot to tell you these slopes were covered with huge rocks) we walked along the top of the slope under a huge set of rocks, after a bit we had to get round one, three of the boys got round and then I came, I got half way when just as I was bringing my right foot round to another step my left foot and the step gave way, immediately I began to go down these tremendous slopes at a terrific pace, I crashed through between two trees and then down I went getting faster and faster if it was possible. I pressed my alpine stock head hard down on the snow it made no difference except to keep my head from going down head foremost, well at last I crashed on to a rock and rolled over 6 feet to the ground on the other side and would you believe it I was none the worse for it except very much bruised cut and shaken. I went down quite 80 feet it was steeper than the slope in front of the drawing-room window"
He says if he had fallen a little further he would have been dashed to pieces over the precipice.
Thank God for preserving him I say
Edward L Fenn
Harry, in 1905, was admitted as a Livery Man to the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers, a City of London Guild dating back to the 12th century. Apart from the protection of their trade and support of their members, the Guild has supplied (bees) wax candles to St Paul's Cathedral since 1371. He was introduced to the Guild by his half grandfather Charles J. Todd who was known as "Father of the City Corporation" (City of London). Charles was member for Queenhithe ward for 50 yrs from 1857
When Harry died in 1969 he was the longest serving Livery Man in the Guild.
A sufferer from asthma, for his health's sake he emigrated to N.Z. leaving Tilbury London Thurs 22 Mar 1906 on the R M S Tongariro. He was seen off by his father and brothers Charlie, Cyril and Edgar.
Testimonials to Harry's work in England:
Harold L. Fenn Esq.
Golden Valley Paper Mills
March 13, 1906
Dear Mr Fenn
I gather that this letter will be all you will require, and serve your purpose quite as well as a merely formal testimonial. I think I mentioned to you when you completed Messrs Christy's work here than I considered the work very thoroughly done. I might also add that, I consider the way that you and your colleague stuck at the work through thick and through thin, and in all temperatures was praiseworthy, and that if ever I had a large contract to place again for a L2000 job like that extending over a period of 12 months or more, there is no one I should more like to employ, than men of like character and cheerfulness such as you both proved yourselves to be.
Should you desire a letter of recommendation, to any person or firm, when you reach your destination, I shall be happy to send one.
Yours sincerely Golden Valley Paper Mills
Charles King Smith. Prop
Hand written on one sheet of company letterhead, with envelope bearing the company name and franked Colchester 7 am Mar 14 06
From Fielding and Johnson
March 16 /06
Dear Mr Fenn
Enclosed please find the testimonial you wrote for and both my father and myself wish you a very successful career and good luck with your new berth.
A. E. Baker
Fielding and Johnson
March 16, 1906
We have great pleasure in giving this testimonial of the abilities of Mr Harold L. Fenn who has done electrical work for us on several occasions, which was always very satisfactory and thoroughly reliable and we alway found him very obliging during his stay here.
W. A. Baker
Hand written on two sheets, the second having an elaborate letterhead showing pictures of Fielding and Johnson's three (woollen) mills in Leicester and Nuneaton. Contained in an envelope, defaced by the removal of the stamp, but bearing on the back a postmark "Colchester 9:30 am MR17 06" and an embossed mark by Fielding and Johnson containing the image of a sheep. A short history of this company is to be found on the Internet - www.nnwfhs.org.uk/publications/journals/I2.pdf
Christy Brothers and Middleton
April 2, 1906
H. L. Fenn
We have pleasure in stating herewith that you have been in our employee for a period of about 31/2 years, during which time you have been engaged on all classes of electrical work, including some large power transmission installations, the carrying out of which you have had charge of, and also been for some considerable time in our drawing office designing machinery for electrical plants.
We have always found you take a great interest in your work, and been able to retain the knowledge gained therein.
We feel sure that you will be successful in any work of a similar nature that you may take elsewhere.
Christy Brothers and Middleton
Typed letter on company letterhead, from Leonard F. Christy identified from the letterhead. The letterhead also identifies the company as contractors to the War office, Home Office etc.
Harry worked as a farming cadet with his Cousin Ella's husband Arthur Elworthy at "Holme Station" (see Elworthy ). Then in 1910 Harry purchased "Grange Hill" Maungati, South Canterbury for L10,000. A 5000 acre grazing run in the Hunter Hills, he made a reasonable living over the years in spite of selling fat lambs for 6d each, and wool for 4d a pound during the depression.
NZ Gazette 1917 pg 1943
Men called up under the Military Service Act 1916 for Service in NZEF.
* 31805 Fenn Harold Liveing Sheep Farmer Grange Hill Cave. (* = previously volunteered.)
Harry was not called up, age health and being a farmer probably accounted for this
Using his considerable knowledge and practical and mechanical skills he installed electricity at Grange Hill and at other properties in the district. He sold out in 1945 for L7500 (Govt price controls) and retired to Gleniti a rural suburb of Timaru NZ, they moved to Cambridge Court Christchurch in 1964.
Harry a bachelor in Maungati for 35 years was much respected in the community. An accomplished magician, he enjoyed entertaining the children of the district, and at his own cost installed and maintained a telephone service in the area. He played the piano a little! Grange Hill was popular for picnic and shooting parties hunting pig and wallaby. Harry was a gentle and loving father who was always slightly in awe of a life that brought him into farming which he "loved", and then a loving wife and family at age 62.
MAUNGATI RESIDENT HONOURED
A social and dance was held in the Maungati School on November 3 for the purpose of making a presentation to Mr H. L. Fenn, to welcome his wife, and to extend the good wishes of the district to the newly-married couple.
Practically every household in the district was represented at the gathering, as were the households of the surrounding districts.
The size of the gathering and its representative character were eloquent testimony of the general esteem and affection that Mr Fenn has won in his long residence at Grange Hill. Speeches expressing that esteem were made by Messrs A. Cookson and D. Dent, and Mr Bird, as the oldest resident and the one first associated with Mr Fenn when he came to Grange Hill, presented Mr and Mrs Fenn with a silver tea set on behalf of the residents.
Mr Fenn, returning thanks on behalf of himself and his wife, deferred to the present and the numbers present as just another visible example of the friendship and goodwill on the part of all which he had enjoyed throughout his residence in the district, and which he keenly appreciated. Miss N. Neale played for the dancing and Mrs Dent, Mr W. Smith and Mr W. Forman contributed extras.
Extracts from The Silver Tussock.
By Allister Evans.
Mr H. L. Fenn: H. L. Fenn was born in Richmond, Surrey, England. But more than this he was born in the historic Palace of Richmond which was Queen Elizabeth I's favourite residence, and where she died. By chance he was born in the same room.
H. L. Fenn was educated in a Preparatory School in Dover, Hailbury College, and in Switzerland. He came to New Zealand in May 1906. Actually he had trained in England as an electrical engineer, but due to poor health came out to New Zealand, hoping to find suitable work. After a few weeks in Christchurch with his uncle, Bishop Julius, he went as a cadet to his cousin by marriage, A. S. Elworthy of Holme Station, where he worked for four years. Then in 1910 he took possession of Grange Hill from M. Ormsby, and there he remained till 1944. In October 1939, he married Marjorie Barker.
While at Maungati he was instrumental for having party lines installed in the telephone system, linking up the settlers to the central bureau. At his own cost he maintained the line till he left the district. He took an interest in religious matters and was a member of the Anglican Church Committee. For several years the Timaunga School Picnic was held at Grange Hill, and was looked upon as the event of the year.
Life on a sheep station frequently meant very long hours. In order to commence mustering in time, it was necessary to be up long before daylight, have breakfast, prepare the horses and dogs, and be out on to the hills in the semi-darkness. The neighbouring runholders all helped one another during the several musters of the year. They also co-operated for the marking and docking of the lambs, for the weaning and dipping, and whenever help was required. During his many years of hard work and toil on Grange Hill, Fenn experienced all the joys and sorrows of farming. In 1932 was a record low price for wool - four pence (i.e. (three cents) per pound, which brought with it a slump in the prices of sheep as well. There were floods and droughts in the same year. But over the years, he saw the run being developed very much to his satisfaction.
He made many warm and lasting friendships in the local community, the remembrance of which will always remain with him. In 1944 Mr and Mrs Fenn and the family left Maungati to reside in Gleniti, where the children attended school and later travelled daily to the Timaru High School for their secondary education. The Gleniti property was taken over by their son Edward after his marriage in November 1964. Early in 1965, Mr and Mrs Fenn went to live in Christchurch.
A Memory of Pat (Phil) McManus, a neighbour.
I remember my father sending my brother and me on our horses up to the Hunters Hills to ask Harold Fenn when it would be suitable for us to bring our sheep to his run to have them dipped. This was in 1917. As we approached the house we met a lad and asked for Mr Fenn. "He's not here" was the retort. "Well then Mrs Fenn, Well I dint recon we don't keep her here" said the lad in a very broad Scottish dialect. We then learnt that Harold Fenn was a bachelor. I forget about the dipping, but I guess the sheep were dipped at Fenns until my father built his own dip.
Ref: The Silver Tussock (Pareora river basin/ Timaru) by Allister Evans 1975 A history of Holme Station, Craigmore, Maungati, Cannington, Craigmore Downs, Motukaika, Upper Pareora and Alpine from the 1860s onwards. 235pp b&w photos and maps.
Images of the original documents are recorded in this family history under "Event Pictures"
March 6, 1887
Thank you very much for the nice long letter you sent me I hope you enjoyed going to the Wax Works There is a very nasty bloodhound here and it has four pretty big young ones, we were going out for a walk and we met all five and the largest of them the father came up to me and looked up into my face with its great big blood eyes and it nearly knocked me over and there is a nother great Colley dog it bit a boy's head
I often went into Dover and there are lots of men of war There are such a lot of soldiers here and come in every Saturday and they drill I am very happy here I am the youngest boy in the school the oldest boy is eighteen I hope Auntie Isabella is quite well I am in a great hurry because I have got to go down and say me scripture I have racked my brain to think of some more to say.
Goodbye from your loving cousin.
Harold Liveing (Fenn)
PS Excuse is writing
Letter a written on four sides of a plain sheet.
February 19th 1889
I wish you many happy returns of your birthday I would send you a present only as I am not allowed to go into Dover I cannot but I must give you one when I come home I am sending you a few foreign stamps I am afraid this will not get to you at breakfast time as there is no post The smudge I made was because a boy pushed my hand and I smudged it.
We are having very nice weather here are you I hope you're birdie and my bully are all right. There is a man here walking for a lot of money I don't know how much he is walking for Please give the emperor a lot of kisses from me. That term is going very quickly how many stamps have you do you know could you tell me next time Aunt Pollie writes and tell me what present you get.
I have know more to say
Give my love Naney Goat and all from your loving brother
Written on 3 of 4 sides of a small piece of notepaper headed with the family IMMOBILIS crest, and some squiggles from Harry.
I am sending you a little prayer book which I hope you will like. I wish you dear many happy returns of your birthday I hope you will spend a happy day, the Emperor Baa wants to know how you will get your hamper, he thinks you ought to come home. I tell him you will very soon come home. I am teaching him to read, he knows all his letters, I tell him if he is good I will give him a prize at Easter, he has just asked if Harry to read this letter, he sends you lots of love and six kisses. Bully is all right he tries to sing I think he will soon. We shall be so pleased to see you again. I am sure you will be pleased with the mail coach. I hope we shall have nice weather in the holidays so as to have nice long walks with it.
With much love to you dear Harry
May 17th /91
Thank you very much for your lovely long letter I got it this morning at breakfast I was very sorry to have miss you but I thought you would be at the station when I got there. I've found a Robins next in an old tin just thrown into the hedge I am going to bring it home with the nest inside when the young birds have gone it looks so lovely. I should have liked to see that chap in the water with the boat upside down. There is going to be a grand fete here tomorrow just the house so we shall have the merry go rounds. I am going to get a full-sized adder and get it stuffed or if I cant do that put it in a bottle of gin so as to keep a nice. I am glad little Asper Welle Welle One is all right I will try and get you some stamps if I can. I am getting on with my net lovely. I have been into Dover twice this week, walked in and come by the train it was lovely. I hope we have a half holiday tomorrow we ought to we had one last year. Give my love to Aunt Isabella Pie Nanny and all from your loving cousin
Harold L. Fenn
Written on four sides of plain notepaper with a pen and ink sketch of Harry striking an adder under a tree, Harry's signature has a large flourish.
July 19th /91
I have not written to you for a long while I am so sorry but the Sundays were so hot, today is not very hot. We break up on the 31st I wish I could come home on the 30th or when Heidleberg breaks up. We had a lovely game of cricket on Saturday but we had to go up to the house because it was raining it was a pity I made 18 rounds. We had a tremendous thunderstorm on past Wednesday week the hail stones were as big as large marbles. I am dreading the examinations I do hate them I hope little Asper is all right I can swim a long way in salt water we go to the baths every Monday and Friday. Mr Hammond is always telling me he wants me to say, I want to stay in some ways and I want to go in others. Fritzies Hammond says that he is coming to our house in the holidays, when do your holidays begin. All the hay is cut and we had awful fun siding the wagons when they were full, it is all gone now, and the field looks very dull and bare. We have had heaps of tennis this time. Give my love to Aunt Isabella and purra Pie Nanny Tip Baa and everybody from your loving cousin
PS How nice it will be living in the same house with you
Written on four sides of a small piece of notepaper.
Nov 4th /94
Thanks awfully for that letter of yours it was a lovely one. I am afraid I could not write to you in a French lesson although I loathe it. I will make some parts of the sledge in the carpenter's shop, I cant put it together here it would be such an awkward thing to take home. I am afraid I have not written to Cyril yet. I am afraid I have not got my house badge yet but I have hopes for it, I have not knocked out any teeth as yet this term. Was it Icey!!! you burnt in the gas how lovely if it was. We break up on the 20th, no more school for me. Yesterday Charlie came down and we gave him tea in the study and we watched the match, our school XV is jolly good this year, you know Cheese the brother of the one at Temple Grove is in this study he is in the school XV We will have a concert next holidays, I hope we have plenty of snow, do you remember our tobogganing last year (the second syllable tit tit) Jumbo is flourishing he has not asked me to tea yet beastly insolence of him. I really have no more to say
From your loving brother
Harold Liveing Fenn
Written on four sides of a small note sheet with a sketch on the back by Harry of an arm with a note "all its grandeur" another arm with a large muscle is scratched out. This letter is written to his brother Van, Icey was the boy's name for Vans withered left hand.
Feb 19th /95
I am awfully sorry this letter won't get to you on your birthday, but I forgot the days, and I was reading the paper which has just come which is the one for the 18th I thought today was the 18th. I wish you many happy returns of your birthday. It is not half bad out here although it is not very nice being such a long way far away from home. I am sending you a picture out of an advertisement, it will give you a little idea of what this end of the lake is like. We are having very cold weather out here but nothing like as cold as it is in England. I will now try and explain the favourite pastime out here namely luging, well, you go up one of the roads which go up the mountain which is very slippery and when you have got up as high as you like, you sit down on your luge which is like a toboggan only higher and my lighter built, and then you start, and you go a tremendous pace guiding yourself with your feet or with two pieces of wood. I had a dreadful journey out here, I did not get here till late on Tuesday, travelling all Sunday, it was fearful. I have to wear blue glasses to keep the glare of the sun and snow off. I am learning the piano I am getting on fairly well with it, it is funny to go everywhere and hear them gabbling French, or Italian. It is rather awful, sometimes I go into a shop and say Avez vous des and then I have not the faintest idea of the French for what I want so I say it in English with a beaut French pronunciation sometimes, or make gestures. It is Icey all right, these things hanging down are supposed to be icicles (sketch of a finger and a thermometer) and the thermometer as you see below zero. We have had about a foot and a half of snow while I have been here. I hope we have no more. I have got a catty and I catty all the birds I see I have not got one yet; but I hope to soon, the birds consists principally of jays and magpies. I saw some Eagles the other day flying around the tops of the mountains. I have only skated once since I have been here I like luging better. There are 11 boys here they are all very jolly chaps. We do plenty of work here, we begin at 9 and go on without a break till half past 12 and then I go home to dinner (I suppose you know I don't live at Mr Musson's house but Mr Lewises which is about three quarters of a mile away), then we begin work again at 4.30 and go on till seven then I come home and have supper and do an hour work after. For summer we do work from 2 till 4.30 as it is too hot to . . . . .
Written on four sides of a sheet which has an embossed letter head of a lion and cross in a shield under which is "SUB CRUCE CANDIDA", the remainder of the letter has been lost.
Clos de Grand Champ
Feb 16th /96
My Dear Van
I wish you many happy returns of the day, and hope you will have many of them. The winter this year has been quite a phenomenal one, we haven't had a drop of rain or any snow since the 29th of December, we have had some very good skating up the Rhone valley. Yesterday I went for a long walk in some mountains in the valley, in consequence of the little snow on the mountains you can go up to 6000 feet or more, but where there is not much sun, there is plenty of snow. Just fancy poor
P(?)iddle having measles how very sad, I hope they won't be a bad attack. I have been paying a call or two on a dentist here, it is rather awkward to jaw French when he has his two hands down your throat but I got on all right. I am going to have one out soon. I suppose you enjoyed the rest of your holidays very much, going to the theatre's etc. There was a fire just near here this morning and all the people in Villneure turned out and formed two long lines down to the lake and passed water up in every conceivable thing that could hold it even in stools "er - tit!! - tit!!", for fire engines are few and far between here. I have been doing a lot of luging at the beginning of the year it was very good then, but it has all finished now, worse luck. Old Mrs Potts has been getting in furious rages with everyone "God only knows why" er-tit!! tit!!, she has got two cats and it is rather curious but the cats don't seem to like us, funny isn't it.
How is (a sketch of a thermometer and some fingers, the transcriber takes this to be a reference to Icey) I suppose there is a great demand for it now the weather is so hot. I have been playing tennis a good deal lately, I shall play a good deal next week I hope. I heard from Gerald the other day I had no idea at poor Adria had been so ill, I hope she will soon be better. Montreux is very full now and the balls and theatricals have just come to an end now. We have got two new chaps here this time Knight-Bruce the chap I'd brought out with me, he's an awful shit I think and Pott is the name of the other he is almost as bad, it is rather awkward having a chap called Pott here. I have been doing so little lately that I have no more to say, hoping you will have a happy birthday.
I remain your loving brother.
Harold L Fenn
PS I suppose you will give your fags a holiday on your birthday n'est ce pas
Written on four sides of a piece of heavy note paper, overwritten slightly on the front.
Feb 18th 1897
My dear Van
I wish you many happy returns of the day. "As Colchester is such a bad place for presents, I will keep mine until the holidays!!!!" I like my life at Paxmans very much my daily routine is this I get up at about five or ten to six, begin work at half past, leave off at 8.20 come home for breakfast (during the said breakfast Edgar reads the billiards to me), begin again at 9 go on till 1 p.m. and then from 2 till 5:30 p.m., so I have a good long day of it. I have got a nice bicycle. Lately I have purchased a cyclometer and gear case. Since the beginning of last week up until now I have been 711/2 miles. When you come home I will take you round the works and show you the molten iron, furnaces etc. Bo and Chick are still both flourishing. I remain in haste your loving brother
Harold L. Fenn PW
PS My latest title is PW (Paxmans workman)
Written on four sides of a small notepaper with a Grey Friars letter head
59 Devonshire Rd
February 19th 1904
My dear Van
Very many happy returns of this eventful day the 20th of February, my dear brother I am afraid our correspondence lately between us, can hardly be called heavy, what say you. As you perceive by the above address I am still in the land, famous for its time. Lately I have been inflicting my, I trust, welcome presence on our various relations etc in the neighbourhood, namely that the Todds, Routh's, Julius's, Cotes. I am going down to the Todd's tomorrow for a weekend; and the following Saturday I honour Uncle Arthur again with my company. I enjoyed the billiards last time I was there immensely, we were at it till 11:45 p.m. I saw a few weeks ago that Colonel Conor was appointed Governor of the Isle of Wight prison, (Parkhurst I believe it was) so I suppose the family will be retiring from Chelmsford; just my blooming luck; you will have an all your own way now with the five Miss Conor's. I am at present walking about with a bread pudding hanging to my fingers as I have managed to poison my hand. I expect you have been having some splendid sea's lately during these high gales, we have been having the river into the new engine room's during these very high tides. I went and saw the "Orchid" at the Gaiety last Saturday it was very good indeed. I expect you have forgotten what the inside of a theatre looks like out in the Wild West of Cornwall. I wrote and congratulated father on his find; I expect it bucked him up tremendously (the autograph I mean), wild horses wont drag him away from them now. I had a very quiet Christmas; and was very disappointed not to get any rabbiting; but the poor Church's have had rather a job to keep the wolf from the door, during Harry C's long illness, so they sold all their rabbiting ferrets etc. Mrs Gardener looked as well as ever have you written to her since Christmas as she asked me your address, and I forgot to give it her. I shall be down here for a few weeks still, I am in no hurry to get away; although I object to 5:15 in the morning but still I have a lump it Now my dear brother, I must bid you farewell, once more wishing you every luck and happiness for your birthday and the future
From your affectionate brother
Harold L. Fenn
Written on four sides of plain notepaper, partly overwritten on the front.
Alike to those we love, and those we hate,
We say no more at parting at life's gate,
To him who passes out beyond earth's sight,
We cry - as to the wanderer for a night
We have no dearer word for our hearts friend
To him who journey's to the worlds far end,
And sears our soul with grief, thus we say
As unto him who steps but o'er the way
Hand written on two sides notepaper unaddressed and unsigned it is clearly written to Harry - the handwriting is very close to Nanny Goat's ?
Rev E Vanderzee Fenn
Nr Cape Town
My dear Van
Just a line to tell you how I am getting on. We expect to arrive at Cape Town on Saturday next, we ought to arrive Friday at what with bad coal and high seas against us, we are a bit late. I spent a very enjoyable six hours ashore at Tenerriffe; having the pleasure of seeing Alphonso VIII of Spain about four times that morning, each time we gave him some good hearty English cheers, he waved his hand to us and smiled and the Queen Mother threw us a kiss. It was very warm that day, the town was all beautifully decorated and all the people had their best gala dress on. We went and saw the bull ring; I understand the King has expressed his wish that they should discontinue bull fighting there, I expect Princess Ena is bringing him up to scratch. We came board again about 3.0 p.m. laden with fruit etc and we haven't seen a thing since except two boats that passed us in the tropics. When we crossed the line Neptune came aboard, and we had the usual ceremony. I expected I should have to go through it so clad myself suitably for the occasion they pounced on me and bought me up before him and then "shaved" me ? and back I went into a large tank of water where I was well ducked. We are holding some support yesterday I am in for the final of the potato race, run off today. There are very few musicians on board, so we can't get any good music. The man who plays the organ at the morning service refuses to play twice on a Sunday, so I play in the evening. I managed to get through the chants all right. I am writing to all the brothers I shall have quite a bundle at Cape T. Seen heaps of porpose's and flying fish etc.
Best love to yourself from your
Harold L Fenn
Written on a patent notepaper with sealing flaps, addressed with a one penny stamp Frank Pier head Cape Town. Some pencil notes by Van on the back.
Rev E Vanderzee Fenn
C/o A S Elworthy
My dear Van
I am writing to Rock to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year. It seems funny to me, here am I sitting down the first week in Nov to send you all Christmas greetings when we just beginning our summer.
I don't know whether father has sent round any of my letters to any of you. My occupation for the last seven weeks has been riding round paddocks looking after the sheep and lambs, it has been an exceptionally good year up to the present for lambing and the young crops. The agricultural year is of course from June to June here I regret to say I have only been to church twice since I have been here, but now the evenings and drawing out I must make an effort one of these Sundays, (when I get one to myself). I wish I had brought out my old bike; the price of bikes out here is something awful, a L10.10.0 machine out here costing 25L. I shall have to get one soon; but I am looking out for a bargain. Up to the present I like the life and work very much; of course I get fits of homesickness and doubts as to whether I shall ever do any good at this game but I must'nt give way to them. Mr and Mrs Arthur (the chief and his wife) have left worst luck; so I have to have all my meals in the cookshop now; I am very sorry as it was very nice for me before. Shearing begins next week. I expect my job will be branding ie I had to count out the sheep as they are finished, so many to each man, and then brand them according to their age and clear them out of the way ready for another lot. There are 25 shearer's so I shall have to bustle round start work at 5.30 and go on till it is dark. I am sending you one of my photos which I trust you will be pleased with. Timaru doesn't boast of a really first class photo. We had a bad thunderstorm here at last Tuesday reminds me of (Alice through L G), the thunder seems much louder out here, due no doubt to the mountains all round us. Hoping you will not mind the short scrawl, as I have a lot to get off by this mail, and not much time to do it either.
From your affect brother
Harold L. Fenn
Written on four sides of the line notepaper that date 1906 is entered in pencil. Envelope carries a one penny NZ stamp Timaru franked 10 November, the back is franked Dunedin NZ November 12-06 3 a.m.
C/o A S Elworthy
June 28th 1910
My dear Van
I think this past week is one I am not likely to forget for the rest of my life. Ella and the Boss left for Sydney on the 19th and I was to sleep in the house until they came back; as there was only the governess, the four children and half a dozen female servants. We all retired per usual Monday night; when about two o'clock I was woken up by the terrible cry of the "house is on fire" Tearing out a bed and down stairs to the back of the house I found the servants hall and wash house in flames; we fought against them for a short while but it was no good; and then I realised that the whole of the beautiful Homestead was doomed. The first thing was to see that everyone was safe and then summon help from the station (half a mile away) on their arrival we started to save everything that was movable downstairs; by the time we were driven out of the house by the flames we had saved practically everything in the front rooms downstairs. It was a very sad sight watching the destruction of the beautiful house; my eyes were suspiciously moist as I thought of the many happy days spent in it; alas all over now. The flames sweeping up from the back of the house burnt the stairs through so that the upstairs rooms were quickly cut off. The kids and the governess lost practically everything and I lost the few things I had up there including, worst luck, both my two pairs of eyeglasses. I sent in a claim for 8L but it was no good, as my policy only holds good as long as I am in this house. It was very sad for Ella and the Boss on stepping off their boat at Sydney to find this cable awaiting them. The kids were all so awfully good, owing to Miss Ford keeping so cool and quiet; it was a mercy she never lost her head. It was very merciful that the cook woke up then, and not a quarter of an hour later, for I am afraid there would have been lives lost. I am afraid it has shaken my nerves up considerably; the first two or three nights after, I sprang out of my bed two or three times dreaming the place was on fire; however that is over now. I am sending you a copy of a Timaru paper (not the leading one) The report is absurd and theatrical like in many ways, and I should think it is evident that the "Hero" was the man interviewed you might send it round to Charlie Cyril and Edgar. I am sending Aunt Ada and Mater one. Well, old chap, how are you getting on; about time you came out here I think. I expect you have had news of me from Aunt Ada before this. It was grand to have had her out here. Fare thee well, Van my boy
From your ever
Harold L. Fenn
Written on four sides of a notepaper.
Evening Post, Volume LXXIX, Issue 144, 21 June 1910, Page 8
A FORTY-ROOMED RESIDENCE. FLAMES SPREAD RAPIDLY.
TIMARU, This Day.
The homestead at Holme station, Pareora, Mr. A. S. Elworthy's residence, was destroyed by fire about 2 o'clock this morning The house contained about 40 rooms, and very little furniture was saved. The fire originated in the kitchen, and is supposed to have been caused by a defective chimney. The flames had a strong hold when discovered, and spread so rapidly that the children had to bo taken out in their night clothes. The building was insured for L3700, and the contents for L2060 in the Alliance office.
Ref Papers Past
Wednesday June 22 1910.
The Fire At Home Station
The Fight with the Flames
Unrehearsed Deeds of Daring
A Descriptive Account
" Never again!" these were the solemn words of an old servant, who stood beside the ruins of the magnificent structure known as the Holme Station homestead, that has been the home of Mr Arthur S. Elworthy for many years, and the home of his father before him. "Forty six years come next month" said the old servant reflectively, " and they'll never see it again".
The old fellow's conversation was so extremely melancholy that the "Post" representative hastened to change the topic to one of a more agreeable nature. It was only on Thursday last, it appears, that Mr and Mrs Arthur Elworthy took their departure for Australia, leaving behind them the fairly large retinue of domestic servants and farm assistants, and their four children Edward, aged eight years; Rachel, aged seven years; Bettie, aged five years, and Johnny, aged three years - in charge of the governess, Miss Ford. Mr P A Elworthy, of Gordon's Valley, returned last Saturday from a visit to Australia, while Mr Herbert Elworthy is at present touring the South Sea Islands. It was Mr and Mrs Arthur Elworthy's intention to have gone on an extensive motor car tour in Australia, but the fates were not kind to them, and immediately on Mr Elworthy stepping off the boat at Sydney he was handed the following startling communication: " Homestead totally destroyed by fire this morning".
The consternation of the recipient may be better imagined than described, and was intimated in a brief cable home "Returning by next boat"
Viewed yesterday, the huge mass of burning and smoking debris revealed merely the fact that a fire had taken place. There was little to indicate that a magnificent old building, teeming with historical associations for one of the oldest families in South Canterbury, and containing some L3000 worth of the finest furniture and curios to be found anywhere in the Dominion, was represented in those smouldering ashes. Yet such was the fact. The fine old home was estimated to be worth between L4000 and L5000 and was insured for L3700 while of the furniture was valued at something like L3000 and was insured for L2500. In a home of this description, however, as, in fact, in all homes more or less, there are articles of furniture whose commercial value for insurance purposes is but the merest trifle of the value that the owner places upon them. But curios, collected from all parts of the globe are infinite trouble and no little expense, were valued because of the associations that surrounded them, and the story of travel and adventure that each little article recall; their commercial value was not a consideration, in as much as the owner was not prepared to sell them.
Features of the House
The house which was built of fine old seasoned timber, and plastered throughout, contained 26 rooms, in addition to a liberal provision of larders, cupboards, etc. The rear portion of the dwelling was erected by the late Mr Edward Elworthy in the year 1864, but it has had several additions made to it from time to time. The latest addition was the northern wing, containing a handsomely furnished billiard room. Among the 26 rooms were, of course numerous bedrooms; also two nurseries (one downstairs and the other upstairs), a school room, a sewing room, a morning room, a drawing room, dining room, dressing rooms, etc. Every apartment was furnished in a thoroughly complete and up-to-date manner, and contained every convenience that a modern gentleman could desire. The whole dwelling was lit by electricity, supplied from a special powerhouse situated about 30 yards to the west of the dwelling. In the rear portion of the structure were situated the kitchen, the scullery, the servants sitting room, and to the south of these rooms divided by a passage, were the cellar and the dairy. It was somewhere in this portion of the building, probably in the servants sitting room, that the fire originated. Credence is lent to this deduction by the fact that the fire was first noticed in this quarter, and it was certainly the most thoroughly burnt out section of the whole dwelling. The servants declare that they left a low burning fire in a perfectly safe condition, but it is a well-known fact that it is in these low burning, apparently safe fires that little coal gas explosions sometimes take place, with the result that burning cinders are thrown into the room, and disaster follows. There would seem to be still plenty of reason, in this modern era, for the use of the old-fashioned safetyguard, that was supposed to perform the double duty of barring the outward progress of exploded cinders, and of swelling the dividends of the insurance companies.
The Holme Station, it should be mentioned, is a magnificent estate of about 5000 acres of first class land. The homestead faced to the east, and from the front one could obtain an un-interrupted view of the beautiful country that stretches in one great plain as far as the eye can reach. To the northwest, towers Mount Horrible; to the west the chain of hills, some distance behind which lies at the Timaru Borough's Pareora water dam. The homestead is well protected by tall plantations, while in the immediate vicinity of the destroyed dwelling are beautifully laid out grounds, containing flower beds, rose avenues, and beautiful English and colonial trees. To the west and with its branches resting over the roof of the dwelling was an aged walnut tree which, to the homestead hands at least, has now a melancholy historical interest. Its huge blackened stem and charred branches speak eloquently of the part it played in the sorry conflagration.
At 11 o'clock on Monday evening the maids and the governess retired to bed; the children had long since been wrapped in the arms of slumber. The homestead male hands, with the curious propensity of the sex, have not yet acquired the habit of early retirement. At 1:00 o'clock a.m. one of these hands sauntered across the yard for a final breath of fresh air before retiring. The night was an extremely beautiful one. Though moon shone with unwonted brilliance, and the gentleman in question confesses to the belief that the old homestead never looked half so charming as it did that morning. At the hour mentioned he is quite satisfied that there was not a suggestion of the coming fate of the old home. Everything looked perfectly peaceful, and the servant's sitting room, shaded as it was by the dairy, was quite dark, and there was not the faintest illumination of any description that could serve to arouse his suspicions. In short, he is quite positive that at 1:10 a.m. the house had not caught fire, and at that hour he retired to bed perfectly easy in mind.
There is something unusually tragic about a country fire. There is no fire alarm to give, no fire brigade to call, and, as a rule, no fire appliances with which to quell the outbreak. A country fire is almost invariably a devastation, which the owner and friends are compelled to watch in exasperating impotence. The hand of the clock had just past the hour of two o'clock when Mrs Popham, who occupies the position of cook at the Homestead, was awakened by a slight crackling noise. Womanlike, she did not wait to argue as to whether she was dreaming, but was alert on the instant. One moment of complete wakefulness was sufficient to satisfy her that the house was on fire, and she immediately sounded the alarm. Rushing to the maids and governess's quarters she called to them to get out of the house, and after awakening Mr Fenn (the cadet), she rushed to the men's quarters. With an alacrity born of the moment, Mr Pearce (the under gardener), Mr Jones (the dairy man), and Mr Philip (the chauffeur, and son of the manager), leapt from their respective bunks and rushed to the scene of the outbreak. It was immediately apparent, however, that any attempt to save the Homestead was hopeless. Huge flames and clouds of smoke were curling up from the servant's sitting room and the scullery, and already the flames were eating their way to the northern wing and the centre of the house. A call on the telephone showed it to be out of working order, and, without waiting to debate the point, the chauffeur made haste to the station where the farmhands reside, in search of assistance. The dairy man, and Mr Fenn set to work on the only possible hope before them, that of saving some of the more valuable furniture. The six maids, the governess, and the four children, clothed only in the night robes, had by this time found their way on to the lawn, and there, barefooted, and exposed to the bitter frost and the bedewed ground, they stood shivering and debating the best course to pursue. After a short consultation, as the front of the house was free from flames and smoke, it was decided to place the children in one of the rooms there out of the cold. Not a whimper was heard from the little mites, and during their progress out of the smoking rooms, on the lawn, and into the front of the house, and out again to safety, they behaved like true little New Zealanders. The under gardener here revealed a commendable spirit of chivalry and courage. The appearance of the shivering maids on the lawn on was too much for him, and, although the rooms were ablaze, he determined to enter the servant's bedrooms and secure some of the missing garments. Decision and action were the work of a moment, and the pulses of the bystanders were quickened by the sight of Mr Pearce disappearing head first through the window. A couple of minutes later he emerged blackened but triumphant the proud possessor of a huge bundle of feminine garments. The maid's thanks were brief and their robing operations under the shade of the fir trees of almost as brief duration. To the front of the house Mr Fenn, the dairy man and the under gardener then directed their attention, and were in the midst of a hurried salvage operations, with the assistance of the electric light which had been turned on, when the station hands arrived in breathless haste. Then the salvage work, nobly assisted by the women, began in earnest. The handsome grand piano of inconvenient bulk, was dragged through the broad windows and safely deposited on the law. Then followed several valuable pictures, and other miscellaneous articles off value. In the midst of the operations the electric light gave out, the wire having been burned through, and the salvagers were left in semidarkness. Still salvage work went on, and valuable crockery ware, ornaments, and further pictures were removed from the front rooms. In his hurry the under gardener had the misfortune to put his head through one of the pictures, and was much relieved yesterday afternoon on receiving the assurance that the picture had not greatly depreciated in value. His comrades aver that his appearance through the window, with the tangled framework about his shoulders and a handsome painted face surrounding his own smoke begrimed, though not by any means unhandsome countenance, was most interesting. Almost the last article to be saved was the famed picture table the property of Mr Bond, whose wife had charge of the homestead at the time of the fire. This unique piece of work, made of innumerable small panels of wood, and picked out in the resemblance of the Saviour, is valued at 500 guineas, and the under gardener was also the hero of its salvation. Hearing that it was missing, he entered the burning building, and after considerable suffocating rummaging among upturned furniture, he triumphantly brought out the valuable article uninjured. At this stage Mr P A Elworthy, of Gordon's Valley Station some 3 miles distant, arrived with the force of men, and they, along with the Holme Station hands, rendered invaluable assistance. Shortly after 3 o'clock however, the tremendous heat thrown out by the burning building, compelled the discontinuing of the salvaging operations, and all hands stood by to watch the final stages of the destruction of the magnificent old home. And, overlooking the destruction involved, it was a truly superb spectacle. The night was one of perfect calm, and to this fact is due the entire lack of injury to the powerhouse and other scattered buildings. The flames shot straight upwards, and, curiously enough, the greater volume of direct flame came through the several tall chimneys. At about four o'clock of the upper storey gave way and fell with a loud crash onto the foundations. With the illumination afforded by the moon and flames, the surrounding half mile of country was lit up almost as bright as by daylight, and it would have been possible to have picked up a pin anywhere within 200 yards of the homestead. The number of watchers greatly increased as the morning advanced, traps, loaded with would-be helpers, arriving from all directions. Some excitement was created by the rapid explosion of cartridges within the house, and finally by a loud explosion in the cellar. Not before seven o'clock did the flames abate much in fury, by which time the old house was a mere mass of burning debris. The manager of the station (Mr Philip) was promptly on the scene, but, like the other watchers, was unable to do anything to check the disaster.
A number of visitors from Timaru and surrounding districts motored or drove out and inspected the ruins yesterday afternoon. The debris continued to smoulder throughout the entire day, and today (Wednesday) was still smoking. The salvaged effects were all removed to places of safety yesterday. It is almost impossible to distinguish any article of furniture in the ruins. The destruction has been most complete. Five tall chimneys are the sole standing relics of the homestead. A pot of lard on the kitchen range, the misshapen framework of one of the maids bicycles, a broken bath, and old "luck" horseshoe nailed in a prominent position on one of the chimney stacks, and innumerable scarred the books are the sole distinguishable remnants.
The servant maids lost practically all their effects. Two of them lost bicycles, and one L7 in cash, while all lost more than they could afford. The shrunken shrubs about the house bear silent testimony to the heat of the flames.
Yesterday afternoon a curious relic was unearthed amongst the embers by a visitor in the form of a pretty Dolton Ware cup, quite uninjured.
Ref: Hocken Library Dunedin 2008
20 Sept 10
My dear Van
I really forget whether I have written to you, since I became a landed proprietor. The future which was always rather a gloomy outlook before; is now all change. I have a home to work up; and perchance I might one day take to myself a wifee. It is a pretty little homestead nine rooms in it and a nice verandah facing the sun. The gardens both kitchen and flower are well stocked and looked after. I have got a very good man with me. He has been on a place fifteen years. He does all my cooking, washing etc. This place is about 121/2 miles back inland from Holme Station, so I am about 25 miles from Timaru. There are about 4100 acres nominal, as a matter of fact there is over 5500; of course a lot of it is very rough and steep. The highest parts of my country run up higher than the highest mountain in Great Britain 4540 ft is my limit. As regards the stock I have about 2400 sheep 20 head cattle, two horses, etc. If the price of wool and lambs keep up I ought to make 400L per annum clear. I shan't do that this year because I shall have a lot of extra expenses with regards to the transfer of the place. You know I cabled home to Mater to see if she could advance me L1500; and with my own I could then raise the required L3000 pounds I had to show. I am now borrowing all the money I want off A S Elworthy, and playing him 5%. So now "my boy" when you visit your poor brother; he can give you a bed in his own house, instead of getting shelter for you in someone else's. I feel very lonely at times, but will get used to that soon. My lambing is just starting I hope I shall get a good return of youngsters. I hope you are keeping fit, as "your humble" is. I am glad to say that Uncle C and Aunt Alice and all the New Zealand relations are in the best of health. My nearest neighbours are only about three miles away but I like my own fireside best, so I don't expect I shall go out much except Sundays. Before I left the Station; all the hands got up a farewell dance; and in the middle presented me with a very handsome English saddle and bridle; very nice of them all I thought. I responded with a few (very few) suitable words. I have furnished one room in my mansion; in which I live and have my being. Now my brother "au revoir" from your affect brother
Harold L. Fenn
Written on four sides of a notepaper.
Harry had an entertaining mind, at the time of the birth of his daughter Katherine (Aug 1945) he wrote this note to his son, most of it is lost. The first part is in "looking glass writing" see picture file.
. . . . . pen is running backward. . . . . I cant stop it most annoying I call it I expect it will get all right in a minute or so - there I am all right again now Mrs Banty's chicks are due tomorrow morning, I am afraid we . . . . .
On the back is Harry's drawing of a buxom cow with the writing. Where's that "Boss of mine - 6 o'clock and not milked yet - I'm positively, busting".
Cosy Cot !!
My own precious Mummy
With joy and delight I got sure to loving letters this morning - I retired to the verandah and basking in the glorious sun I perused them over and over again - bless you my darling; but I'm sure you are well content, when you know the joy they gave me - I am so glad to hear all the good news of the family, and I am so glad my darling one is having a quiet restful time - I am much relieved to hear the dip is covered; but I could hardly believe that Bob (Ford) would not take some precautions, to guard his own daughter's safety. Spent a quiet evening with R (Rachel) and Ham, the two youngsters had a picture party, so we three just listened to Mackagar(?) and Holland and talked till 10:15 when I left, incidentally we got on to Plunket, and R let out the fact that she hadn't given anything; that started me off, and I think I scored heavily on all my points - no heat about it just a quiet talk - Saw the storm coming up Monday evening, so flew for the bucket and up to Pollie? (Poly), to try and beat it - the cold wind soon came up, but I beat the rain, and was safe inside before it started. Jack Pots was a washout, too much statics. Am ringing you up in an hour or two's time I do hope I shall be able to hear you - I said 12:30 but I am making it later as I thought K might be "ish ish" as early as that - bless the little darling gave her a huge squeeze from her darling Daddy, and get her to give you a beautiful one from me - only one attack of indigestion; due to too many cakes and tea on Monday last, - I am fit as a flea with the exception of the usual trouble which is particularly stubborn this time I have finished the jar of molasses and I'm getting it filled today, as Ham wants me to sign some papers the sooner the better - and more than delighted and relieved to hear E is behaving so well.
Au revour my loved one, I look at the family Gallery lovingly when ever I am in the bedroom - hope to hear that your raucous (deleted) - I beg your pardon dulcet tones in about three hours. Fare thee well, till we meet
Every your loving old
Written on two sheets of notepaper very illegibly, R and Ham mentioned are the Sinclair-Thompson family, "ish ish" is sleep.
Taiko R D
Sunday the 31st 1947 3 p.m.
My darling old girl
I wonder what the "old Wiff" is doing at the moment, perhaps having a bit of ish ish - well after leaving you I deposited our son at "Kildonan" Margaret (Dent) hadn't arrived back and I forgot to tell Bev (Dent) of Mary's message however Mary (Ford) can ring Margaret herself. I passed Doug (Dent) at *Radon's as I journeyed home, arriving in due course at 5:45, and so eventually to bed where I found my darling's good night message awaiting me. An all electric breakfast next morn, made a mess of the poddgy left over for me it seemed to go into a lot of hard lumps, so I made some fresh. I turned the little "Banty" in with the rest she seemed to have gone off the cluck altogether - In the afternoon I went to the football match, and thoroughly enjoyed a good game Timaru or rather South Canty retaining the Hannon shield, beating the challengers Mid-Canty by 19 to 6 - I again rang Gladys third attempt and got her, they are living over at Cecil's, while their place is being redecorated etc, when she asked me if I wanted Bertie with great "presence of mind" I said "Oh no I was just ringing up to find out how Aunt Edie was". Cow milked, fowls fed, breakfast and all over by 9:30 this morning so went to Kirk, they had a new organist quite a young chap but "Oh boy could he play the organ" - the mountains skipped like lambs the thunder rolled etc etc and in the end he played a glorious voluntary, they all got up and made for the door as per usual but quite a lot came back and sat down and listened to it. Journeying home I called in at Rachels for half an hour and eventually it leaked out I was a "grass widower" so they promptly asked me down to evening dinner on Tuesday next with bridge after - a pleasing prospect my darling - Fleeing on from Rachels I came up to the Small's who had kindly invited me up There. Mrs S. frightened me with a platefuls she put in front of me however by removing half, I managed to leave nothing on my plate, she explained that Bill was a big eater and was helping me by his standard? So back to Cosy Cot where I am now writing to my darling - how are you dear one I hope you are having a nice lazy time and how is the darling K., my word how I miss you; I hope you are taking great care of my precious "daut", not over laying her or letting her get near that awful dip or the various creeks about. I thought the wind last night would blow in some of the windows in the front of a house it was "that"! strong however it died down before midnight. Well my beloved one I do hope you will take it easy and have a good spell. Dad's having a glorious time not a single symphony note or a crazy concerto rent the air last night, I listened to the start of a new serial "The Corsican Bros" promises to be good. My best regards to Lottie (Ford) and a huge "queeze" and lots of kisses to my darling one and a dear wee K. - Time for a cuppa 4-5
You're ever loving old
PS Shall ring you up 12:30 next Wednesday on chance you will be at home, see my darling "filly" is handy
Written on two sheets of notepaper rather illegibly, Harry has just left Margot it seems with their old neighbours, the Ford's at Foxdown Maungati, probably to give Margot a rest, Harry presumably had to stay home to milk the cow. Edward (the compiler of this!) was left with the Dent family, also in Maungati, who were great friends and very much enjoyed having Edward to stay, over the years, as they had lost their only son in WW II. Edward also has many happy memories of staying with the Dent's and their three pretty daughters! *Mrs Radon operated the telephone exchange which Harry had installed in the district many years before.
To the darling old whiff who has given me 11 years of happiness and loving care.
Bless you my own darling.
Not having been in town lately I am giving to my darling wife, who has made the 12 years of our married life so supremely happy for me, this little bit of paper, with my fondest love, and may the rest of our life together be one of continued happiness and love my darling.
Your loving old
The compiler is of the view that these two sweet little notes written by Harry were for wedding anniversaries. Fenn family finances were always such that presents were not necessarily the norm.
Harry now aged 84 wrote to his son, travelling in the North Island, on the occasion of his 21st Birthday. He still worked in the garden in spite a very painfull hip and knee.
Hadlow 4 R.D.
My dear old boy,
My warmest congratulations and love for your 21st birthday and as you step across the threshold to start your life may be a long happy and prosperous one, dear old chap. You are naturally in our thoughts all the time now, and I'm sure you are enjoying every moment of it. Mum has had a letter or two from Eine, giving us some details of you and your departure from . . . . . I soon "pilled" my heart attack off that Tuesday, and was undressing in the bedroom when she arrived home, as it turned out you had plenty of time. I turned turtle in the drain (Moores fence) yesterday my cries for help brought Mate along in great haste. Seeing his old boss wallowing in the muddy water, he thought "good oh, here's a game", dived into the drain, and then all over me, in the way you know he can show his excitement. I was well mucked up when Mum came to my rescue and pulled me out. Going out to tea at Fred Smiths this afternoon, when Mum hopes to have a nice talk on stocks and shares! with Fred. No news here as usual, Sandy and Mate flourishing ditto Mum and K.; please note the order in which I put them! Some interesting looking parcels have arrived for you, something to do with television or radio? The stamps on the parcel were of some interest to Mum. Hope you can read this my hand is a very cold. Best of love to you my dear boy and every good wish for your future.
From your loving old Dad
To the King of Pugs
Though is the best little dog of his day?
The quickest the wisest of the brightest I say,
Who sneezes and cries like a good little man,
And does all that you tell him as well as he can.
Who shuts to the door with a bang bang bang?
And rings the bell for Elizabeth Ann,
Who cries when you're ill and laughs when you're pleased,
And, Oh! never bites when even he's teased.
Who hates the white cat with unutterable scorn?
Who calls on mother and granny each more on?
Who loves the best place on the hearth rug soft?
Who jumps on your lap every day so oft?
His cousins can't hold a candle to him,
Although they are pretty and both very slim,
But they've not got his brains, nor his curly tail,
Vote for "Tiptree" and "Pat" his love will not fail,
For his nature it is to be noble and true,
And he loves all his kin, and you, And me to.
The transcriber thinks that this doggerel was written by Harry, Pickles was of course the family dog.
"Ye Christmasse Pill"
An Art Nouveau card illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley (see picture file).
For more than 50 years the Fenn brothers circulated this Christmas Card between each of them in sequence annually, its history is recorded below.
Colchester Christmas 1899? - Still going strong
An Essex child, I came to light.
At Colchester one Christmas bright.
Born but one season's joy to give,
I little thought;
To such an hoary age to live.
The Christmas seasons come and go,
In years of joy and years of woe.
And though I'm worn and scarred and old,
I still survive;
Nay more, I'm worth my weight in gold
And thus encouraged, still l cling.
To life, and trust some joy to bring.
So please accept now, if you will
My Reader dear;
A greeting from Ye Christmasse Pill.
Ye Christmasse Pill
The History of My Life.
Having attained my 30th birthday, it has seemed good to me that I write a history of my life and the strange experiences which I have undergone, for it may well be, that the matter in which I came into this world, my miraculous escape from a painful death and my subsequent wanderings be, in truth, forgotten, unless set down on paper for the benefit of the generations to come.
My earliest recollections are of a shop in the High Street at Colchester, which indeed remains to this very day. With many other Christmas cards I lay there, frequently handled, but always passed over in contempt until on Christmas Eve 1899 I was purchased with other cards by two young men and carried off. My heart thrilled with triumph, at last I had been noticed, but my joy was too premature for later in the day I was brought out with the others and greeted with shouts of mockery and derision. "We could not possibly send this ugly card to anyone" was said and forthwith I was cast on the fire. Even now, although full thirty years have elapsed, I can feel the cruel flames licking my sides and searing my body, I gave myself up for lost but my dreadful fate appeared to touch the heart of the younger of the two brothers who had brought me and noticing that I was not wholly consumed he plucked me out of the flames. For a while I lay trembling but I was carefully preserved and a year later I was sent to the elder brother. To my great relief instead of mockery and hatred, he greeted me with joy and affection, in truth the ugly duckling had grown into a swan, and ever since then, every Christmas time I have visited one or other of the four brothers who now compose the family. I have crossed the ocean many times to far-off New Zealand, I have travelled all over England, whether it be that the North, South, East, or West and every home that I have come to, my advent has been hailed with joy and gladness. It is my dearest wish that I may continue on my joint journeys and that with my four faithful friends, not one missing, I may celebrate my jubilee.
When Van Fenn retired in 1951 to live with his brother Harry in New Zealand they were the surviving brothers, and the journeys stopped.
The transcription of this history was done in 2007, Ye Christmasse Pill, has now twice celebrated its jubilee, and has been retired to an archive.
Aubrey Beardsley was one of the most controversial artists of the Art Nouveau movement this card would have been avant garde in 1899.
Van wrote the above history and the transcriber suspects that it was he who saved Christmasse Pill.
Haileybury College, a Public School, is the successor to the East India Coy College it is located at Hertford Heath near Hertford. It was a liberal and humanitarian institution primarily for the education of prospective employees of the Honourable East India Company. The curriculum included oriental languages, its buildings are topped by a fine dome designed by William Wilkins.
Harry visited England in 1921, to see his brother Cyril who died while he was in England, he possibly travelled on the Orient Line S.S. Orvieto. However he returned on the S.S. Rimutaka sailing from Southampton 2 Dec 1921 via Panama. He visited England again in 1938.
Harry has not been found in the 1891 Census?
The pictures of Harry taken at Craigmore Maungati NZ are from the Craigmore visitors book of the time in the possession of Sir Peter Elworthy 1999.
Maungati (was Timaunga)
The Government acquired for settlement a block of land twenty miles west of Timaru which had been named Timaunga by the owner, who intended the name to mean 'cabbage tree hill.' For this meaning the form is incorrect; it should have been Maungati. When later a post office was to be opened in the locality, Johnnes Carl Anderson was approached by the Department and asked if the form was correct. He said No ; the place was a hill so it was not grammatically correct as a Maori word, and the Post Office changed it to Maungati and that name has been used for the school and the district generally, although the post office closed after only a few years of service. Ref: Olwyn
Medical Notes: Harry suffered for more than 30 years without complaint, from Arthritic pain in his hips and knees. A chronic asthmatic, remarkably he was not to suffer another attack from the day he married.
1. He appeared on the England census on 3 Apr 1881 in 1 Portland Tce The Green Richmond SRY. Harold is recorded as a son aged 4 born Richmond.
2. He appeared on the England census on 31 Mar 1901 in Wentworth Hse The Green Richmond SRY. Harold was a visitor at the Todd home Wentworth House, he is recorded as aged 24 single, employed as an Electrical App Engineer, born Richmond.
3. Correspondance: Images of, Harry's letters, 1887 To 1951.
4. Harry in 1881:
5. Harry and his dog Tip:
6. Harry at Grey Friars c1900:
7. Harry at Craigmore: South Canterbury NZ.
8. Margot & Harry: October 1945.
9. Harry: with his Daughter-in-law, and Grand-daughter.
Harry married Marjorie Helen Ruth "Margot" BARKER , daughter of Thomas Lugg Mankey BARKER  and Alice Catherine "Lal" JOHNSON , on 25 Oct 1939 in Cathedral Church Wellington N.Z. Margot was born on 5 Jun 1907 in Wellington NZ, died on 27 Jun 1970 in Fairlie N.Z. at age 63, and was buried in 1970 in Timaru N.Z.. The cause of her death was cancer (Multiple Myloma). She was usually called Margot.
Margot was the ninth child in an interesting and intelligent family of ten, she had an outgoing and enquiring personality with ideas and interests often ahead of her times. Margot was Head Girl at Wellington College, trained at Wellington Hospital, she met her husband Harry on board ship enroute to England. After travelling in Great Britain and Europe she nursed at Sunny Bank Hospital Cannes in 1938. Returning to NZ on the P&O ship Strathnaver in July-Aug 1939, and married. At age 32 she was 30 years younger than her husband.
Found in Margot's bible from her school days was notice of her engagement to Oxley Hughan c1935:
Hughan - Barker
Marjorie Helen Ruth fifth daughter of Mr and Mrs T L Barker of Lower Hutt to Oxley only son of Mr and Mrs Hughan of Eketahuna.
(HUGHAN - McDOUGALL: At Wellington, on April 16, 1943, Nan McDougall to Oxley Alexander Edgar Hughan. Oxley Hughan was a sometime film director with the NZ National Film Unit)
A recent wedding, which took place at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, was that of Marjorie. Helen, fifth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. L. Barker, Lower Hutt, and Harold Liveing, second son of the late Dr. and Mrs. E. L. Fenn, Alston Court, Colchester England. The ceremony was performed by the Ven. Archdeacon A. L. Hansell, assisted by Canon Davies.
The bride was wearing a model ensemble of turquoise blue with black accessories. A reception was held at the Grand Hotel, the bride and bridegroom leaving later for their future home in South Canterbury.
Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 109, 4 November 1939, Page 18
Margot was active in the National Party in Timaru, secretary of the Gleniti Branch, and in her Church, she was a Franciscan Tertiary. With an elderly husband raised by a Nanny in the Victorian era, most of the work and decisions of postwar child rearing fell to Margot, she was a tireless worker for her family, and in her beloved 1.5 acre garden most of which she created by her own efforts. The arrival of her brother-in-law Van in 1951 was a great stimulus to her spiritually, as Van was well educated biblically.
Margot suffered bravely with cancer for more than 10 years, her selfless attitude to life was an inspiration to many people, she derived great strength from her faith, an optimist to the end.
Margo's confirmation certificate includes:
Baptised:"Provisional Adult Baptism 5 Sept 1962 Ronald Plaistow Archdeacon Timaru."
Confirmed: 5th August 1923 by the Bishop of Wellington.
First Communion: 12 Augt 1923 at All Saints Church Kilbirnie.
Signed J H Sykes. Vicar.
It would be hard to better a description of Margo as a person, than the testimony that follows from her daughter-in-law, Joan.
Marjorie Helen Ruth Fenn
Margo Fenn was my mother-in-law - a role she played to perfection although this was a fact that eluded me until years had passed, life had taken many learning curves, and I was mature.
In 1963 Edward and I met en route to the United Kingdom so my initial contact with his mother was by correspondence, which we, over time, did regularly and enthusiastically. This was the foundation of what eventually became a compatible, loving friendship between us. I also corresponded with Margo's sister, Ine, getting to know her, albeit from afar, too. Sadly she died during the time we were returning to New Zealand on board the ship, 'Himalaya'. I had a cape for her in my luggage, which was the particular garment she always wore to camouflage her withered arm. The interest, sincerity and friendship shown by way of correspondence to a young girl whom they had never met were indicative of the Barker sisters' personalities.
Edward's parents, Margo and Harold Fenn, welcomed me into their family, warmly introduced me to relatives and friends, and I grew to have an extremely close and special bond with them, loving them without reservation. I learnt richly from them and I trust I have, in turn, passed on even a little of this knowledge and awareness to our children, Jane and Hamish.
Margo was an intelligent, discerning, modest, kind and wise woman with absolute devotion to her Christian faith. She was well read with an academic inclination. She was tall in stature, slim and had lovely blue eyes.
Unintentionally and unknowingly she introduced me to a different perspective of living that previously had not been part of my environment but which I appreciated and have continued to aspire to.
I have many clear memories; one of which being how she encouraged my new interest in cooking - it was her suggestion I should phone the local radio station for a Chicken Liver Pate recipe (not a usual menu item in those days!). Her freezer was commercial size and always full of an exciting variety of food. Gardening was another interest and subject of which she had a wide knowledge -visible by the very large, lovely flower and vegetable garden surrounding the house on the outskirts of Timaru. Ashamedly now, in my youthful ignorance I re-planted an area in that same garden with totally unsuitable flora. In her infinite wisdom Margo made no comment but certainly must have had many thoughts!
On our parental visits to Christchurch I recall how Margo would so generously loan me an expensive, tan, suede tailored coat which she knew I loved - at that time, as newly weds, we were careful with our finances and my wardrobe had limitations.
Material possessions were incidental to her, especially after she had become a member of the Order of St. Francis. She gave me a lovely square sapphire and diamond ring (from a broken engagement many years before) which I treasure along with two small glass violet vases and a blue felt sewing needle holder. All have different monetary value but are of equal value to me.
I particularly remember her wisdom in being non-judgmental and keeping a 'still tongue' where her newly married young son and daughter-in-law were concerned! An example I often bring to mind, and hopefully follow, now I am a mother-in-law.
She was terminally ill during the years I knew her but never did she complain or draw attention to her health. Edward and I would often be treated to thoughtfully prepared meals but, at this time, even cooking would sap the limited energy she had. Regular visits were made to Christchurch Hospital for blood transfusions to help her cope with daily living.
I treasure the memories I have of Edward's parents; they were my mentors, whom I respected, admired and loved. I look back with happiness and gratitude.
Joan P Baggott 2005
Joan Baggott's sentiments can be appreciated in the light of how both these women reached out to the other:
October 14, 1963.
My dear Joan,
It was certainly an inspiration on your part to write and introduce yourself instead of passing it on to Edward. It is such a joy to be able to write back straight away (your letter came this morning) and say how much we are all looking forward to welcoming you into our family circle. I know we will love you as Edward does and for me especially at this time it is a crowning happiness to know that my dear boy has found such a lovely girl to be his wife. The slides he sent arrived on Thursday last and I riffled through them with much impatience till I found the ones of you. Now we have to wait till we can get a crowd together and have a real film evening. Everyone is dying to see what he has been doing with his time and there is quite a sneaking suspicion abroad that he has somehow or another become involved sentimentally. I do hope your parents will feel as happy about our lad as we are about their daughter. As there seems to be nothing official about your engagement yet - I can't ask you for the address but naturally I shall look forward to getting to know them as soon as possible. To think I was so near to you will when I was in Auckland in March and I didn't even feel "vibrations" of all the exciting things that were coming to pass! I am very sorry that I've had to mar Edward's happiness by telling him of my illness. I'd have done anything to avoid it - but knowing my loving son, I know he would feel desperately hurt if I had kept silent any longer. I'm writing this in a hospital room where I await the first of the blood transfusions that will keep me going (I hope for a long time) I am to have a talk with the Medical Superintendent later, he will tell me what I am to tell Ed, so it will be straight from the horses mouth if one can so designate so august a person has a M.S.! I hope so much that what I hear will not mean that E misses out on his European tour. (I forgot to tell him to get some tablets for sterilising water, especially for his teeth but he'll know that I expect as a good soldier, he's done some jungle warfare). You will need the woollies and boots you spoke of buying for the South Island. It is arctic here today after a freezing day yesterday (6" of snow in Southland) the sun is shining anyway, and life seems very good. I think you will like Timaru, it's not an exciting place but the people are very sincere and steadfast types and at the present moment it's beautiful the gardens everywhere are full of tulips and blossom trees and the lawns are all brilliantly green after our foul wet winter. You won't see much snow here - except at a distance but the Southern Alps and our own hills are lovely all through the season. You'll have had quite enough trouble trying to decipher my handwriting Joan, so I won't write any more - but I know my husband and K. join with me in saying "Welcome Joan" and may we see you in our midst as soon as may be!
Ever your affectionate
Mrs E. L. Barker
C/o Maitland Conv Home
254 The Terrace
September 11, 1938
My darling one
Here's a nice reminder of spring (Bluebells) to cheer you up # a health germ Goes with it XXX. Harold and I have been having a most lovely day at Guildford in Surrey 28 miles from London. It is a very ancient town and full of interesting things besides having some of the loveliest scenery in England. The trees are all turning now some of them are simply magnificent, and the hedgerows are full of scarlet berries - tell daddy there is a big tree with berries and leaves exactly like his Cotorcaster? Pinosa - I'm going to try and find out what it is - the berry shrubs everywhere made me think of home. I long for news of you all - but there is a mail in tomorrow so mayhap I'll hear then. Do hope the body? are is getting well and strong and some sun to shine on you to help you along. All my love darling Mum
From your Margo
Miss A. A. Fenn
2 St Luke's villas
My dear Adria
This is to convey the joyful tidings that you are now the aunt of niece! Katherine Julius arrived a fortnight ago today and today I take my precious infant home! I'm longing to see Edward's face when confronted by his little sister - I believe he has been wild with delight. He wanted a sister so much more than a brother and so of course did Harry - a daughter. Dear old boy he has been housekeeping for himself for nearly 4 weeks since I had to come to hospital a fortnight before the infant was born. However he seems to have managed very well and I hope he has got his hand well in in domestic affairs because I've got no help at all and I expect the going will be fairly hard for a while. I'm fortunate in having another placid baby and one that is making good progress. K is a copper top like me - a funny little scrap at the moment but so was Edward at the same age and now he is huge. I hope we will be able to have some snaps taken ere long. I'm so glad you're pretty jacket will adorn a little girl - so much more appropriate isn't it? It's wonderful to think of you all living in peace again may it not be long before your rations are restored. It will make a vast difference now that the Japs are defeated and there will be more ships available for taking our meat and butter and cheese. I do hope you are happily settled in your new home with your own things around you. How glad you must be to have a home again - the shortage is acute everywhere but must be particularly bad in England. We were vastly interested in your elections - you have a far better government than ours, you know
Much love from all
Written on three parts of a New Zealand Airmail Letter Card , franked Timaru 1945 with an 8d Tuatara stamp on it.
17 College Rd
11 January 1952
Many thanks indeed for your kind wishes and calendar, we tried to give old Van a real family Christmas and I think succeeded in so doing, but he didn't get any turkey, a rare commodity out here; however the kids roused him up bright and early, but that didn't matter as he was helping out at early H.C. at 7 and 8 a.m. that morning. You really have a wonderful "flair" for picking presents for the children, "real winners" Edward calls them and that's mighty high praise. Van loves picnics; so now the holidays are on, we jaunt out into the country or to the sea side when the weather tempts us; so far our spring and summer have been rather cold and wet. Best of good wishes for the New Year from all the Fenn family and love from us all
Your affectionate brother
Greetings to you both and many thanks for your letter
All letters written on three sides of a New Zealand Air Letter Form franked Timaru.
17 College Rd
This family is much in your debt again two books have arrived for me lately and I am most grateful to you for them. How I envy you your second hand bookshops in Cheltenham - I do love browsing amongst old books and things. I had some glorious "pokes" at the Caledonian market while I was in England but of course never made any real "finds". It was awfully good of you to entertain Miss Ford as you did. She was most grateful for your hospitality. How we laughed at your choice of the word "patient" to describe the spate of words that flows from her kind old lips! H. and I first go to sleep (mentally) and let her have her head whenever she is here. They are both of the deaf now - and anyway not particularly interested . . . . . and she is happy as long as she can talk. Both old brothers are flourishing and both working hard - H. is putting up a fence (timber) 50 yds x 6 ft high - a big job but as labour is our chief expense it won't be so terribly expensive as he is doing it - E. is helping him as far as a one armed man can help. Only another 10 days or so till that plaster comes off his arm and I imagine he'll be pleased as its a heavy thing to lug around with him (I expect Van told you that he'd fractured his wrist at school). I do hope you're having a lovely spring and will have a perfect summer. It's like Midsummer here at present.
Much love to you and greetings to Mrs Rowden
Written on three sides of a New Zealand Aerogram franked Timaru 1955 with a NZ 8d stamp.
Margot wrote to her son, travelling in the North Island, on the occasion of his 21st birthday
No 4 R.D.
Sunday 17th of Sep 1961
Dear old Boy,
Do hope this will be in the letter rack awaiting you at Dargaville, it's difficult to judge the mailing times but I trust you will have a note from me tomorrow on your arrival at Russell. It was grand hearing from Eine. I expect you were nearly as pleased to see her as she to see you and she certainly wrote plenty - wrote again later the same day Wednesday, when she got home from a trip to the Levin and opened the suitcase - dear old Eine - she thought you were a "lovely boy" (so you are when you're asleep). We'll be bombarding you with telegrams on Wednesday so I'll not say more than "don't paint Dargaville too pink" - remember you're a Fenn and a gentleman. The old Fenn is being moderately good, the old devil gave me a lot of work and anxiety yesterday when I had to bulldoze him out of the drain (full of stinking water - pooh) near to the cattle trough. It was a case of monkey brand and soft soap and clean clothes to the bare skin but he is sweet smelling now. Lots of fun at Don Pitt's, he is negotiating for the farm that belonged to Maurice Harper at the Levels and Norman Verity (ex-butcher) is keen on Don's house here. Life is never dull round these parts. Dad and I had just returned from a tea party at Fred Smiths - it's a grey cold day here but they had a good fire on, and a luscious pavlova cake, so we enjoyed ourselves very much. Now K and I are going to church. A large parcel came for you from Sydney parts for a radio set I imagine - it had been opened for examination - some more exam papers and the notice for an army parade today - that's all so far. Mate is pawing the ground at my feet being perfectly adorable. I know he'd send dodgy good wishes to his old "nunky" Ed for his 21st. The time seems to have flown since Tuesday I hope it hasn't gone so fast for you. I also hope that you're getting some good colour pictures. No news of any of your friends - in fact there's no news about these parts and Dad is wondering how I managed to fill two pages.
I'll stop now and get the tea. Hope you had some good citrus fruit at Keri Keri
Much love darling
Your loving Mum
Happy birthday old bean. Hope you're enjoying yourself as much as I'm not. All the best for the 20th.
My dear Adria,
K tells me she is writing to you to so I won't say too much since her mind is much clearer than mine at the moment.
Our dear old Harry went to his well deserved rest on Monday the sixth Epiphany after a period of unconsciousness that really prepared us for the end - the beginning of his glorious life. What a wonderful thing it is to think off - Kay said he looked so lovely and peaceful when she is went to see him.
His funeral service was yesterday taken by his old friend and vicar in Timaru days - Archdeacon Plaistow (our vicar was away) RP prepared Kay for confirmation so I know he would be a help to her and he was to everyone else there from all accounts since he dwelt on Harry's faithfulness - especially to his church and as they were mostly old friend's present (although not necessarily old in years) it was well received. Then most after came here for tea and I was able to have a word with everyone It was a happy occasion in all loving talk of "old Fenny" And rejoicing at his peace after pain.
I've had to stay in bed with this jolly painful face that is the legacy after shingles. The doctor says it could last several months so I'm not going to risk getting a chill if I can.
It's heaven having kind little Kay here but her very presence adds as an incentive to my getting well.
Edward has rung several times from Suva and Joan came down for the night on Sunday the fifth returned next day. Looking so well and with number two little Fenn . . . . . expected for June July exciting isn't it and Harry knew about it.
My eye is very painful so I'll leave K to write more fully.
We shall miss our loved one sharn't we but how we rejoice in his new life.
Written on four sides of New Zealand AEROGRAMME. Jan 1969.
35 Cambridge Terrace
Saturday 24 January 1970
My darling K.
Thank you for your letter this morning, love you were not feeling a mite home sick where you? I can't imagine you were, or worried about me? Cos you don't need to be. Naturally I miss having you about I'd not be honest if I said otherwise that I'm never a moper as you NO and will thought of you and Pootles being together fills me with joy. Be sure to make the call when you get the phone - collect to me it's almost the only thing I can do for you at present but I've been planning to do a couple of cases of tomatoes for you later on Im sure you'll need the vitamins to help you combat the cold especially later and I can do them very easily in the Vacola so sweetest when you were thinking of Harvey buying me fruit and veggies our thoughts were very closely linked bless your kind little heart and his the dear.
I asked Mr Weir to get me a lettuce yesterday and he got me a nice one albeit with a few outside leaves withered 3/- 30c ! Molly Keith is very good . . . . . fruit and veg at present. I've been there to lunch again today and to the library first jolly good of her, love to you both from them both. Sue departs for Wellington tomorrow poor lamb the unknown school can be a bogey but I hope things will work out well for her
Michael hasn't written since he left home to get to Cambridge eventually. I'm very glad you and E have more imagination and think of the "little white-haired mother o mine" looking for a letter and receiving one with joy. This doesn't tie you down you know but oddly enough as I know, it is one of the things I'm gladdest of all that I did for my family and Daddy while I could. NO BLACKMAIL! Oh a confession - I might have known had I thought for a moment that I wouldn't have two letters from Suva in a week but I was so thrilled to see your writing and Joans that at first went ahead and opened both - silly me (glad I am not Mata Hari! No harm came can come and I've given them your address. What a bargain you've got in your dining table and chairs, this one was very expensive for a mear make up type of wood and it does scratch dear and I'm afraid there is no remedy for a proper scratch. The value of this "wood" is that it doesn't stain or show heat marks a wipe over with wet or dry cloth is enough so Sweetie I can't help you unless you got a proper wood (can't remember names at the moment I am sorry to say) Cedar etc need special care, what kind of bedroom furniture have you got and living room? You've not told me anything of furnishings yet and what of curtains and floor coverings? I imagine the flats
are quite new? Oh I'm so thrilled for you to have a nice home to share with your P and to entertain from.
Barbara was here briefly on Friday and wants me to go back with them when school starts I probably will tho HOME and quiet still exert their magic and I'm never lonely or . . . . . Frank and Sally asked to share a leg o pork tonight but knowing of his lunches I refused, and sure enough I've no appetite left, and such delectability would be wasted on me! Not very nice weather blustery and grey and some rain marvellous letters from all my kind friends keep me busy Ann Brookfield - Barton has a second daughter (in passing) have you the cousins names and addresses Chris Cole Judy & Donald McKenzie Joan & Alex Aitken The J McK's are Joan and Mac I think, I'd write to John and Wendy Bull in Auckland they are generous and John is in the electrical trade I think so the jug could be from them better than not writing for they are kind soles and Wendy bothered to write me a note saying how sorry they were that they couldn't come. Have you chosen your wedding photos yet? I think they're lovely but I'm happy with my little coloured ones. Everyone asks for you - so kind and unobtrusive with their gifts of food, NO news here you ken but I like to dribble on
Fondest love my dear two - from your loving M
Margot spoke little of her faith except to those who shared it, the following is a glimpse of that part of her life.
I first met Margot Fenn entering a hall for Brother Geoffrey's first meeting in Timaru, South Canterbury, in 1962. Her face was alight with excitement and joy as she had not known until the advertisement for the meeting that there had been any friars in New Zealand, although since 1938 she had been in touch with Cerne Abbas. Brother Geoffrey was admitting some Companions on this occasion and I asked her if she would care to become one too. Her answer was symbolic of Margot's total generosity to God "Oh no, Third Order or nothing for me." We arranged to talk this over and this was the beginning of an experience in friendship that stands apart - for Margot herself the start of a spiritual pilgrimage through much suffering and joy until her death.
It is hard to write of her, but that God accepted her offering of herself to use any way He chose for the Honour and Glory of his Name, and for the coming of a Men's Order to New Zealand was obvious. Almost as soon as she had become a novice Tertiary it was found that she had leukaemia and the doctors said had two weeks to live. From then on the fight for health was one and how the devil fought back and tried to overwhelm Margot's courageous spirit. But throughout New Zealand and elsewhere many were praying for her, she stayed close to the Sacraments of the Church and was given strength to care for her elderly invalid husband in their Christchurch flat where so many came just to be with them to ask for help or a share in her prayers. As the years passed and both Harry and Margo became weaker one could only wonder at the way she was able to lift her husband in and out of his chair and continue nursing him - but still the same joy and love for others was shared there and by letter. The marriage of their son and the birth of their first grandchild were doubly appreciated as a blessing they might not have lived to see.
Things were never quite the same after Harry's death, which came at a time of ever greater pain for Margot but she still grew in love for Christ and all his children. She radiated love - her parish priest wrote "I just loved her as a person. Of her great courage, hopefulness and cheerfulness one can speak with the utmost conviction, these are surely marks of a Christ-like life. What a lot she had to contend with! And she never moaned about it. One of those folk who made me feel very humble . . . . . " Another priest who knew her very well for many years wrote of "her experience of Christ which grew over the years in depth, a growth in love in spite of suffering immense pain and of her generosity to all." How many of us in New Zealand received blessings as her acceptance of the suffering? Her intercession list was huge and truly embraced all men and those of every branch of the Church. How grateful she was to be allowed to live to see the wedding of her beloved daughter, and to see the Friars safely established in New Zealand and the first New Zealand priest made novice in Brisbane. The last month of her life she stayed with close friends in Fairlie in great peace and love with them, finally Our Lord came to her in a special way before, upheld by the prayers of these friends, she died in her sleep. May she and her husband rest in peace and all of us be grateful for her life and her friendship.
My dearest Fiji Fenn's,
First Joanie a very big thank you for your share in my elegant winter nightie. It is a valued addition to my collection and a happy reminder of birthday 63 and of Edward's visit to us. Thank you again my dear old fellow for all you did for us - driving us about and above all for the gargantuan job of clearing out the garage. It was jolly good of you. I hope the trip back was uneventful, Joan Wood wrote that she went to the airport to see you. She is very fond of our family (and very good to me). I hope I'll hear soon that Kay reached Invercargill uneventfully, I most thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Geraldine with you old son. What a lovely day it was and both days here have been the same. Lloyd went off to join his farmers party yesterday at 8 a.m. They hope to visit prosperous farms in Otago and Southland before returning on Thursday. It is gloriously calm and peaceful here Barbara goes round the sheep and feeds the stock while I sit blissfully in the sun and catch up with my correspondence. I've found this awful envelope amongst my papers so I'm using it up, it was probably written from hospital, where I was considerably less well than I am now - I'm no great chop even now and my walking ability and general strength is still a lot below par. Still, when I think of the clinic doctors and their general astonishment, I feel I'm jolly lucky and I am certainly not complaining. Fairlie is as lovely as ever - the whole house is warm - my bed is wonderful and I awake in in the morning with the sun melting the hoarfrost of my bedroom windows. There after I follow the sun around till nearly 5 o'clock when it is finished for the day. It was lovely to see your house plans and may it not be long ere you are all united under its roof. I hope N.Z. will not seem too dull after Fiji, but I'm sure there's lots of advantages in a maddening Country - perhaps we won't have Keith for much longer, too. Barbara seems to want to keep me here as long as possible - so I expect I'll be here till mine next clinic appointment & then see what the fairies have provided in the way of a companion. It was wonderful having you and Kay here together, Ed to talk things over. Thank you for all you did under that heading too. I can imagine what a welcome home you got on Tuesday, especially from the children. I hope all had gone well in the firm and that it will continue to prosper. Nothing has happened here of note - but I do want to thank you both for your unselfishness and love. It is a thing to treasure and I do.
Bless you, dears and love to you all
One of the last letter's Margot wrote, in a very unsteady hand.
Telegram 29 June 1970
To Miss Fenn, Amberley Court, Clarence Sq, Cheltenham.
Mother died very peacefully Saturday 27th writing soon.
Medical Notes: Margot whose cancer caused severe anaemia was a patient of an oncology researcher, Dr Guntz at Christchurch Hospital NZ, she was part of an early program developing chemotherapy.
Children from this marriage were:
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