October 3, 2016 : Tony de Werth – OVC 1965…

Floating around the web today looking for a couple of names and lo and behold this website popped up !!!!!! First time I have seen it. Wonderful old days back in 1965 and I remember them well (but can’t remember what I had for breakfast!!!!!!)  I Left Rhodesia with Brian Duffin on the same flight in 1965 and that’s how this website popped up… also worked with Ron Gyde (pretty sure it is the same guy) on a private yacht in Florida and Bahamas… Feel free to give any of their friend or relatives MY EMAIL address if asked for… Have posted some enquiries today too… Thanks Tony

Again on October 6, 2016

I left Rhodesia on the same plane with Brian in April 1965… he and I and our parents were part of the racing crowd at Mazoe Sailing Club in Salisbury. I left in November 1965 to go and work on a large vessel in Florida and Bahamas and I got Ron Gyde a job working on the same vessel with me… We all went our separate ways in early 1966 and nothing heard from Ron since then, and now I read here that Brian has passed away… Time marches on… If you are still around Ron my address is just above: Tony


July 12, 2016 : David Lawson to Lester Jolly – Cape Town mid-winter 27°C yesterday…!

This site brought back memories.  Around 1963/4 I ran a little semi-pro band called the Cole Richards Combo (!) We had a 3 night a week residency at the club and as I was unemployed at the time, I guess it could be the only time I could claim to be a ‘pro’!  I think we were paid £15 per night which meant I could pay the guys ‘threes’… a decent amount at that time. The week we started, the club manager got a piece into the local paper announcing our arrival… somewhere there’s a newspaper cutting with a photo that somehow included a parrot (That would be Max!), sitting on our drummer’s shoulder. It must have been the club mascot as it just appeared from inside the club.  Good memories.  Colin Richardson, Bristol.

Hi again John, Managed to trace the stuff about the OVC. I’ve attached a press cutting of the band, which, although it’s about our gig at the Station Hotel Stafford,  was in fact, taken in the ‘garden’ of the OVC at the start of our 3 month (I think) residency. The 2 photos are of us on stage at the OVC. I’m pretty sure the year was 1964. Hope it will interest some of your members.


July 12, 2016 : David Lawson to Lester Jolly – Cape Town mid-winter 27°C yesterday…!

Thought you just might like to see what winter feels like in the ‘tropics’     Love to all    David
Doesn’t it make you sick? Top two Blouberg, bottom two view from Blues Restaurant in Camps Bay – for those to whom this means anything.


June 17, 2016 : Heather McNeil de Veber – OVC autumn 1964…

My Western U. pal Linda Purcell and I arrived in London. Don’t remember how we found the OVC but we did. Stayed for a short while before finding a group to join for a year at 45 Edith Grove. We met lots of terrific Aussies and well it was the best year of my life.  Heather. EMAIL.


April 25, 2016 : Frank Hill (Las Vegas) – OVC 1962…

The most wonderful years of my life were in Earls Court – i found a job thru the OVC – lifting carpet – another time at some holiday camp at dimchurch ?   I even ran into a friend of mine, Richard Holeman from London, Ontario – small world.  That was in the 1962 era – I can recall looking at the message board and dreaming to take a trip to South Africa on a jeep for £80 or £100 or going to Salisbury for little money and living there – It is so wonderful the dreams that club gave me and the wonderful people I met. I met a girl from Salisbury and fell in love. She did not know it but i did – but never told anyone – a year ago i went back to the UK to revisit the places I loved and I did love Earls Court and the people – the Overseas Visitors Club was good to me – used to pick up my mail – and relived the memories that will always be with me – oh yes, living in a room with Aussies and a South African and me a Canadian for £5 a week – I was broke but so happy – now I am 77. I left Canada years ago and now am in Las Vegas – and have only the wonderful memories of London and even Billy Butlins (Holiday Camps) where I was a dustman – Frank from Las Vegas. EMAIL.


April 18, 2016 : Irene Guastaferro – OVC mid 60s…

Hi,does anyone remember or know Johnny and Faraday Deerhams  from South Africa. We met them at the OVC in the mid sixties.   Would love to have any info as I am in touch with several of my old roomies and those guys always come up in conversation and we would love to contact them for old times sake, thanks

Irene (EMAIL)


March 21, 2016 : Rick Pringle – Zambesi Club 1964/65…

There was a Gwen Whiteside who posted photos 2015 and wanted more info, she would be most interested in at least one photo but her email bounced back ?
I was barman then bar manager after Basil Sagar (Photo 1) 1964/65.
Till the well runs dry
Rick Pringle


March 19, 2016 : Jane Thompson, OVC 1960…

Hi, I am researching family links and looking for a Robert Harding who sailed from Brisbane to Falmouth in 1960. He is listed as visiting The Overseas Visitors’ Club. Many thanks, Jane Thompson.


March 7, 2016 : Irene Guastaferro, OVC mid-60s…

Hi, my roommates and I hung out at the club back in the mid sixties.  I saw in one of the letters a couple of my old friends mentioned John and brother Farraday think the last name was Deerhans (probably wrong spelling) from South Africa it brought back great memories. If by any chance you knew them from (the grotto bar) I’d love to hear from you. We were Irene, Jill, Lyn and Janice. We also attended the rugby games, Jill sometimes worked the bar.

Regards Irene.


October 12, 2015 : Keith Kalweit, OVC (and the Zambesi Club) 1962 and again in 1967…

I came across this site while searching for the Zambezi Club. I arrived at the OVC on 14th Dec 1962, after disembarking from the Cape Town Castle which had been chartered by Max Wilson. I was a Rhodesian and managed to secure a cancellation booking in November 1962 – the most expensive cabin in Tourist Class at £56 which as stated elsewhere on these blogs included coach transfer and 10 days B&B in Earls Court. (the lowest fare on this charter of 807 passengers was £29. My ‘home’ pub was the Kings Head on Hogarth Rd and of course the Zambezi Club, mainly the back bar. Terry Ryan of Durban, although not OVC related was a good friend from the Kings Head and the ‘Zam’. After working in London and environs in between three trips to the continent, I returned to Rhodesia via Capetown on November 28, 1963 – sailing from Liverpool on the Empress of England. There’s a link to her website HERE. Scroll down the page to about half way. Was this the beginning of the demise of Max Wilson?

I retained the OVC as a Post Restante for the whole year, even to receive my registration certificate as a pharmacist from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. I did return to London for 6 months in 1967, but not to the OVC, rather the Kings Head and the Zambezi Club. Of course there is more to tell. I am still in Zimbabwe, retired, but still doing a consultancy, a necessary feature of Zimbabwe life these days. Email HERE.

Here’s a picture from the archives – a more recent shot of Barkston Gardens – looking a lot better than it did 50 years ago! Anyone care to identify the actual site of the ‘Zam’?



July 22, 2015 : Manuel Espinosa, Spain, OVC 1972-1973…

I was the barman at The Grotto Bar in 1972-1973, nice time.
Manuel – Spain


July 19, 2015 : Peter Mitchell, OVC 1962…

Its been a long time. Arrived in 1962 from OZ and worked for Max Wilson at Travel Savings Limited, what a ride that was, like to contact others who where at OVC or TSL in those days.

Now live in the US.  Email HERE.


July 08, 2015 : Gwen Whiteside, OVC 1965 and onwards…

Hi.  I lived in Pennywern Rd for 6 months in 1965 then moved to a bedsit above the Zam(besi Club). I worked part time in the Zam on and off for about 6 years. My memory is not so good and sadly I’ve lost touch with everyone so would be glad of any memories of the Zam from that time. I lived and worked with Buggerlugs whose real name was Jim when I first arrived in Earls Court. I was introduced to the place by Chris Pravzic from Melbourne. Shared a bedsit with Miriam who also worked in the Zam. I just like remembering the good times we had, have a couple of photos taken in the front room bar.
Would love to hear… Gwen.  My email is here.

Later The Same Day – I asked for the photos…



Hi John.  There are 2 (photos) and they are both of the front bar, the Barkston. They are of Miriam. Chris, Buggerlugs and me taken about 1965.  The photos are also on Friends Reunited under my name and Zambezi Club, might have spelt it Zambesi as normally spell it wrong. They were posted years ago when I had my original computer. Not many Aussies went in the front bar so I don’t know how many would be interested in them. Chris and Buggerlugs were both Aussies, Chris was an economist and Buggerlugs a would be actor, he was a few years older than us. Every so many years I get a nostalgic streak  for Earls Court. I live in Aberdeen and often miss the South. I was  born a Londoner but grew up in Essex  then married a Scot I met in the King’s Head. I lived in Earl’s Court on and off for years.
Would love to hear from anybody who was there at the time, especially Greek Mary or Miriam. Regards, Gwen


May 29, 2015 : Melvyn Bowler, OVC 1963-4 and 1968-9…

Hi John.  One cold March day in 1963 I left England for the Continent with thirty quid in my pocket, and not knowing what the hell I was doing. I hitched and worked my way North, working in Delft, Holland, at the Delftware factory and the Dansk Papirfabrik in Copenhagen. Whilst traveling I met up mainly with Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and the occasional Canadian, Rhodesian and even one American (Gabe Heilig in Holland) and one English girl in Oslo – Brenda.

1476-OVCMelvynBowler1cI spent the summer in Oslo originally sleeping in the Youth Hostel and then underneath the bridge near the Hostel, where my mates were Ben Lockyer from Springs, South Africa, Denis Schmidt from Southern Rhodesia and an Australian Peggy Balderson (who later became a famous Australian children’s writer). I got a job unloading coastal Polish cement ships, and saved up to continue travelling.

From Oslo I hitchhiked to Helsinki via Sweden (a terrible place to hitch-hike) where I went on a camping trip to the Soviet Union, with a young crowd from all over Europe. On the trip with me was Boris Arapovic from Croatia (he now lives in Sweden), whom I am still in touch with, and I had a lovely girl-friend in Leningrad – Ide Vasileyjne (not sure of the spelling), who showed us how the Russsians lived. Getting back to England I went picking hops. I cannot remember the names of the guys and gals who were picking hops with me in Goudhurst, Kent, but I do remember their faces. I know they have great photos of when we all lived in an empty old house sleeping on the floor.

After leaving the hops and surviving picking apples for only 2 days I went to London and ended up back with my friends in Earls Court in late 1963. The OVC was our main drinking spot, but I will always remember the Zambezi Club where I met the love of my life Audrey (Adriana) Pronk. She was living in Barons Court with a bunch of girls who all hung out at the OVC and the Zambezi Club. She was the reason I ended up in Australia. We had a 35 year on/off relationship, which never quite worked out. Audrey died of leukemia in 1998.

There used to be an old guy selling the Daily Worker outside Earls Court Tube Station. I used to get a dozen copies off him, take them to the OVC, and try to sell them. I was drunk of course. Being English I was unusual in having hitch-hiked around Europe, and all my friends were South African, Rhodesian, Australian or from New Zealand. I rarely met any English there. I stayed in a house on West Cromwell Road (now demolished) run by Lady Angela, who was a great landlady, and could drink with the best of them. When President Kennedy was shot we spent the night commiserating with each other over a bottle of whisky.  That community was a very special one, and I belonged there. Being English didn’t make any difference, I was with my own kind. That world has now vanished – hitch-hiking has nearly gone – sleeping rough has never been that popular, but I loved the freedom it gave me. And I had the invincibility of youth – didn’t we all :-)

I was in Europe again in 1964, on a hitch-hike to Milano, Italy and Berlin. I loved the journey through East Germany, and looking at The Wall and East Berlin. Buying East German currency in West Berlin guaranteed a good time in the Eastern Sector. In 1966 I went to Australia, once again Audrey and I didn’t work out so off I went working my way round Australia, and leaving for Vietnam in 1968. I started in Melbourne around March, and hitch-hiked to Darwin via Western Australia and Groote Eylandt. I flew to Singapore around May, and took the train from Singapore to Bangkok via Butterworth, a 2 day trip on an old rattler.


I tried to get into Cambodia from Thailand, but the border at Aran Prathet was closed. So back to Bangkok. As I never fly if I can go by land I got a bus to Nong Khai, crossed the Mekong on a canoe and into Laos, and so to Vientiane. A fascinating place peopled by locals, Americans, Chinese, Russians, Vietnamese, and a happy bunch of dope smokers. The British Embassy told me I could not travel south to Cambodia, so of course I did. I bused from Vientiane all the way down south to Khong, staying overnight at Savannakhet and Pakse, crossing rivers by canoe as all the bridges had been blown up, and trying to keep out of the way of the CIA and KGB. Sometimes travelling down a part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail – from Khong to the Cambodian border a North Vietnamese army column passed me as I was hidden in the jungle on the side of the road dealing with my dysentry. When they had passed I continued hitch-hiking and got a lift to the border, which was full of trucks on the Cambodian side, with virtually no traffic on the Laotian side.

In Cambodia I got a truck going to Pnom Penh, and the only road was through Snoul and Mimot, on the Vietnamese border where the Vietcong were in ontrol. Cambodia was peaceful then, Mimot and Snoul were destroyed later, and Cambodia went to hell. But there were no problems at that time, and after getting a visa for the Republic of Vietnam from the Japanese embassy in Pnom Penh I flew to Saigon, arriving with about $35, and no way of leaving. Fortunately I got a job with the British Medical Medical Team who were working in the Nhi Dong Childrens Hospital in Cholon. My time in Vietnam is another story which I will not go into here, but it did change my view of the world, as did my journey to get there.


After about 6 months I left Vietnam and flew to Singapore, then to Calcutta via Rangoon, train across India, walked across the border at Ferozapur and into Pakistan, where I avoided a riot and got the train to Peshawar. I stayed there whilst getting my Afghan visa and then onto Kabul, Kandahar and Herat, staying in very basic mud huts overnight, and into Iran. Mashed was an amazing place, with a marble, empty, railway station. It was winter, and I was trying to get back home to Manchester for Christmas Day. I didn’t have much money left, so I took the easy way out and caught a plane from Tehran to Rome, and a train from Rome to Paris, then hitched to Calais, and ferry to England, arriving just before Christmas 1968.

I again stayed in Earls Court when I came back from Vietnam, but I think by that time I had lost some of my innocence, and it wasn’t quite the same. Nobody I met had been to Vietnam, and I felt alone even though I was surrounded by people. So I was back in Earls Court, where I got a room the size of a small toilet in West Cromwell Road (41 or 45). I worked as a temp, and managed three trips, the last one to Australia. I got to Eire, Northern Ireland, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and Boris’s wedding in Sweden. Worked in Lille, France, living in the middle of a roundabout for a while, and finished 1969 in Australia.

What kicked all this off was when I sold my motor-bike in 1959, and still wanted to travel. So every weekend I was off hitch-hiking around England, Scotland and Wales. When that wasn’t enough I joined the Royal Navy, and did some serious travelling, with food and board provided – France, Gibraltar, Aden, Singapore. Malaya, Hong Kong (before the Americans spoiled it), Japan, Australia, The Andaman Islands, Batti Malv and British North Borneo.

The houses in West Cromwell Road have now gone, and the coming of age trip overland to London from Australia are mostly a thing of the past. But some young men and women still get out there and see the world whilst they are young and have that spirit of adventure. I wish them all the luck in the world.


Thanks for the great web page – and for the welcome. Certainly my time in Earls court in 1963-1964 and 1968-1969 are among my fondest memories, but also bring me sadness when I look back and remember friends lost through happenstance and time. Maybe someone will remember me, and maybe contact me. You are free to use my email address, but it is easy to find me on the internet.

Cheers, Melvyn Bowler.
eMail Link HERE

Later The Same Day…

Hi John. Just so you know where Vietnam comes into this, and how I ended up in Earls Court again in 1968-1969 here is the brief story.

Apart from New Zealand I did not travel again until 1990, when I spent about 6 months in the US and Canada but this time travelling by Greyhound. Now that is a way to see the country and meet the people.

I still have the rucksack you can see in the photo of me in Germany. I never had a camera with me, being a “traveler” and not a “tourist”, I thought I could remember everything and that would be enough. Now, of course, I wish I had had a camera and a diary.

Cheers, Melvyn


April 23, 2015 : Gayle Potter, OVC 1961…

I arrived in Earl’s Court aka “Kangaroo Valley” in 1961 after having spent more than four adventurous years in Israel, hitchhiking through Europe to London via Rhodes, Cyprus, Greene, Italy, Monaco (saw Grace Kelly), and France (slept on the Beach at Nice. Met up with my Dad freshly arrived from Melbourne and we had a fabulous four months together. I remained in the UK for seven years, became a Registered Nurse, married in Portsmouth, and returned to Melbourne in 1968 after eleven years abroad. Fabulous years.

JRP interupts… Gayle first posted these comments on a blog post : HERE – I recognized writing talent – so invited her to send more detail and some photographs… She replied…

Well really no photos of general interest. I stayed with Aussie cousins in St Johns Wood off and on. Cousin actor Lloyd Lamble (used to be on the Bob Dyer Show ) and his Kiwi actress wife, and, in the same dwelling cousin Joan Potter and her husband Vasilie Trunoff who were with the London Ballet and ex-Borovansky Ballet of Melbourne. Lloyd made himself a millionaire by doing up apartment blocks and achieved his ambition of owning a Rolls Royce. Then lost it all in a recession crash. He died down in Somerset. Vasilie died in London and Joan returned to Melbourne with his ashes.

It was supposed to be Swinging England, but I found it drab after Israel and the bodgie and widgie scene of the early 1950s in Melbourne.  I grew up in East StKilda. The English women’s fashions were also drab – mostly browns. Mini skirts came later. The food was disgusting, everything boiled to death, and now they presume to show US how to cook on TV!!!. Melbourne had and has the world’s finest restaurants. Remember that Indonesian restaurant opposite the OVC? It was quite good. I do know its name but can’t recall it just now. I had digs nearby at Courtfield Gardens. Overheard the landlady talking to her counterpart next door “How do you find your Australian tenants?” “Oh, alright, but they’re never out of the bathroom”. I bought one of those handheld showers on a rubber hose. Later found out many British homes lacked even a bath. Frequently passed a toffy Englishman on the steps of my digs and finally introduced myself. “Oh, rahleh”_ was all I got from him. Years later I found the West Indians great company- a group of uni students had a steel band.  Also Persians! But the Notting Hill riots took place while I was in London. Lived in Scotland for 18 months. Inverness was beautiful and I boarded with a family from Manchester in a lovely home right on Lock Ness.  Doesn’t snow in Inverness as the warm air from the Gulf Stream is channeled up Lock Ness. Midsummer you can read a newspaper outside at midnight. Later stayed with a Canadian family in Aberdeen. The Aberdonian accent is impossible! “Farn y’gonna wahame” (When are you going home and “fit ye dayin noo” – what are you doing now. Attended an Aberdonian friend’s wedding to his Persian bride and they settled in Perth WA. Perth, Scotland, is also beautiful. The Scots knew much more of Australia than the English and more welcoming.

The Poms were so ignorant of OZ back then, weren’t they. And of course, we would have them on with talk of kangaroos holding up the traffic! More than once I was seen as coming from “the Colonies.”  Saw color TV for the first time at an exhibition in ’61 and still have the program of the fantastic Farnborough 1962 Air Show. I took up flying while in the UK.

I didn’t know of the Beatles. The BBC had no pop music which came only from the off-shore ship Radio Caroline (run by Australians) and Radio Luxemburg.

That photo of the OVC was exactly as I remember it. Were you one to make the pilgrimage to an Australian gift shop near Australia house to get your Vegemite? I did. Later Sainsbury’s stocked it.

That more than enough, hey?



April 17, 2015 : Bruce McKenzie Manttan, OVC 1959…

Now 78 years old, married, and living in Christchurch, New Zealand, I stumbled over an advertisement for the Oxford Hotel at 16 Penywern Road, Earls Court.  This brought back memories of a time when the building had rooms to let. I moved  to 16 Penywern Road, front room, with three Australians, after having spent several weeks at the OVC from late July to August, 1959. 16 Penywern may have had some connection with the OVC then. I had arrived in Southhampton after an eventful voyage on the Strathaird from Sydney. On the train I met a number of Australians and a few New Zealanders many of whom were bound for The OVC. As I remember, the club was run by South Africans, mainly. It was a welcome respite from the six-week journey from Sydney at 180.00 pounds for a berth in a six-berth cabin in the ship’s former stateroom. It was also a respite from the heatwave that struck London on our arrival, and for weeks after that.

Over the years, contact was lost with many interesting characters who inhabited OVC and 16 Penywern Road. I would love to hear from you, once again. There were many fond memories of that time. I can always remember Harold Macmillan’s words, ‘You’ve never had it so good.’ It was true, then.



December 26, 2014 : Happy Xmas – from Lester Jolly in Chelsea…



December 26, 2014 : Kingsley Bell, OVC 1962/63…

I’m looking for anyone with information about a Mr Kingsley Bell from South Africa who stayed at OVC during 1962/63. I believe KINGSLEY BELL may have been working during the day and studying accountancy at night….

Thank you John, your help is much appreciated…
Regards  Noel Buckland


July 10, 2014 : Georgia McLeish, OVC 1960s…

Only 17 when I got a job as a pay clerk in the office of the OVC in mid 1960. I remember Mrs.Tarsh but have forgotten the name of the others in the office. For morning coffee we were served wonderful milky coffee in a silver coffee set, I was so impressed.  My pay was £3 pw , also I lived in one of their rooming houses in Penywern Road. One of the Holyoake boys from New Zealand was working in reception I remember.  The Down Under Club was a great place to go to dance.  I hitch hiked around Europe with a girl called Anne Manuel from South Africa after answering her add on the notice board in the club.

Lots of happy times.  Georgia McLeish (Mrs. Brian Clements)


June 10, 2014 : Nurse Dorothy Maskus, OVC 1955/56…

I have been doing some genealogy and found that one of my family members travelled and stayed at the OVC a few times, is there any record or people’s recollection of her?  Her occupation was Nurse – her address in NSW: Martin Rd Liverpool – Address in London: first was St James Hospital Beckenham London – then on the passenger list on her next trip it was 19 Queen St Mayfair. Thanks… Brendan Leach.  email: brendanleach [at] hotmail [dot] com


May 10, 2014 : John Halliday, OVC late 50s/early 60s…

No mention of Connie Dresden.  I was a member during the late 50s and early 60s. I met my first wife there, who died of breast cancer in 1997. I still live in England 57 years later. John Halliday’s email is  tradlyn1 [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk

JP’s Response…

Chone Dredzen (note spelling) is mentioned in several places – there are photos of him on this page


April 8, 2014 : George & Di Mansell, OVC 67/late 68…

Hi John, just found this contact through our page on FB “Australis” passengers and crew and could not believe it was you. We were at the OVC Earls Court in 1967 for about a week until we found our feet and our own digs. We returned to Earls Court late 1968 before joining the “Swagman” tour bus to head back to Oz and NZ overland down to India. Cannot understand how we have not talked about this connection whilst at Rotary and the last time we saw you was at Max Stuarts memorial at the Golf Club. It certainly is a very small world.

Regards George & Di Mansell


January 16, 2014 : Keith Beattie, OVC 1966/70…


Hello John,  The other day when I was playing around on the computer I found your site so after going through some old photo’s I found one of Ron, you and me working on the desk at the MAIN CLUB. I still have the club tie that was part of the uniform, only about 2 years ago I threw out the jacket.  Also working with us was Russell Williams who became the assistant box office manager at ROYAL DRURY LANE THEATRE and I was in contact until the early 1990s  after which we lost contact – and also Ian Beattie who was murdered in Bali in January 1988.

After I returned to Australia I left my home town of Brisbane when my mother passed away and came to live in Sydney after which I relocated to New York for 3 years with the company I worked for – then back to Sydney.  I remember going to Jersey and staying with Martin Blakeway’s Mom and Dad or one week. Valerie Gillart was working as head receptionist in Notting hill the last time that I saw her – but that was in September 1972!  Have been back to London A few times in the job that I had in the airlines. Then in late 1979 I became house manager for Village Cinemas.  That was until I retired. That is just a little of what I have done since those heady days in London…  Hope to hear from you.soon, Keith. E-mail: keiffer20 [at] tpg [dot] com [dot] au.  There are more photos on the blog page HERE.


January 15, 2014 : Hugh Standish Williams, OVC 1960…

Hi, I have been doing some research on my family tree and believe that my dad travelled over from Durban arriving in Southampton on 25th December 1960. I believe that his entry address was listed as c/o Overseas Visitors Club, 1 – 9 Nevern Place, London, SW5. Does anyone remember my dad or have any records of him. He told us that he came over to write his insurance exams and was working for the Royal Exchange. Many thanks. Mark Williams < surfcuzzie [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk >


January 08, 2014 : Manfred Link, OVC 1962/64…


Hi Guys, I worked in reception 1963, 1964 with Gary Armitage, Fraser Farley, Lester, Bill Morgenrood etc. Still in touch with them. Would love to hear from you. I am ex Pretoria now Melbourne, Australia. Regards Manfred.  There are more photos on the blog page HERE.


December 20, 2013 : Gordon Croft

I was at the OVC in 1966 & would like to contact Lester. If you could arrange that, I would be most appreciative.  Thank you, Regards, Gordon Croft.


December 20, 2013 : Mhamed from Taroudant, Morocco.


Bonjour – En navigant sur la toile je suis tombe par hasard sur votre site – des photos de Lester Jolly dont j’ai fait la connaissance – Taroudant au Maroc, sont exposes. Depuis des annes que je cherche avoir de ses nouvelles en vain.C’est un tres bon ami de la famille,on a bien rigol, mange et on a beaucoup ri ensembles. Depuis mon depart du Maroc vers le Canada je n’ai plus eu de ses nouvelles. Si vous pouvez m’aider – enter en contact avec lui,je vous en serai tres reconnaissant. Je voudrais savoir s’il va bien et lui dire qu’on pense toujours lui. Encore une fois merci.

Hello – While browsing the Web I’ve tumbled by chance on your site of Lester Jolly photos. I remember him from Taroudant in Morocco. For years I have been looking for news of him – in vain. He became a very good friend of the family, we had good times – we ate and laughed a lot. Since my departure from Morocco to Canada I have had no news. If you can help me get in contact with him, I would be very grateful. I would like to know if all is well and tell him that we still think of him often. Once again thank you.

I replied…

Hello Mhamed.  I will send your email to Lester within the next day or so – and he can reply direct to you. What is your surname? It would be a good idea if you sent me a photo of yourself taken ‘back in the day’ so that I can forward that too. We are now dealing with 60 year memories!!

And he came straight back…

Hello John.  Thank you so much. I have no photo with me now, but I will send it to you within the next day or so.  My name is: Mhamed Nait El Cadi.  Thanks. The photos are HERE.


November 27, 2013 : Terry Wise, OVC 63/64…


I was part time in the Grotto Bar… and also night cleaner. Knew just about everyone from Johnny and his brother Farraday, and of course, the boss, Lester. Walked out to India and back.   Looking desperately for Melanie… from South Africa, one blue eye, one brown, forget her last name, but was in love then, and would certainly like to connect. She lived around the corner on Pennywern Rd, and would love to find her again to just say hello… any help would be so much appreciated… They were great times, wish we could do it all again… Thanks so much for anything at all… glad I stumbled onto this site. I am pictured in Lester’s photos, having a beer with him, I think it was no 28, will have to check to be sure, but it is me…


I am in Victoria, BC now, having sailed as a Purser all my life… See “YouTube” Terry Wise and Yarmouth Castle… ciao

I wrote back to Terry…

Thank you for dropping in on The Old Blue Truck… I’ve forwarded your letter to Lester Jolly – so that he can reply to you personally – and maybe help with locating Melanie! It may take a while – he was in Egypt when I spoke to him a few weeks ago! I tried to find the photo of you (with Lester) which you referred to – but couldn’t – try again for me please? I want to run your note onto the Members’ Stories and Photos Page – any objections? It may help… And I will link it to the Yarmouth Castle videos… That’s one very impressive story – and congratulations on the gong. Please send me any photos you would like to include – OVC/Yarmouth and current… Look forward to hearing from you.

And he replied a couple of days later…

Thanks for the reply, was great to connect with someone from years ago.  I was so excited to find your site, I had a few too many vino’s last evening, reminded me of some of our parties in Earls Court many years ago… If it is not me, middle man in Lester’s pics, no. 28, then I have a twin somewhere, and don’t remember too many guys that looked like me… Maybe I am wrong, but my wife and daughter both think it is as well… Been thinking all day, do you remember John L Watson, the singer, and his backup group, the Hummelflugs? What about the Bushbaby’s a South African group? Just wondering… Thanks for forwarding on my e mail to Lester, he might remember Melanie, I cannot even get her last name… funny how time does that to one, but it was 50 years ago… Just remembering when I first heard of the OVC, it was through a big south African guy, Ed Anderson, he had a large beard, and I met him on board the Italia, liner from Montreal to Southampton, in 1960… Just wondering if you ever knew him. I worked at the club, as I mentioned, but also in various pubs, around the area, and also at National Car Parks, which helped finance a lot of my European, North African and Asian hitch hiking trips with coin earned there. Where are you in exactly, as I still get out on the odd jaunt, and will continue to as long as the old ticker holds up… Had a quadruple bypass in 1980, but have been OK since, thanks to the French and their good Merlots… Where does Lester hang his hat? Drop another line if you have time, and if you find out that is not me in picture 28, let me know… Hope you did not think it was presumptuous or immodest of me to send that YouTtube link, for as I mentioned, I was well into my cups with the joy of having found the OVC and Old Blue Truck site, that you provided… Best wishes, cheers, and ciao for the moment, regards, Terry  PS… just wondering, I am now 71, what about yourself and Lester?

Terry Sinclair-Wise can be contacted at: tswinvic [at] yahoo [dot] ca


August 9, 2013 : Seeking Anthony Myers-Melbourne


This was his name in 1963. He was around The Overseas Visitors Club between April – August 1963. Does anyone remember him? He was 6ft 1”, dark hair, blue eyes – slightly Mediterranean looking. He said he worked for The Travel Saving Association which was owned by Max Wilson at the time. There is good news for him if we can trace him. He was about 30 years old in 1963. If anyone’s memory is jogged – please leave a message in the Comments on this page HERE.


October 1, 2012 : Jerry Orr, OVC 1959…

Three of us visited London in 1959. We stayed at the OVC for a week then moved into a room at 24 Longridge Rd at 3 pounds/week each. In August I discovered the Zambezi Club and visited a few times. As we were South Africans, whenever there were a bunch of Aussies there a fight would ensue. I am writing about that trip for my children and wonder if anyone remembers the address of the Zambezi Club? My email address is here.

October 6, 2012 : JP

Just to start the discussion… Was it Bolton Gardens – just a couple of doors down from where the Cafe du Coin is now?


August 31, 2012 : Bob Davis, Volunteer for Olympics

Hi John,  As we have not spoken for a couple of years, I write to advise that I was recently in London as a Volunteer for the Olympic Games.

On reflection, I should have told you beforehand. Maybe you were also over there or you may have cared to make some introductions? I went to Earls Court and did a slow tour around the old haunts. I forgot to go to the Hammersmith Palais. I think I mentioned that, during the 60’s I stayed at No 8, Philbeach Gardens (a bed and breakfast), just off Warwick Rd, near the Earls Court Stadium.

For the Games, I was T3 Driver. T1 chauffeured Royalty, T2 chauffeured Heads of State. T3 chauffeured “the rest.” Thank goodness for “Satnav.” All the trips, Crowne Hotel to Heathrow, etc, were pre-programmed so it was not that hard to get around. The voice, a lady, would instruct you to, “take the second turn at the next roundabout.” Because the roads were so narrow, I drove past and took the third turn. The voice would then say “If convenient, please do a U turn.”

The cars were BMW and of course being European, they had the indicators on the opposite side to most cars built in Australia. When I wanted to do a “Lefty,” I hit the windscreen wiper button. This caused great laughter from the passengers, great consternation for the other drivers and much tooting from all cars. A photo of me and the car, is attached.

Look forward to keeping in touch as I am now considering the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. I have registered.  Regards, Bob


August 20, 2012 : Heather Taylor, Seeks Nigel Raihman

I was at the OVC between October and December 1966 and met Nigel and have now lost contact with him.  He was from Fiji and was studying Civil Aviation.  Can you help with an email address or other??  Many thanks, regards, Heather.  My email address is here.

August 25, 2012 : JP

Thanks Heather

I actually worked with Nigel – and remember him very fondly.  I would like to find him too!  We’ll try this and see what happens… I have no photos of him – do you?  Regards JP

September 20, 2012 : JP

Heather and I began our search on September 18 and, unfortunately it didn’t take us long. A Google search turned up a Funeral Director in Cairns, North Queensland Australia and their obituaries section listed Nigel’s death in May 2011. We have both been in touch with his widow Beverly and his daughter Yashmin – and have suggested that we do a small tribute piece to Nigel. They’re considering it – and we’ll let them take their time… The pictures are HERE.


June 15, 2012 : Gerry O’Driscoll, Words and Pictures…

John – I am working on a laptop with mobile broadband in the Wicklow mountains and do not have a scanner at hand for photos – but will give you the notes today. It will be interesting to see if anyone else from the 1970s gets in touch (seconds away – round two) although the further one gets away from The Salisbury Court Hotel the more difficult it is to make that connection. I only had a vague awareness myself regarding the hotel’s connection with the OVC. Also apologies for not having a better or larger selection of photos but I did not own a camera myself at the time. However, I hope what I have to give will be of interest and they have brought back great memories and reminded me that I was young once. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!!

The Photos are HERE.

June 13, 2012 : Gerry O’Driscoll, the Emerald Isle…

Hi John, greetings from the Emerald Isle. It was great to find your site and learn a bit of OVC history. It blew me away. Why did all you guys leave so soon? Do Aussies and Kiwiis not know anything about the afterlife? Did you not know that “The game aint over ’till the fat lady sings”? If you all stayed just a little longer we could have been “soul mates.” How was I supposed to know what to do? Somebody could have at least left a note or something. I mean if I’d only known I could have probably arranged for my mother to have givin birth to me earlier. You all must have just gone around the corner when I walked up the steps of 1-3, Templeton Place SW5, not knowing a thing about what had gone on before or indeed what was to come. All I was doing was going to attend an ” interview.” Needless to remark I got the job that EVERYONE in London was after – hotel porter extraordinaire (a human suitcase conveyor belt). At that time 1-3, Templeton Place was the Salisbury Hotel. The manager was Philip Coates (Welsh) asst. manager was Nigel.

Simmons (UK) head chef Paul Meade (UK), Sales Barbara Cox (UK), Resturant Manager Aldo (Italian), Head waiter Elio Scambati (Italian), Sylvia was in accounts and on drums. Heading up the reception area, from Melbourne Australia was, wait for it, MARGARET ELLIS. The annex to the Salisbury was the Brisbane Hotel in Nevern Square. It was right behind the Salisbury and their back gardens joined together so a sheltered foothpath was constructed and this is where the porter extraordinaire had his workouts lugging hundreds of suitcases from one hotel to the other. Other hotels in the group were the Edwardian in Harrington Gardens and the Queen’s in, I think, Crystal Palace. There was also a property at 23 Nevern Square where the staff lived and partied. The whole thing came under the umberella of a PLC called Court Hotels and the MD was a Mr.Wilson who I assume now was Max Wilson. I actually invested in some of their shares at the time – no, I didn’t make any money on my investment, a trick that I have performed many times since. Mostly the hotels catered for coach tours though we did occasionally have some long stay residents. Mohomad AL Shehabi from Bahrain springs to mind. He was one of a group from BP Bahrain who stayed for over a year. A small door beside the main entrance of the Salisbury was the OVC office/doctor’s surgery.

In keeping with tradition I also bought a sports car – a white Sunbeam with a soft roof and of COURSE I looked in the boot first. Anyway, just to let you know, it must have been sometime in 1972 I was installed as security/watchman in what could only be called a building site at 100 Queensgate. A number of adjoining properties had been purchased and were being converted into an hotel. I was the first ‘live in’ and was in charge of receiving, installing and securing all Court Hotel’s fixtures and fittings. When the door eventually opened the Regency Hotel was born and I took up the position as the ‘Hall Porter’ (Even human suitcase conveyors have notches). All in all, with the exception of a 3 month hike in the USA, I spent nearly 4 years living ‘rent free’ in London in the employment of Court Hotels. I left in September 1973 to get married in Exeter and then returned to Ireland. The REGENCY HOTEL is still in existence in Queensgate, London – and can be viewed using Google Maps. It is a child of the OVC – The Phoenix. “There’s life in the old dog yet.”

I have some photographs I can let you have if you are interested – I can’t lay my hands on one of Margaret Ellis at reception but do have one of her at my wedding. In my twilight years I am a humble retailer in Ireland and wondering where my life has gone. I will be 40 years married next year!! As they say in all good circles, “There’s history in Guinness.”

Kindest regards,  Gerry O’Driscoll

And a few hours later…

Hi John – Will do a bit of searching and get photos together. Just to warn you that computers and I have a rocky relationship so I will have no input into quality, size etc. Their successful transmission will be a miracle in itself. ‘For my next trick I need 5 loaves and 2 fishes’. Will be in touch, Regards, Gerry.


June 13, 2012 : Stephanie Florimo, Seeking Joe…

Hi Guys, I’m taking a bit of stab in the dark – I am looking for Joseph Francis Murray III, Joe worked in London in 1966 for either Netric or Contiki tours as a bus driver / tour guide / camping tour guide. In July of 1966 he took a 12 week camping tour around Europe.  Joe was originally from the USA – I think Tennessee.  Any info would be greatly appreciated!  I think he was about 25 in this year.  That’s it, all the info I have to work on!  Not much but I’m putting out there!!  Thanks a lot from Steph.

I asked her for a little more information…

John, On reading the request again I see what you mean!  Joe Murray took a group of friends on a camping trip around Europe in the summer of 1966, part of the group were my mother and father.  In the photos they have shown me they recall many of the people and places  visited and that Joe was a great guide who was a good friend to all of them, even when they ran out of money and had to camp by the side of the road! We are trying to establish contact with all the old gang and have found quite a few – gotta love the internet!  Memories get hazy as you can imagine, and Mum can’t remember all the places they visited at this time, or in what order! However, our discussions with her about this adventure in her life always make her smile and I would love to help her jog those past memories that these days are clearer than those of only a few weeks ago.  Thanks for your help,   Stephanie


June 13, 2012 : Mike Abbott, OVC Mid 60s…

In answer to my standard request for photographs…

Hi John,
Sorry, no photographs, only wish I had a few from those sixties years, did so much in a v short time but no record of any of it.   Maybe you can add a note to my message – tell us how you got Soft Machine to play at OVC.   All the best,   Mike

June 7, 2012 : Mike Abbott, OVC Mid 60s…

I have no contact with the ownership of OVC – merely a member in the mid-sixties.  I still have my yellow OVC membership card.  By the time I got to be a regular visitor OVC was based in Earls Court Road and the bar was downstairs, replete with a jukebox.  My abiding memory of the OVC was the evening Soft Machine played a date there – mindblowing!  Can’t recall when I stopped going but do recall it becoming ‘The Richmond’ with a dulll grey coloured exterior.  By that time I was probably no longer single.   But very enjoyable to recall those far off days and the times I enjoyed at the OVC.  Mike Abbott’s email.


June 4, 2012 : Jo Maxwell (nee Kleyweg) Cape Town

What a wonderful site to have found while actually wanting to find the OVC. I worked at the OVC from 1959 to 1962 firstly in the kitchen with Mr. Fenner, upgraded to waitress and eventually making it big time in the pay office when I first learnt about PAYE with Nick Tarsh’s mother and Nina from Scotland. I know Lester won’t want to hear this, but tough. He was a “boyfriend” for a long time. Bought me beautiful gifts. A rather sexy pink summer pyjamas, a silver bracelet with charms, the largest Easter egg I have ever seen plus lots of fun with broom sticks and staircases. I remember Di Uys so well as well as Nick and the little guy who joined him. I also remember Symour who ran the postal desk.

Kathy Doyle is now Kathy Pownall and lives in Perth. Saw her in 1995 when I went on a world cruise. I think some of the faces were either before or after my time in Earls Court where I lived with Elaine Whooley (deceased) Margaret, Mike Hochschild (actually shared a bedroom with him when my mother came to visit – those were innocent days. We had some strange guy living in what was almost a broom cupboard alongside the sairswell down to our Philbeach Garden flat, with the kitchen right opposite the door to the loo. The glass enclosed bathroom sort of placed between the kitchen and the passage to the two bedrooms. Six of us lived in this space. Somewhere in a big black box are my old Brownie photo’s of the gang. Chips Cairns, Clive Walker, now a well known artist living far north and who I believe started the international WWF ??? organisation to Save the Rhino. Some might remember Mary Dooley who also worked at the front desk. Last I heard she was married and living in Canada, but I have a feeling she may well have passed on.

Barry Hilton who started Hiltons Travel in Cape Town I met a few years ago when he, through the press asked anyone who had a photo of Max the parrot to let him have it. Luckily I did have one in colour. My worst nightmare was meeting up with a bunch of engineers we used to visit in Manchester. They decided to have a reunion in Cape Town two years ago and I had not seen a few of them in 50 years. Suddenly I realised I had aged. Anyway if you really want to see what I look like now – I am on Facebook – the photo lies of course. No longer the big hair which was very fashionable, but now the BIG hat as Queen on the Cape Town Red Hat Renegades.

Jo Maxwell (nee Kleyweg living happily in a retirement complex in Cape Town).
OMG those where the days

30 Minutes Later… Correction

Stupid me, I meant Hilton Ross – Barry Hilton is a SA comedian who tells awful jokes – mostly so much below the belt that they hide under one’s front toes. Of course the minute I stopped writing a whole heap of memories came flooding back. The little guy was Connie Drezden and I also remember David van Grendeling. I lived in an attic just down the road from the club which I shared with two Ozzies and a South African. Came home one Sunday evening to find a pot of orange “stuff” cooking away. Turns out the Ozzie’s had opened a tin of dog food. Truth. They were a strange bunch but nice. Damn names keep coming and then going too quickly. Something to do with age I guess.

June 5, 2012  :  JP’s Reply

Hello Jo.  We eat a lot of dog food here – but all our attempts to turn it into Biltong have failed!  While you’re finding that black box of old photos – I want to talk to Lester about those pink summer pyjamas…  Welcome aboard!


March 9, 2012 : Marilyn Hanna Grimshaw

I am planning to come to London to do the trip I have been planning all my life on a very limited budget.  I would like to see the Chelsea Flower Show and take in some of the Queen’s Jubilee events if possible.  I will also be visiting relatives.  Just wondered if it was possible to join and then to have some accomodations.

March 9, 2012 : JP’s Reply

Hello Marilyn.  The Overseas Visitors Club closed down during the early 1970s and, although there have been several similarly named start-ups since, there is no association with them and the OVC that we talk about here. We have had several requests like yours, so I decided to ask around. My suggestion (actually it’s my daughter’s suggestion) is that you explore the link just to the right hand side of this page… ‘Find Vacation Rentals.’ …Type London SW5 (the old OVC address) into the search box and click the green button – then make your choice. I haven’t used it yet, but my daughter and her friends have, and they are very experienced travellers. Have a great trip – and let us know how you find the ‘airbnb’ services.


February 29, 2012 : Justin Goldstone

Hi. I have just stumbled across The Old Blue Truck website… I stayed at the OVC in the 90s, but I have been told that my father (Anthony Lindsey Goldstone) and his father (Israel Goldstone) both worked there in the 60s. I have attached a photo taken at the OVC about 1962. My late father is far left with his father next to him.



February 28, 2012 : Stewart Cranswick (re: Brian Duffin)

I also googled and found your site. I knew Brian nearly 30 years ago and he was very good to me. I m now in Perth so I didn’t stay in touch with him – but would like to pass my condolences to Krisa.  Thanks, Stewart Cranswick

A link to Brian Duffin’s page is here.


February 16, 2012 : Leslie Samuels (nee Blake)

I stayed with my parents at the OVC in 1959 when my Dad was on leave from Kenya doing a masters at Imperial College. For a Kenya kid a year in Kensington was a dream come true, together with the boat rides to and from the UK, and the trips on the Continent. It forever cemented my wander lust, which my poor husband has to work overtime to fund. I was Googling the OVC as we will be in London in June and staying in Kensington and i wanted to show my family my old haunts. Alas much has changed, my old school, Allendale is no more, and the OVC seems to have ceased functioning a while back. But those were good times!

I married a Rhodesian, and we now live in rural Idaho in the States. Our visits to London in the past have been brief overnight stays, usually en route to and from Africa when Heathrow has been closed, so I have not really been back to explore things since I was in high school in Kent in 1971. We are spending a few days in Kensington in June and I am waxing nostalgic about those idyllic days, and want Brian and the kids to experience it with me. I am terribly excited about it all!

I love your web site, and admire your spirit!



February 5, 2012 : Bill Bradley – a Kiwi

I would really like help – to fill in some gaps. Bill left NZ in the early 60s for England and lived in the Earl’s Court / Chelsea area until 1968 when he left for a quick trip to the US which turned into several decades. He married an English girl, Christine Clark. If anyone knew Bill in the 1960s I would love to hear from them. I know he loved England and his time there.

Thank you in advance.


December 19, 2011 : Bill Young


I first went over with the OVC from Salisbury, Rhodesia, as it was then, early in 1962 and stayed until 1964. In between jobs with the OVC I spent three months backpacking around Europe with a girlfriend. Later I met an Aussie girl who was to become my wife. We enjoyed some great trips driving around Britain but then decided that backpacking overland to Rhodesia would be a great adventure. A carefully planned trip using rail and paddle steamers up the Nile seemed the easiest and, according to the OVC travel adviser, should have taken four to six weeks. However, delays at borders and the Nile being blocked with weed resulted in  visas and permits expiring en route which required multiple visits to different government departments in Khartoum to validate our situation. Eventually we arrived, skinny and threadbare, after three and a half months travelling through desert, swamp, jungle and bush!!!  Regards… Bill.  Kallaroo WA 6025 Australia  Email Address

More Photos HERE.

December 18, 2011 : JP

Thanks Bill

I’ve inserted Di’s name in the appropriate place on Lester’s Photo Page. Do you mind if I turn your email into a post on the ‘Readers Letters’ page? Would be a safer way to handle your signature detail perhaps… Let me know – also the years you were there?  Regards JP

December 17, 2011: Bill Young

Hi John,

I was looking through the OVC section of your Old Blue Truck website which revived pleasant memories of the great times we had in Earl’s Court in the early sixties. I made some good friends and met my wife, Fay, there – she sadly passed away last year.

While there I worked as a dishwasher at The Courtfield and as a porter at Kangaroo House in Nevern Square and Beaver House in Philbeach Gardens. Working as a porter I came into contact with a lovely lady based in the main building, Di Uys, who handled all the hotel bookings; I phoned her every day for about a year to confirm check-ins and check-outs . She is the lady in Lester’s photo #36.

Regards… Bill


July 8, 2011 : Peter Henning

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.

More Photos HERE.


29 October, 2010 : John Rowe, OVC 1962/63…


thanks for the reply. You know the more I think about it the more I am convinced that it was the OVC that played the Zambesi Club. Ihave several photos & there was a huge spread in the Melbourne Herald after the event. I will dig them up & see if I can send them to you.

Kind Regards,  John Rowe


16 October, 2010 : John Rowe, OVC 1962/63…

hi, i PLAYED IN THE 1ST aUSSIE rULES FOOTY MATCH IN lONDON IN 62 OR 63.  the aussie club (cant remember the name) played the Zambesi Club on a rugby pitch on a freezing cold foggy day.  ANYONE REMEMBER IT? JOHN ROWE


12 October, 2010 : Bob Davis

Hi John,

What a great discussion. I attach a copy of the article from the the “Seeking” column from the Sunday Herald Sun.

I follow “South Melbourne”.  Patersons is a WA based company. The dealing room was full of blue and yellow balloons in 2005 when the Eagles played South in the Grand final.  Being the only follower of the Swans, the lady taking the photo told me to put my finger up.  So I did.  I am wearing my Dad’s scarf. The rest is history.  Cheers, Bob

12 October, 2010 : Bob Davis

To:  John Polson,

Am I on the right page / website ?  What a great read.  I am still working in stockbroking.  Where does one start ? I went to the UK in January 1962 on the Patris.  Please advise if I may correspond with you and others on this site and I will then tell you what I have been doing for the past 48 years. I note that you mention a Margaret Ellis from Melbourne and also that she is still in the UK.  If she ever returns to Melbourne, I would like to catch up. Alternatively, I may conatct her when I am next in London.  Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards, Bob


11 October, 2010 : Bob Davis

Good morning,

I was first in London in 1962 and lodged at No8 Philbeach Gardens. It is a court that runs of Warwick Road near Old Cromwell Rd. I remember when the Club was originally on the Corner of Earls Court Rd, and also when the “New” Club was opened the same year.  I worked for an English sharebroking firm named Morton Bros on the corner of Gresham and Coleman Sts, in the “City”.  During the day I was a “yellow button”. I was allowed on the floor of the “house” to take messsages but I was not allowed to trade. You had to be a Blue Button to do that.  My boss was Mr Gilbert.  I have been back a few times over the past 10 years and always spend a day walking around Earls Court and enjoying a few beers at the Pubs. Many great times were had I would be pleased to hear from any others that were in the UK in 1962.

Thank you, Bob Davis


September 28, 2010 :  Bruce Fewings

Hi John,

Thank you for your reply.

We will be in Sydney all week for Trevor’s ‘send off’, (we live in Melbourne), but I look forward to not only letting those that will be attending, know about ‘the old blue truck’, but also writing a little on my father’s life.

Attatched is a recent photo of us with 2 of my 4 daughters!

I will send you a selection of photos which you can post at your descretion.

Kind Regards, Bruce Fewings


September 26, 2010 :  Bruce Fewings

Hello All,

My father Trevor Fewings passed away today, 26/09/10, peacefully.
After a wonderful life of travel, a love of jazz music and a fine glass of wine, married to Barbie for the past 18 years. A great father who would keep us riveted to the dining table with stories of London and Europe in the 60s.
If you wish to contact me for more details I would be more than happy to reply.

Kind Regards,  Bruce Fewings
beansurf [at] bigpond [dot] net [dot] au


Several Pages on the Early History of the OVC…

1.  New Book – ‘Earls Court, the OVC and Me
2.  Lester Jolly’s Pictures
3.  Brian Duffin (dec) – RSA
4.  Nigel Raihman (dec) – Fiji & AUS
5.  Lance Schroeder – RSA
6.  Readers’ Letters and Photos



  1. Hayley Spencer Holmes
    February 10, 2011

    My parents met at the Overseas Visitors Club in the late 1950s. My mum (Maureen Lelyveld) was from Durban and my dad (bob Spencer) from Tamworth/Sydney. They have been married 50 years today (2/10/61). They have always told stories about their adventures at the OVC. They live in Chicago now and for their anniversary present my sister and I are sending them to London. Can’t wait to tell them about the site although their time at the OVC preceded yours by a number of years. Cheers!

    • JRP
      February 10, 2011

      G’day Hayley
      I’ve just sent you a private email with congratulations to your parents – and an invitation for Bob and Maureen to send any photos they might have. We have several readers who were OVC members in the late 50s early 60s. Welcome aboard.

  2. Gavin Fernie
    October 5, 2014

    I arrived in London in 1959, having worked my passage over on the Cape Town Castle as a dishwasher (Plateman Second Class). Like so many other South Africans I checked into the OVC, and was ‘rerouted’ to The Air Terminal Hotel in Pennywern Street, run by a lovely, warm lady called Pat.

    After a brief sojourn in London I hiked through Europe with Lars Hill, a close friend from Cape Town. We met Terry Murray and Lester Jolly in the Youth Hostel in Copenhagen. Terry, who became one of my closest friends in life, and Lester were old hands, having been on the road for about 6 months. Later that year, when Lester and Terry were a fixture at the OVC, four of us, three South Africans (myself, Lars Hill and Mel Thorne) and an American film extra who somehow came to live with us, lived in a tint attic in Trebovir Road.

    Later in life my profession incorporated considerable international travel, but the memory of that first trip in 1959/60 remains the best trip I ever did. I saw Robin Binckes and Tony Ferrie at a book launch (Robin is now an acclaimed Tour Guide and author in South Africa) in Cape Town. The memories came flooding back. Please, any OVCers from 1959/60, if you have photos or anecdotes, contact me on gfernie@mweb.co.za. Gavin Fernie

  3. Gavin Fernie
    October 5, 2014

    That should read ‘tiny attic.’ Our brains were ‘tinted’ from cheap booze and working at Joe Lyons Tea Shops.

  4. Elaine (Gosper) Pereira
    October 16, 2015

    It seems strange that so many people talk about 1962 -1963 and the OVC but no one seems to remember Kingsley Bell, studying to be an accountant in London, and travelled through Europe in a truck with 3 fellow South Africans in the middle of 1962, returning to London about September- October, 1962.

  5. Rick Pringle
    February 9, 2016

    I was barman/barmanager of the Zambezi Club after Basil Sagar 1964/65 have some photos that might interest Gwen Whitside. Any one got her correct email address. If not how can In place these photos on this site ?
    Rick Pringle from West Australia

  6. clive Walker
    June 21, 2017

    OVC 1959 to 1963. Worked with Lester jolly and David Lawson. Working on a memoir with a chapter on the OVC


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