Tag Archives: Henry Keyse

Collectables – Remuera Bell

IMG_0089IMG_0091This rather nice souvenir ship’s bell was certainly made between 1911 (when the Remuera launched), and 1940, and at a guess I would say it is 1930s or perhaps a little earlier. I am confident that it is before 1940 because that is when the Remuera was torpedoed by aircraft off Scotland (on 26th August) and sunk. She had been sailing as part of a large convoy.

IMG_0090 IMG_0092The following quote is from Ordeal by Sea – The New Zealand Shipping Company in The Second World War 1939-1945 by Sydney D. Waters (published 1949):

On her last voyage, the Remuera sailed from Wellington on 12 July 1940 for London, with one of the largest cargoes she had carried during her long career but without passengers. … At about 9.15 a.m. on 26 August, the convoy was crossing the entrance to Moray Firth and was about fifteen miles north of Peterhead, when the first attack was made by a single German aircraft, one of whose bombs missed the stern of the Remuera by about thirty yards. At 9.35 a.m., an attack was carried out by torpedo-carrying aircraft off Kinnaird Head. The Remuera opened fire on one aircraft but its torpedo struck her on the port side.

Donate-LemonSouvenirs like this were sold by the ship’s barber. The printed passenger list for the 13th October, 1938 voyage of the Rangitata explained that,

“An experienced barber is carried for the convenience of passengers. A scale of charges for hair-dressing &c., and a price list for certain articles has been approved by the Company and will be found posted up in the Barber’s Shop. The barber is authorised to stock souvenirs, &c., on his own account – the price of which is not controlled by the Company.”



Henry Keyse, the barber of the Remuera, painted by Jennifer Toombs

This advertising card (above), known to be in use during a 1926 Remuera voyage, shows the large range of products stocked in the Hairdressing Saloon, even including ‘materials for fancy dress’, which would have been very useful for the passengers’ entertainment on the long voyage.

It is an extremely sturdy metal item that has lasted well for more than 75 years. I would be interested to see how many of today’s souvenirs survive in years to come.


The Remuera, from a 1923 photo album (probably a real photo postcard)

Ruahine in a heavy sea. Who was the photographer?

PZ-&-A3792-PhotosFollowing on from my last Blog, here is another photograph of a heavy sea as seen from the Ruahine. There are two slightly different prints of the same photograph shown here. In the top one, someone has changed the wording by painting it out, adding a new code, and then copying the altered photograph. In the process, they have removed the initials of the person I presume to be the original photographer, and also the name of the ship.

The new code, “A3792” represents the New Zealand-based photographer, David Aldersley. Some Aldersley researchers believe that David Aldersley was the photographer, but I have only been able to find him on one New Zealand Shipping Company voyage, and that was the one on which he emigrated from the UK to New Zealand.


Detail of the two prints to show how the text has been altered. If you click on the scan to view it full size, you will see that there are still traces of the original text

The lower photograph, which is the original, has the name of the ship, Ruahine, and also a copyright for “P.Z. Photo”. P.Z., I believe, was Peter Zerface, a barber who worked on board the Ruahine for many years, at least from 1916 or maybe earlier. Find out more about Peter Zerface here.

PZ-&-A3792-Photos---backsThe reverse of both the postcards is shown on the right. To add to the puzzle, the top card, on which the text has been changed, has a blank back. The bottom card which has the “P.Z.” copyright on the front, is printed onto a David Aldersley photograph paper printed back.

So why is this important? Well, it is important to me because a collector that I knew well, who died a few years ago, told me that I was obsessed with barbers because I also research Henry George Keyse (another New Zealand Shipping Company barber who signed his photographic postcards as “HGK”), and he said that the barbers would not know one end of a camera from another. He insisted that David Aldersley took all the photographs himself, including all the HGK photographs of Pitcairn Island, and yet never provided me with a scrap of evidence to prove that David Aldersley travelled more than once on a New Zealand Shipping Company vessel. That made me angry, and so I have set out to prove that I am correct, and I will be returning to this subject again on this blog.