You don’t know me but recently I was given copies of your Old Blue Truck pages on the OVC, London. (My comments in red italics – JRP)
Very, very interesting but you have several things not quite right in your history of the OVC. (!!)
It was started by Max Wilson (SA) and Chone Dresden (SA) and Brian Barrett (OZ) in 1954 at #3, Templeton Place when they acquired this old house, tore the inside out and opened up in the basement as the Globetrotters Rooms. They annexed #1, Templeton Place and that was followed by the acquiring of 28 Trebovir Road and 39 Longridge… Then they got Websters Hotel and renamed it Craig House at 2 Templeton Place.
Yes they did acquire other hotels but they also started Trek Airways to S.A. in 1956; opened up OVC places in Toronto, Sydney, Johannesburg and Durban in 1957 … and by 1958 the HQ at #3 was just too small so then they acquired 180 Earls Court Road (and all the houses along Nevern) and that is the place you know as the HQ. That is where you have your photos of… they also annexed the old OZ DownUnder Club…
By then thousands were pouring in and Max began annexing ocean liners…
In I think 1963 the enterprise was sold to the Chandris group (Up to this point I had no issues with Hugh’s notes – The club had a very close operating relationship with Chandris and several other shipping companies – but there was no ownership – Around 1963 – ownership in the club passed to the group headed by Nick Tarsh – with Neil Herman and David Lawson – JRP) but Max bought the company back in 1969 (don’t think so – JRP) but the airlines and the anti SA biz forced it to fold… (just a bit simplistic…)
Max died in the 1980s in the UK, Chone died in the 1990s in London but i do not know what happened to Brian who in the late 50s went out to SA to take over that end of the biz… Managing the OZ/NZ end from 1960 on was one Trevor Fewings who at present lives in Sydney. Now he could tell you things….
Head of the restaurant at #3 Templeton Place was Maggie who married a South African and lived for years in Port Elizabeth. They retired to Christchurch, New Zealand but as recently as the start of Dec, 2007 moved to Port Macquarie in NSW. She also could tell you things
If you want to read stories about the club’s early days and the guys and gals read my books … “No 3, Templeton Place,” published in the U.K. in 1998. Coming out in March of 2008 in South Africa is “Earls Court, The OVC And Me.” The first can be read on the net as it is in the Google library. In the latter book is the tale on how the cops became involved in the club.
I could go on and on but I think I shall stop and let you ask questions if you are interested.
Hugh de Souza
109 – 1535 Nelson Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6G 1M2
I’ve been back in contact with Hugh – and will keep you all posted… I think his knowledge of the 50s is very strong – but I’m not so sure about the 60s – JRP