And Now we have… The Old Red Taxi

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Overseas Visitors Club, Travel
And Now we have… The Old Red Taxi

Hello there – my name is Peter Henning and we live in Buckingham UK, having moved across from Cape Town in March 2008. The following photos are from mid 1955 to mid 1956 (my first trip). The first photo was taken in Leeds. A few words about the crew of the taxi… Brian Rose (ex Cape Town) and my partner in the trips – me, looking thoroughly pissed off, sleeping outside, getting wet and hungry.  Eddie Strick – South African Airways pilot who was murdered a few years ago on his farm north of Johannesburg – one of the joys of being a farmer in SA. Mercia Aldag (Port Elizabeth SA). Joan Slabbert (Cape Town). Moonyeen Asseton-Smith, Port Elizabeth, (of course called Arse End Smith – which caused dissention).

The second photo was taken in Calais on 9 October 1955.  Lorna Anderson (NZ),  Brian Rose,  Margaret de Beer (Bechuanaland – now Botswana), Isobel Humphries (Bulawayo Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe), me,  George Lewis (LA Calif),  Vivian Dean (Palmeston North NZ).

Brian bought the taxi EXP 722, a 1930’s model for £20, we did not check on the mechanics as we realised that if we did we would never ride in it. Recruited four young ladies and set off on a four week round trip of the UK.  Had to replace the exhaust and repair a puncture, otherwise no problems.

Back to the OVC where we recruited a new bunch of young ladies and over to the continent for five weeks – as far south as Rome then up into the main part of the continent. George Lewis was a wandering ex GI (Korea) who attached himself to us somewhere, can’t remember, and sponged off us the whole way. Back in London we got him into the OVC and we disappeared into the bed-sit world of Earls Court.

The taxi continued to be used and when the brakes packed in we sold it to Cuan Mc Carthy, an ex SA cricketer for £20.00.  He was a fast bowler who ran through the British batsmen until they declared that his action was “throwing” and out he went, to farm somewhere in England.  Brian moved to Perth WA in the mid seventies and died there a few years ago.

The 1963 card refers to the time my wife and I left Bulawayo and moved to the UK, stayed for about six months, could not take the weather so we emigrated to SA which we left three years ago as our sons and their wives and children are living in Oxford and SW London – and we want to be near the families.  So the circle has travelled a full 360 degrees.

Hope that this is of interest.



  1. JRP
    July 10, 2011

    Welcome aboard Peter – and please keep those memories and photos coming. The taxi looks amazing! I’m also going to put your piece on one of the OVC pages…

  2. peter henning
    July 18, 2011

    Nice to have a response, I hope that someone comes up with more chat about the taxis as there were a stack of them running about. Good old days and road rules very lax and coppers understanding. The main snag was the open drivers side and the rain poured in, wipers useless. The front pax sat in an old kitchen chair, not attached in any way, any cheek or advice, a quick swerve and they wobbled and nearly fell out. One way to silence them and to hell with health and safety etc.


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