Good old days

Chat about football matters whether or not they relate to Peterhead FC
Post Reply
International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:14 pm

Next up in part four on Friday 29th January will be the working life story of James and Eva (nee Ferrari) Zanre

User avatar
The Boss
Posts: 1209
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 8:42 pm
Supports: Peterhead
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Good old days

Post by Nev » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:47 pm

Given the popularity of this thread, I've made it a sticky at the top of the forum.

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:54 am

Nev - Thanks for assistance, but please relieave my ignorance and explain a 'sticky'

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:29 am

Part four
James & Eva Zanre (Ferrari)

Young Eva was ever a sight for sore eyes at the Lido Fish restaurant, that is if she ever stood long enough in one place to catch a good look When the RAF base opened at Boddam, the ‘Lido’ caught the trade of National Servicemen returning to camp after a night at the cinema.. Those young lads put together a new descriptive name for Eva and called her the ‘spitfire’- Not a reference to her temperament, more her lighting speed.
At 11 years old Eva started working, doing odd job tasks at the ‘Lido’ Chip shop for a little pocket money. This work introduction came about when she came home from school one day complaining of being “fed-up” Father Sandy told her “It’s time you wiz doon at eh shop working meh quine.” The rest, as they say, is history
At age 14, Eva started work full time and recalls an occasion when she was about 17 when her dad told her that every Saturday a group of ‘country’ boys would visit the ‘seaties’ after a night at the cinema. Sandy instructed her to be nice to them as “they are good regular customers” That night when the lads arrived and took their seats they were warmly welcomed by Eva, who, whilst taking their order enquired, “Have you been to the pict-ers lads? - Wiz it eh good film? Fawiz-in’t”? Suddenly Sandy’s voice boomed from behind the fryer “Eva- Get on wae yir work.” Was Eva flirting or just doing as her father had instructed? Who knows? Surely the former would not be the case
After working with her dad at the Errol Street shop, she and brother Ronnie took over the Crown Inn operation in 1961. This was after father Sandy bought out the interests of the Giulianotti family..
A piece of Peterhead slap-stick is told by Eva and comes from her time with husband James during their Clerkhill days. Mina (Cordiner) Hicks, a regular customer and good friend, had been in the shop at teatime and a short time later after returning home, phoned the chip shop. Eva took the call and when she hung up she promptly told James that Mina had left here earrings in the shop. Because the busy teatime trade had passed, James went to the customer area to look for the earrings, but no luck. Finally Eva went next door to the newspaper shop just in case they had been lost there. The shop assistant allowed her to search the floor area but said that Mina Hicks had left her messages there. Eva returned to James and told him it was Mina’s eerins not ear-rings that had been left, and not lost as they had assumed
James said “eerins? We call them errands in Dundee.” Where, by the way they call a pie a ‘peh’.
When Eva was 17, she decided to buy her first face powder and lipstick. Later that same afternoon she turned up for work with her new facial adornments applied in liberal amounts. She entered the shop and walked past her father at the fryer. He gave her a glance. When she returned with her white coat ready for duty, Sandy asked her “Are you ready for your work Eva “Aye” said Eva. “Well ging hame ’n’ wash yir face first“. Eva walked home to King Street crying all the way. She received some comforting words from mother Luicia and my impression is that she did eventually use her make-up, but not on that particular occasion, probably much much later.
Before leaving the Ferrari family section, one final wee touching story from Eva and before she became Mrs Zanre
During the early researching of this story, I sought to visit Louie Becci’s grave at Balmoor cemetery and quickly realised that Louie had died sometime before the new cemetery had opened and was in in fact buried at the Constitution Street burial grounds. However, once there I continued to look round the head stones and found the side-by-side graves of brothers Joe and Sandy Ferrari. I was puzzled by the gravestone to the left of Sandy’s and where the epitaph stated “Erected by Luicia and nephews in loving memory of her brother Serafino Zucconi died London 15th January 1961” When I enquired of Eva if she knew the gentleman? She told me that he was her uncle - her mother’s brother - and that after ’Mum’ received the telephone news of his passing she remarked to husband Sandy that “It was a shame that Serafino had no one close in London. Within minutes Sandy made arrangements with Peterhead’s undertaker James (Jimmy) Davidson to have Mr Zucconi’s remains transported to Peterhead and buried in the plot where only weeks later Sandy’s brother Joe Ferrari died on the first day of February, then quite suddenly on May 27 Sandy suffered a heart attack on his way by car to Fraserburgh and died soon after. A triple tragedy all within three months
A sad story of three close family bereavements, but nevertheless one that epitomises the kind heart of Sandy Ferrari and the close knit bonding of Italian communities
The press reported Sandy’s death as follows:
Peterhead fish-and-chip shop owner, Mr Domenico Ferrari, 55 Marischall Street died suddenly in hospital on May 27 1961 at age 61. Born in Boston Massachusetts, he came to this country when he was 15. After serving in the Italian army throughout World War 1, he returned to this country to set up business at 34 Errol Street Peterhead. He later took over additional premises at 55 Marischal Street
His wife, four sons and a daughter survive Mr Ferrari
His brother Joe, who carried on business at the Carlton Cafe in Broad Street, and a fish frying business at Rose Street, died suddenly last February
Sandy Ferrari’s surviving sister is Mrs Flora Zanre, Peterhead”
That obituary press cutting is proudly pasted in Eva Ferrari’s photo album. Eva is now back living in Peterhead after a spell in Glasgow, where she stayed together with son Domenico. She says of her father Sandy, that he was a strict disciplinarian, who thrived on the work ethic and instilled the same characteristics in his family and that
“It served us all well. We have all done okay ” She continues, saying that she made many friends in Glasgow but is delighted to be back in her home town, and how she missed the many friends she met during the time spent in business over the years. Adding to the list of, many newer ones she made in the job she had with the bakers before she left. Eva also speaks kindly of her close friend Mary Becci and other old friends and relatives who she now meets regularly at St Mary’s Chapel.

Eva married James Zanre from Leslie Fife-born in Dundee and they started the Clerkhill Chip shop
They have one son - Dr Domenico Zanre. Educated at St Peters Episcopal School Hanover Street, Peterhead Central School and then at Glenalmond College Perthshire. He is a currently a Lecturer in Italian at the University of Glasgow, and in 2004 entered the literary field with his book ’Cultural Non- Conformity in Early Modern Florence’
Domenico will soon be giving up his present university lecturing position, (Aug 2005) intending instead to study for the priesthood, where a great deal of his time will be spent in Rome. Surely a first for one of Peterhead’s sons and certainly a proud time for Eva and no doubt the whole of the Northeast’s Italian and Catholic communities.
Attempting to aid my research of the story, Domenico decided to write a few notes regarding his mum and dad and relative to the Ferrari section. The so-called ‘notes’ are as follows.

‘That’s Amore’ - Peterhead style.
The ‘Blue Toon’may fall somewhat short of the romantic charm of Paris, Rome or Hollywood, but in the courtship and marriage of Eva Ferrari and James Zanre it provided a love affair worthy of Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant or Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Eva was the chipper queen of the family shop at Errol Street and later Marischal Street. It was during the summer of 1966 when she first met her beau in Borgo Val di Taro, a lovely wee town nestling in the Apennine Mountains.
When Eva was leaving church on a sunny Sunday morning, she came face to face with a smiling James Zanre, who was looking up at her from the church steps. Whilst this ‘brief encounter’ may well have been a case of ‘love at first sight’ Eva and James’s families were not unknown to one another. James’ father Angelo Zanre would often close his chip shop in Leslie Fife, journey up to 46 King Street Peterhead and there enjoy a good blether and the customary game of cards with his drinking buddy Sandy Ferrari. The sessions lasted well into the wee small hours. There were times when James would accompany his dad, though seldom there was an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Eva, who, as always, would be busy in the kitchen
Despite the beautiful holiday setting of the 1966 holiday, Eva was keen to return to the ‘Blue Toon, explaining that she was homesick. As luck would have it, James was returning by car with his mother to Fife next day. When he kindly offered Eva a lift back she politely declined, worried as to what people might think of her accepting such an invitation from a ‘Fifer.’- Even with the presence of his mother as chaperone. Changed days indeed!
Not to be outdone, our romantic hero kept in touch with Eva after they had returned to Scotland and finally plucked up enough courage to request that he visit her. “Please yourself” (Play’n hard to get) was Eva’s non committal answer.
It was just coincidence that when James visited her for the first time it was during Scottish Week and it was very much in his mischievous style to tell her that it was not necessary for her “to put out all the flags and bunting for me coming” When Eva was organising her first date with James she was working in the family’s Crown Inn with brother Ronnie. She sought to arrange time off Ronnie subjected her to extensive interrogation “A date wae James Zanre? Fits he wuntin, cumin up here?” Eva’s penance was to prepare a hundred sandwiches before she could go out with her admirer on her first date. Eva’s mother Luigia was equally reticent about letting her ’quinnie’ out of her sight. She shouted after the pair as they left “Myne noo Eva! You behave yourself wae yon loon” This despite the fact that James was 43 and Eva 36!
After that rather traumatically arranged first date the romance blossomed. By March 1967 they were engaged and married on October 24 of the same year. It is unfortunate that celebrity magazines such as ’Hello’ and ’OK’ were not in existence then as Eva and James’s wedding was quite an event in the town. Some 240 guests were invited to a sumptuous meal at the ‘Palace’ and a further 100 to the evening dance. Those additional guests were treated to what was a second sit-down meal.
Sadly this was not the end of Eva and James’s marriage story. For their honeymoon the newly weds travelled to Aviemore, where a disaster awaited them. Owing to a misunderstanding regarding the booking, they found themselves spending the wedding night in a double room, but with two single beds. They laughed this situation off. However on the second night there began a series of events that led to such sadness and grief. Eva woke with a start during the night, hearing her mother Luigia call out for her. She stirred James and told him of her experience. “James we have to go home, something has happened to my mother” He told her “Go back to sleep Eva, you’re dreaming.
First thing next morning Eva phoned Ronnie, he assured her everything was fine at home. “But give me your Aviemore number in case” She was suspicious of Ronnie’s response and phoned her sister-in-law who told her that Luicia had “taken a turn” and “had been calling her (Eva) throughout the night” As it happened Eva’s mother had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage.
All of these events took place within the space of one week. - Eva was married on a Tuesday, her mother died the same week (29/10/67) and was buried the following Tuesday. All of the guests who had attended the wedding returned to St Mary’s church seven days later for Mrs Lucia Ferrari’s funeral and the wedding flower arrangements that had bedecked the altar on Eva’s happy wedding day remained in the church for her mother’s requiem mass.
Amazingly these events were foretold two weeks before the wedding. Members of the Ladies Swimming Club had been in the chip shop and invited Eva to go with them to have their fortunes told by a tealeaf reading. The message in Eva’s cup was uncannily accurate “There is a big celebration in your cup with lots of people present. But the joy will turn to tears``.
Such is Eva and James’ love story. One that in my eyes is worthy of a bestseller or blockbuster film - A story of love, laughter, comedy and tears. James died on August 21 1994 aged 70. Some time after James’ passing Eva went to live with her son in Glasgow. She has only recently returned ‘home’ to her beloved ‘Peterheid‘
(June 2005)
Next - Part 5 Chipper Elsie & Alex ‘Deevil‘ Buchan

User avatar
The Boss
Posts: 1209
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 8:42 pm
Supports: Peterhead
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Good old days

Post by Nev » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:52 pm

popeye wrote:Nev - Thanks for assistance, but please relieave my ignorance and explain a 'sticky'
Simply means it'll stay at top, rather than droppong down between posts.

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:21 pm

Much obliged Nev -Self explananatory really - But obviously not to myself.

On a similar vein, Does the rolling text within a circle signify that a viewing or viewings are taking place.?

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:50 am

Part 5 Chipper Elsie & Alex 'Deevil' Buchan

Elsie Bruce. Later Newell
Or better known from the 1940’s as ‘Chipper Elsie,’ she was the daughter of Thomas and Harriet Bruce. Her dad a born and bred ’Buchaner’and often known as ‘Tattie Tom was married to Harriet who came from Gardenstown. Their shop on the corner of Skelton Street and Ugie Street was discontinued as a tailor and sealskin repair business in the late 30’s. It would then soon reopen as a fish & chip shop and was operated as such by Elsie’s parents until taken over by Elsie during the war years.
During the 39-45 war her only brother John was in the navy and was tragically lost while assisting a surface rescue. A ship of the merchant fleet had been sunk and John was helping the pick up of survivors, when he too was lost.
It was six months before his mother was informed by the War Department that John was “Missing presumed dead.“ and it was some years later years before the department confirmed his death.
Elsie had three cousins in Gardenstown who also moved to Peterhead and lived at 23 Maiden Street. Two of them, Jean and Ann Bruce worked in ‘Crossies’ for over 40 years. The third, Mary worked as a nurse in Aberdeen during the war. After meeting and marrying a soldier, she moved to Luton in Bedfordshire. It was during a holiday visit to cousin Mary in the early 50’s that Elsie met Raymond Newell in Luton. After returning home Elsie and Raymond continued to correspond and the romance blossomed to marriage in 1952
The chip shop, which had been operated, by Elsie and her dad ceased to trade shortly after her father died around 1949. Elsie then leased the shop to Glaswegian Bill Lawrie who set up a fruit and vegetable business on the premises. Bill was married to Peterhead girl Peggy Buchan. He stayed on at Elsie’s former chip shop premises until the 5-year lease expired and then moved across the road to larger premises.
Now married to Raymond, Elsie and her husband moved back to the shop, but now was to trade as a general hardware store opening for business in 1953
Elsie’s family had always been strong Methodists and she had for some time been a Sunday school teacher at the Methodist Church, Queen Street. She was committed to many church duties. One of which was to encourage young airmen from RAF Buchan to come along and join the Fellowship Class and Youth Club at the church. The minister then was Harry L Wisley and it was he who advanced the “Open Door” Methodist church policy
1954 saw Elsie receive encouragement to seek a position on Peterhead Town Council.
She duly stood for election that year and topped the poll by one vote from Rob Forman, the outgoing provost seeking re-election. When the count was completed the Town Clerk Andrew Craig advised Mr Forman that he was entitled to request a ’recount‘. Mr Forman graciously declined the offer stating that Elsie had deservedly won her place at the head of the poll, and that he saw no reason for another count
During Elsie’s 6 years on the council she was on the Hospital Board and became a Justice of the Peace within the court system. She was also on the National Cruelty to Children body (RSPCC) Elsie’s busy life also included being a member of Christian Aid Committee. If such duties were not considered sufficient she was also involved with church’s ‘Sisterhood & Friendship’ groups, whilst also devoting time to various preaching venues.
Elsie was, and had been for over 40 years a stalwart member of the Buchanhaven Sisterhood, which met every Thursday in the ’old’ Buchanhaven School. She was also heavily involved with ‘Whitehill House’ and was one of the original promoters of Peterhead’s alcoholic refuge.
The shop property at Skelton Street was altered and extended after Elsie’s mother died and the shop now included No’s 2 & 4 Skelton St. Raymond and Elsie had been in business there for 31 years when they both retired at 65 and 66 respectively Elsie being the older by one year. It was Elsie’s proud achievement, that during the power cuts of the early 70’s they had sold over 600 gallons of paraffin in one day with the storage tank virtually empty. She was also pleased to have been part of the Council team, which saw the Euclid and Cleveland factories established in Peterhead.
As a member of the Scottish Week committee she was never happier than when she worked at the barbeque stalls selling kippers and hot dogs, but in the main having a “right good blether”
Elsie and Raymond had some years earlier bought the Mr Auld’s house at No 6 Skelton Street. Much work was carried out by Raymond to turn it into the marital home and where they lived for 45 very happy years.
Regrettably Elsie succumbed to illness in 1996 at Aberdeen’s Forrester hill Hospital. Always cheerful and safe in her faith that the Lord was preparing to take her home. Indeed, a very remarkable lady
I am greatly indebted to Raymond for accessing information regarding Elsie’s public and private life. Also, to not forget the great behind the scenes part he himself played in her achievements. Raymond was severely disabled as an infant when a serious infection saw him lose almost his entire left arm. He dismisses his disability lightly, indeed does not regard it as such. “I can’t remember ever having a left arm, so it’s no great miss.” Raymond remains today a staunch worker for the Methodist Church and part of his many tasks is that of Church Property treasurer. Included in his other interests are regular visits to Balmoor Stadium to watch his beloved Peterhead play. A habit carried on from the Recreation Park days and which begun over half a century ago. From his English roots Raymond is now very much a staunch ’Blue-Mogganer’
A sourced ‘Elsie’ story is of ’Big Mac’ Murdoch McNeil living at what was then Ugie Park. When returning from a trawl-fishing trip he would regularly deliver an oilskin kit bag of haddock to Elsie. She would fry a quantity of the fish, add some chips and return the suppers for Mr McNeil’s not insignificant family. Those benefiting were Williamina born 1917, Jim 1920, Bell 1922, Mary 1923, Christopher 1925, Murdo, Tom 1930, Manuel 1933 and Roddy 1940, plus mum and dad. The first four mentioned were married, those and their offspring also benefited. It would be fair to assume, that by the size of Mr Mc Neil‘s family a heavy haul of white fish would have been required on a regular basis. Elsie retained the remaining fish in Mac’s bag for her own retailing purposes. A convenient ’barter’ for both parties
In those days it was common for ‘chippers’ to outer wrap the customers order in newspaper. Elsie had a habit of reading little snippets from the paper she was using and to relay the item of news to the shop customers. In the meantime the queue outside the shop was impatiently waiting and being out of earshot was not benefiting from the commentary on any questionable developments in last Sunday’s ‘News of the World’
It has been revealed that Elsie’s father Tom Bruce was at times known ‘Tattie Tom’ Such a bye-name may have been derived from a habit scrupulously examining each potato for “een” - Buchanhaven for eyes / black spots.
I am indebted to Elsie’s husband Raymond for much of the aforementioned information. Some of which is not relevant to Elsie’s chip shop years. Nevertheless, I feel it is important to relate Raymond’s comments to the story, if only to emphasise the great quality of his much loved Elsie and of their 48 happy years together A story which gives insight to a remarkably selfless lady who devoted much of her life to helping others.
Alex ‘Deevil’ Buchan
Born Alexander Summers Buchan in 1917 spent most of his working life as a fisherman. He gave up the sea due to a heart condition and opened a fish and chip restaurant at Peterhead‘s Seagate on the ground floor beneath Hutton’s sail making business. This site is now occupied by the Inland Revenue offices at Keith House. Alex was affectionately known locally as ‘Deevil‘ Buchan. This name came about when as a very young boy he would regularly visit family friends near Boddam. One of the local horse and cart rounds-men would frequently pass the home where Alex was visiting and as a boy he thought it fun to jump on the road and scare the horse. The cart tender would angrily chastise Alex by calling him a “ Little ‘Deevil’ Alex told his family what name the carter had called him and from then on it stuck. Even today the family are referred to in the same manner, if only to make clear which ‘Buchan’ clan is being referred to in conversation. Alex married Lizzie Hutchison on the 27th February 1939 when at that time he was a fisherman. His wife Lizzie who was over three years junior to Alex was the sister of Peter (PC) Davidson’s wife Mary Jane and also to Joe Hutchison father of popular Peterhead ‘postie’ Eddie Hutchison and daughter Lisky Hutchison (Kilgour)
Alex gave up the sea due to ill health and commenced trading as a fish and chip shop, cafe proprietor in 1959. The business venture was short lived and he ceased trading after the premises was badly damaged by fire approximately five years after it had opened. The cause of the fire was never established.
During Alex’s time in the fish frying business, his shop was always regarded as a popular venue with fishermen. The shop also provided ’Jukebox‘ entertainment and during the evening was a popular meeting spot for youngsters.
Alex also sold ice cream from the shop and a van round in the town. The business did not resume after the fire and Alex decided to give the fishing another go. Due to continuing heath problems he was finally forced to retire, and a few years died much too prematurely at the age of 55 in 1972. His wife Lizzie passed away 21 years later in 1993 at the age of 72
Two of his daughters worked in the shop. Betty Buchan later Whittingham now 62 and Sylvia (Park) 60. Other members of Alex’s family include Sandy 66, Billy 63, Eunice 58, George only 21 when he was lost at sea on 26 January 1972 whilst a crewman on the ’Golden Promise’ Another son Joseph also passed away at the same age. He was fishing on the Lunar Bow at Loch Bysdale on the west coast. When a massive heart attack was the cause of his death. Another son Billy died aged 53 on 1st July 1994. Alex youngest sons are Andrew 49 and Alistair 47. His grandchildren number 10
At the time of his passing Alex lived at 77 Ugie Street, between George Road and Burns Road. Alex’s obituary in a northeast newspaper wrote of Alex having studded his garden walls with brightly coloured seashells and a variety of shell coloured emblems. Subsequently he added a maritime vocal point featuring a lighthouse, which was illuminated during darkness. He added a model lifeboat depicting a launch scene answering a distress call. The garden seafaring scene also included numerous fishing boats and a collection of sailing models were also on display. He later built a wishing well and one day a passer bye threw a coin in the well and so started a great fundraiser for the Anna Ritchie School. It was well known for ladies returning from the ‘bingo’ to alight from the bus at the ‘stop’ opposite the garden and regularly deposit their change in Alex’s well.
Francis Gay popular columnist of the Sunday Post wrote, “I know a wishing well that makes dreams come true. Not the wishes of those who threw coins, but the wishes of Alex Buchan the man who built it. By the time he died over £300 had been collected for the benefit of handicapped children. It was Alex’s wish, after he was gone the wishing well should be kept going and his sons worked regularly at the garden to continue their father’s charitable work”
There must surely be many ‘stories’ relating to the ’Deevil’. However only two have come to light. One is of his daughter Betty. Although a cigarette smoker himself Alex frowned on any family member following his habit. Betty it seems became addicted to the weed and when she could, would sneak a ’puff’ in the back shop of the ’chipper’ On one occasion she heard her father coming and stuck the ’tabbie’ in the fold of her rolled up cardigan sleeve. Alex immediately accused her of smoking; she retorted that she didn’t smoke. He promptly asked her why there was smoke coming from her cardigan beneath her ‘oxster’. Betty’s secret was out and up in smoke.
The other tale is of Alex fishing out of Scarborough and things were not going very well. The crew were stuck in the Yorkshire town with no money for a beer on Saturday night. Out of boredom Alex struck up a few chords on his accordion and a mate joined in with his ‘moothie’ (harmonica) The rest of the crew joined in and sang some hymns (“Prayer is the key” his favourite) while lazing on the deck.
A crowd of holidaymakers congregated to listen to them singing and Alex quickly sized up the situation and told one of the crew to put his bonnet round. They collected quite a sum of money for their hour long sing-a-long. So much so, Alex felt a little guilty hymn singing for the purpose of spending the money on beer drinking. Consequently the full collection proceeds was given over to Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Alex’s benevolence made certain that the crew’s Saturday night remained dry. His act of generosity however, left a nice feeling inside
Those latter story sums up the person Alex ‘Deevil‘ Buchan. Ever aware to the opportunity for making a bob or two. His enterprise however, always accompanied by a kind and giving heart.

User avatar
The Boss
Posts: 1209
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 8:42 pm
Supports: Peterhead
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Good old days

Post by Nev » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:05 pm

popeye wrote:On a similar vein, Does the rolling text within a circle signify that a viewing or viewings are taking place.?
No, the rolling text indicates a certain number of posts have been made in that thread - not sure what the cutoff is, to be honest.

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:34 pm

Part 6 McLennan and McNaught

Alex McLennan
In 1935 Alex McLennan with his wife Maggie Ann (Coull) Alex started his fish & chip shop business at 69 Longate (now 109). This address was close to what was then known as Woodgers Close and had been McNaughts chipper before being taken over by the Alex McLennan. This same shop had many years earlier been used for the same ‘chipper’ purpose by the Bob Guilenotti.
Alex McLennan’s business was highly popular and there was disappointment when the shop closed during the war years (39-45) The shop reopened in 1945 and large queues were common at the shop . His son, also Alex, worked with his father and mother. Also on the staff were Poll Evans and Muggie Ann McIntosh (Williams). The family home was at 19 Roanheads, just behind Nellie Napes shop and accessed from the the ‘Hullick’ (hillock) North Street or by the steps opposite the ‘slip’ at Seagate
The McLennan shop surprisingly closed permanently in 1949. Any reasons put forward for the closure can now only be speculative. It has been put to me that son Alex had developed a form of dermatitis on both his arms, for this reason he let his parents know he had no desire to continue in the chip shop business should his parents be contemplating retirement. Alex senior duly did retire and son Alec went on to live at 47 Merchant Street and was well into his eighties before he died in 1999
Regrettably I have no further information on the popular Alex McLennan and his family. I am grateful however to Mr Eddie Willox, Clerkhill Road, for what information and photographs have been provided here.

Alex McNaught.
Alex (1876) and Jean (1885) McNaught started their Fish & Chip restaurant business in the early 20’s at a Longate site between the town’s gas works and Ellis Street. They moved from there in the 1934 to 64 Queen Street where today the trading name of the premises is ‘Dino’s’
Alex and Jean had a family of three -Robert (Bob) born 1920, Effie 1922 and George 1930. Alex predeceased Jean by some years before she died at the age of 66 in 1951
Incidentally, although not involving the chip shop there is one quite extraordinary but nevertheless remarkable incident at that address. During the war (39-45) a bomb dropped at 51 Queen Street home of the Bruce family. Alistair, one of the sons, later well known in Peterhead as owner of Queen Street store on the former Imperial Hotel site opposite the Station Bar.
The bomb blast threw the family piano across Queen Street and it landed on the roof of a strip of terraced properties which included Robert Boggie grocer, Tom Townsley tobacconist and McKnight’s ’chip’ shop. Robert Tocher the tenant of the upper floor flat above the McNaught shop was in the forces and away from home. His wife Mary, daughter Betty (Leslie) then 7 years old, Robert 3 and infant son George were asleep in the home when the piano landed . The family were understandably alarmed, having been aware of the original bomb blast, then to quickly hear the dull thud of the piano on the roof must have been a terrifying experience.
On the same early morning raid another bomb landed on the house opposite McNaught’s shop and next to the Library. The large slab of granite which formed the front doorstep was projected upwards, clipping the Methodist church roof and carried on through the Museum roof breaking the arm of a discus throwing statue before being embedded in the floor above the book borrowing area on the ground floor. Within days local joinery firm Bruce and Cow were hired to repair the damage at the Council owned building . The doorstep was removed and placed inside the passageway between the Library and The Methodist Church. Where now after 65 years it remains unmoved today. It is understood the house at 49 Queen Street (Burnie Brae) which was pulled down to be replaced by the present Methodist Church manse, was once owned by the family of ship chandler ‘Patchy’ Buchan.
“And incidentally,” One other minor chip shop connection with the ’piano’ incident is that the address at 51 Queen Street would later become the home of the Becci family and where Mary Becci is still in residence today. Retired gardener and former ground-keeper at Balmoor Stadium Jack Wilson also had a tale to tell of that fateful morning. Eight year old Jack was living in the top attic floor of 72 Queen Street and sound asleep sharing a room with his sister Irene (9) when a oblong of granite stone from the outer structure of 49 Queen Street shot though the walls of his bedroom, ricochet through the doorway and broke the staircase banister on the way down to Mr John Robertson a local shoemaker living on the second floor. Jack says: “ I slept through it all, my father lifted me up and wrapped in a blanket and we headed for Roanheads. I only woke up near ‘Suddie’s yard in St Peter Street when my father kept bouncing me up and down carrying me over his shoulder. We were three months living with my Grannie, Mary (Slessor ) Hay while the queen Street house was being repaired”
After contacting Peterhead businessman Alistair Bruce at his Isle of Man home. We discussed the ’piano’ and ’granite step’ incidents. As a result of our telephone discussion, he later sent me a cherished press cutting from the Aberdeen Press & Journal dated March 30 1957.
At this juncture I offer my grateful thanks to Aberdeen Journals for their willingness in allowing me to use the article as part of this story. And as follows:
“Gay Laughter Turned to Tears of Tragic Eve”
“The “naughty” boy who escaped because he was “banished” to the lobby; the baby who was buried alive and saved by his mothers picture; the child who was found hanging by his toes from the rafters-and above all the heart ringing pathos of a children’s street concert and it’s tragic aftermath -these are Peterhead’s memories of front-line days in Hitler’s war.
By Douglas Rae
The concert with a crescendo: the grim obligato of bomb thuds. The children who danced and sang and behaved like cherubs, almost as if knowing that this was their earthly swan song, died to the music of a bandit bomber and their own sweet laughter
James Street, Peterhead, was a street of singing piccaninnies. On the night of September 29th 1941, you might have mistaken it for Tin Pan Alley. Feet tapped, unbroken voices chirruped in the open air. That night the children raised £10 for charity.
Was Goebbels jealous? He waited until the cherubs got home, then dropped his visiting-card. No souvenir hunting for them in the morning, No’s 9 and 11 James Street disappeared from the street map. No’s 7 and 13 were shattered. Families were wiped out. Thirty people perished.
All this was done by a stray bomb in a slapdash blitzlet in which the pilot’s intended target was not the town at all, but shipping in the bay.
Dazed Town
That monstrous misjudgement dazed Peterhead as no other has done before or since. Whilst today (1957) jet-planes thundered in the heavens and fishermen rolled out the barrels a James Street resident recalled “I lost a lot of good neighbours that night” She wept, her eyes reflected the spectre of the bomb gutted house behind her.
Only a mantle-piece standing in one room, the kids chips still warm....the fellow in the forces, his family all dead, the ‘bobby’ telling my son, on his way home on leave “No you cannot go down James Street....”
Miss Eileen Watt remembers reciting “The House That Jack Built” at the children’s concert. Mrs Mary Thom remembers diving under the kitchen table and coming out from the house that Fritz knocked down. Her parents fatally injured. Chrissie Cameron remembers being picked up in another street after the bomb had shot her like a shuttlecock out of the James Street tenement.
Ernie Lacey remembers being ordered into the lobby by his mother as a punishment for being naughty. Everybody in that fat (his mother and three sisters included) was killed except the naughty boy. .
Sixteen files tell the statistical tale of Peterhead’s seventeen raids.
Thirty-eight people were killed, forty-four injured, fifty six houses destroyed and 1138 damaged
Plenty to blast-but nothing to burn. By a curious twist of Nazi psychology Peterhead escaped incendiary bombing.” -These are Peterhead’s memories of front-line days in Hitler’s war..
.It was the bombing season. The red granite of the ’Blue Toon got an almost nightly shaking. As a foretaste of September 29 1941 (James Street bombing) there was that tar black foggy night midnight on August 9 1941
Four bombs streaked down. The Central schoolhouse was hit: no casualties.
No’s 47, 49, 51 and 53 Queen Street ; one woman killed got it. An old house off St Peter Street was wrecked: three deaths.
Alexander Stephen, does not remember being buried alive that night, he was a year old and at his last gasp when disinterred. Mrs W M Bruce who saved his life remembers it well. “The kids were in bed Alex, my nephew was in his cot. A bomb landed in our neighbours back yard and demolished their house and most of
Ours. My mother who is ninety next month (April 57) - was blown out of bed and covered with wreckage. Her head was split in two‘’.
“My son Alistair and his cousin, Dan MacKeich, were asleep upstairs. The walls toppled over. The two boys had to be lowered through the gaping room
From the debris I heard the faint whimpering of a child and finally dug out Alex.
Two bicycles lay over his cot, blocking the heavy stuff, screening his face was a photograph of his mother. But for that photograph he would have been smothered. It saved his life.
The steel cabin from a ship, sunk into the garden and converted to a shelter saved many lives at that Queen Street tenement.
Mr James Daniel now an octogenarian, (1957) remembers this incident as the most cruel ‘hang-over’ he has ever had. He lived next door in the house that was virtually smashed to matchwood
”It was Saturday night. I had gone to bed after my customary celebration. There was a loutish bump and I thought: “That’s pretty close” “Well“- and Mr Daniel chuckled-”I got out of bed and fumbled for my clothes. The chair I had put them on was gone. I groped for the windows. I nearly fell out. Not a pane! I rushed outside to see how my budgies were doing. They were complaining like billy-o“.
Mr Peter McKenzie (Barber) stirred some embers ”I dug a dog out of that mess two days after the attack. It squealed a bit, but was non the worse.. Mrs Annie Mitchell was in the tenement with her mother and sick son when it disintegrated. Her mother was killed. Mrs Mitchell and her son were blown into a doorway across the street.
Sixteen files tell the statistical tale of Peterhead’s seventeen raids.
Thirty-eight people were killed, forty-four injured, fifty six houses destroyed and 1138 damaged
Plenty to blast-but nothing to burn. By a curious twist of Nazi psychology Peterhead escaped incendiary bombing.” (End of Mr Bruce’s 1957 press ‘cutting’)
Another incidental bombing aside to the ’chipper’stories‘; Eva Zanre (Ferrari) let me know of the her families experience on the night of the James Street bombing
“My mother, Ronnie and myself were in our home at 32 James Street when the bombs dropped down the road. My father and brothers Louie and Joe were in the Errol Street chip shop when a customer came in and said that James Street had “caught it”
Joe immediately ran from the shop along Maiden Street and burst into our flat to see if were all right. Ronnie aged 9, as was usually the case when the siren went off, was in his pantry place with his comics“ There was a horrible sight in the street, the debris dust covered everything in Jamaica Street, Rose Street, St Andrew Street and for a good distance along Maiden Street.
The McNaught chip shop continued for some years under daughter Effie and her brother Bob before they eventually sold the business to Andy Brebner in 1964.
Andy, the elder son of local snooker hall owner, also Andy, and his brother George- George is in business today at his hairdresser’s shop only two doors away from the McNaught ‘chipper in what was at one time Tom Townsly’s tobacconists shop.
Andy Brebner had Eddie Brocklehorst for a time as his chip shop ‘fryer’ Eddie was a time-served baker with McIntosh and later a barman at the Palace Hotel
Andy continued at the fish and chip shop until 1969, when he then sold the business to Mr Sandy Bruce
Unfortunately I have not been able to make contact with Mr Bruce and have no further information on his time at those particular fish and chip shop premises. Sandy Bruce stayed there until 1978, when he sold the business to Alan Sangster
Alan was brought up at ‘Lochside’ Longhaven and his first business venture was in 1971 at the Kirk Street Fernlie Dairy where Bob Davidson had operated a milk round for many years. Alan then moved on and in 1974 bought the Deeside Dairy at Ballatar. He stayed there until 1978 before making his debut as one of Peterhead’s fish frying fraternity in 1978, taking over McNaught’s former Queen Street shop after Andy Brebner and then Sandy Bruce had operated there
Alan has now been at the Clerkhill Fish and Chip since 1996. The had been empty for five months after Mr Learmouth had ceased operating at that address. He (Learmouth) having previously replaced Eva and James Zanre there
Next week; Ferrari, Ritchie, Ross, Uccelotti and Williams

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:34 pm

Part 7
George & Isabell Ritchie Empress Cafe', Joe Ferrari, Alex Ross and Robbie Williams

Although the Broad Street’s Empress Cafe does not come into the ‘chipper‘ category, I thought it deserving of inclusion because of the many well-known faces in the photograph and also the service the Ritchie’s performed for the community of Peterhead and Buchan.
Pow’s Chae’s sister-in-law Nellie ‘Nape’ Buchan gave her daughters Isabella and Nellie a shock when she announced in 1947 that she had bought a shop in Broad Street and that, they, her two daughters, would be running the business as a restaurant/cafe and which would be known as the “Empress.” The two girls had no previous experience of commercial catering, but were endowed in good measure with the ’hard work’ syndrome.
After the first year however, Nellie emigrated to Canada leaving Isabella to run the business. In 1949 Isabella’s husband George Ritchie left his fishing berth in the drifter ‘Golden Rod’ and became his wife’s business partner. George put a van on the road selling confectionary and ice cream and gradually developed a healthy round of customers in the rural villages of Buchan.
Meantime Isabella was servicing a busy cafe trade, serving morning teas, lunches and in the evenings she catered for people coming into Peterhead to visit the two cinemas. The Empress was handily placed when the film shows ended, meeting the needs of those waiting for Burnett’s buses in Broad Street. George and Isabella’s daughter Doreen Amos was only nine when the cafe opened and says she is still friendly with many of those “out-of-towners” today
Isabella with a good staff of friends and acquaintances also carried out catering for wedding party guests and most often when the ’do’ was in the Masonic Hall
I had the pleasure of one of Isabella’s catered weddings at the ‘Masonic.’ The wedding of Margaret Yule and Bill Trinder. I have vivid memory Peter Paterson, on the small raised stage singing “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.” Once Peter’s adrenalin had kicked in, the MC had great difficulty getting him off and giving someone else a chance. At that time, Peter, his wife Jessie, son, also Peter and daughters Eleanor and Betty lived at North Street at the junction with Gladstone Road.
George and Isabella Ritchie retired from business in 1957. They were married on January 25, 1915 and shared 53 very happy years before George passed away in 1967 aged 73 and Isabella 13 years later aged 81.
The ‘Empress’ changed hands a few times before structural damage saw the building closed some years ago. The building problem, which is still evident today may well have been as a result of bomb blast damage associated with the war-time raids at near-bye James Street - September 29th 1941.
Andrea (Joe) Ferrari
Joe carried on a fish and chip restaurant in Rose Street and later from the early 50’s the Carlton Cafe at Broad Street. Joe was born in 1898 at Boston Massachusetts USA, where his parents settled on emigrating from Valden near Borgatora in northern Italy. The Ferrari family returned to Italy from America when he was 12 years old . After returning to Italy Joe served with the Alpine Regiment fighting against Germany in WW1
Joe spent four years in the army before coming to Peterhead 1920, the same year as he married Italina, who was two years younger. Italina, like Joe’s parents was originally from Valdena. Her father had then moved to Clerkenwell - London’s ’Little Italy’
Joe and Italina’s marriage produced eleven children, all of whom except second oldest Janet was born in 32 James Street Peterhead. Janet was born in Italy when Joe and a heavily pregnant Italina found it necessary to return there due to a close family emergency. It was during that short visit in 1924 that Janet was born.
The children of Joe and Italina are Sandy the eldest born in 1922, then Janet, Lena, Annie, Flora, Molly, Marina, Albert, Rosa, Edwardo (Eddie) and the youngest Ricardo (Rico) in 1938. During WWII. Joe was interned for one year at the Isle of Man before returning home to continue his chip shop interests. It has been suggested to me, that having such a large family was the compassionate reason for his relatively short term internment.
It was then just a short time after his return Joe opened a small ice-cream and confectionary shop just a few yards from the chip shop and next to Cowie’s (Father Cooie)) small general grocery store at 10 Rose Street, opposite Downie’s bakery, later Mary Anderson’s 60’s Cafe. The ice cream shop was leased to Joe by Cathie Hood, daughter of Mr Cowie. The Hood family, Cathie, husband George and children, Kathleen George and Graham lived above the bakery premises. The ice cream shop continued into the 50’s and where Joe and Italina’s daughter Marina remembers working there as a 15 year old. Marina reckons this would pitch the time span around 1945 and on until around 1949/51.
It was in 1951 the family took over the Carlton Cafe, Broad Street and where they traded until 1978. The shop was situated next to M&A’s at Broad Street and to the left of the‘Society Close’ which has the date ‘1730’ engraved on the close lintel. The ‘Carlton’ was a busy daytime cafe and in the evening frequented regularly by personnel from RAF Buchan
The ‘Lido,‘ was in the main a neighbourhood chip shop, serving the communities in what was then regarded as the ‘South Bay’ area of Peterhead and was operated by Joe and Italina for forty years from 1921 until 1961.
Like most Italian fast food businesses, Joe followed his motherland’s expertise for ice-cream making and put a van on the road for this purpose. It was on his ’van’ travels to Stuartfield he called at the DP (Displaced Persons) camp near the village. His visits there led to a few of the inmates cycling to Peterhead and obtaining odd jobs with Joe and other businessmen, all of which would be arranged by Joe acting as unpaid agent. Some of the DP’s took jobs as farm labourers, a number of them married, setting up homes in Scotland, where a few are still around today.
Most of those men were Polish and Czechoslovakian, but there were also a few Italians who had until 1944 been prisoners of war. Their classification as such changed when Italy no longer became part of the German Italian alliance. This new situation allowed the Italians from Stuartfield more freedom of movement. They frequently took the opportunity to visit Peterhead and to acquaint themselves with chip shop people with recognisable Italian names. Marina Ferrari continued, that it was not unknown for her father to cook pizza and pasta for them. (Just like mama used to make)
Joe died in 1961 aged 63 and Italina 25 years later aged 87
Alex Ross with wife Janet Cameron started his Ware Road fish and chip shop in 1946. There is no record of him having any employees and he and Janet operated the business entirely on their own . They did have general duty schoolboy assistance (clean’n tatties) from their son Alex and his friends Vinnie Hamilton, and Eric Fulton. And incidentally, all three classmates of myself.
The only story I have managed to surface is that when closing time came round all unsold hot box fish, pies chips etc were freely disposed of to folks who had become familiar to the custom and were tactically aware regarding closing time. The Ross chip shop traded until 1951 when it was then acquired by Joe Zanre, continuing along the same lines.
Louigi Uccellotti
‘Louigi’ was from Pontremili a village described as “just over the hill” from Valdena. He travelled to Britain in 1921 with the Zanre family - Louie, Flora and infant son Joseph. He had fought with the allies in the Italian army during the 1914-18 war against Germany.
Louigi’s shop was next door to Sandy Ferrari’s Fish & Chip shop in Errol Street and sold Cigarettes, confectionary, fruit and ice cream. The premises had also two snooker tables upstairs. A personal memory of this facility is of Louigi’s insistence on clean hands and no smoking fag ends on table edges. He also imposed a strict rule of players not lifting their feet of the floor when playing. This rule was in place to prevent smaller boys from spreading one leg on the table baize when cueing. (playing a shot). He would explain “That is what the ‘rest’ is for”
He and Mrs Uccellotti had one son and daughter and lived at the junction of King Street and St Mary Street opposite the large house belonging to Mr Hunter of Hunter’s Tanfield Brewery
The lack of any Uccellotti family descendants in town has made research difficult and any information that may help this situation would be most welcome
One story which has surfaced, is that Louigi had been a member of the local British Legion Pipe Band (Brass section) after he arrived in this country. On his retirement from the band he was presented with a inscribed clarinet. Louigi for his services. Louigi held the presented instrument dear to his heart and it was not unusual to hear him playing in the shop at almost any time of day.
As previously stated had travelled on the same boat to Britain as baby Joseph Zanre When I asked Joe (now 84) recently if he had and any memories of Mr Uccellotti, he recalled his mother Flora telling him the crossing from France to England had been very rough and that Louigi had cradled the three month baby (Joe) in his arms for much of the journey. It should be known the cross channel boats then were not of today’s ferry boat standards and such boat trips were a frightening experience and more especially for rural people who may never have seen a boat far less heavy seas.
Luigi died sometime in the 60’s. Unfortunately there are no descendants available to further my information.
Robbie Williams
After spending some time in Broughty Ferry Robbie Williams returned to his hometown and set up a fish and chip business at 28 North Street around 1946. The shop was located just a few yards from the junction with Port Henry Road. Robbie’s youngest son William is presently living next door to his father’s former chip shop. The premises are currently used as a store for local plasterers Alex and James Duthie. They trade under the name of Alexander Duthie & Sons, which is a throwback to the days of their father Alex ‘Baxter’ Duthie, who was one of old Buchanhaven’s well known loons
Regrettably there is little information on Robbie’s time at the ’chipper’ As I stayed in the area when he opened I have memory of Liza McLean being one of his early assistants, Also fondly remembered is Robbie sending me to Sutherland’s bus depot to collect a small parcel of ‘Green Finals’ on a Saturday night. My payment - a free Green Final (How I miss the ’Green’ today)
One wee story has come to light - Patrick ‘Peepy’ Donaldson who lived just across the road at 2 Ugie Street visited Robbie for a fish supper. Robbie was in the rear shop and ‘Peepy’ placed his order with the girl on duty, at the same time placing a cardboard box at his feet. When the supper was handed over, Robbie had just returned to the front shop, where he was greeted by ’Peepy’: “ Robbie - Eh canneh pay yeh the nicht, but eh dinneh wunt meh supper for nethin“. At this point he lifted a kitten from the box at his feet and offered it to Robbie as payment. Robbie, knowing the gentleman was in full employment as a carter was prepared to wait for payment, but just to get the slightly unsteady customer from the shop accepted the kitten. The happy ending to this wee tale is that the cat remained with the Williams family for fourteen years - It’s name? - ‘Peepy’
I grew up with Patrick’s (Peepy‘s) boys Stanley John, George and Arthur and was anxious that by including the ‘kitten’ story it might cause embarrassment. I met three of the sons and all three were pleased that it should form part of the Robbie Williams section. I was unable to contact Arthur who is now in Glenrothes.
Robbie Williams was well known as a staunch and regular supporter of Peterhead Football Club and seldom missed seeing his favourites play at Recreation Park . He was always a welcome guest on the team bus when they were playing away. Robbie e continued watching them until failing health kept him indoors. He was born at the beginning of the last century (1900) and died in his home at 24 North Street 79 years later.

Next week; “ ZANRE” over 4 sections

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:23 pm

Part 8
This section includes the Zanre family business portfolios in four parts

Louigi Zanre, as with Louigi Becci, more commonly known as Louie, first arrived in Peterhead as a 14 year old in 1913 and worked for his father in what was much later Robert ‘Patchy’ Buchan’s ship chandlery in Broad Street
Because of his Italian nationality Louie returned to Italy for his call-up. He joined the army at 17 and was soon serving in the Alpine Regiment against Germany in WW1.
After demob he returned home and soon married his childhood sweetheart Flora Ferrari. Like Louie, Flora lived in Valdena but had been born in America. They became parents when his first son Joseph was born in 1921. Louie returned to Peterhead that same year, taking with him his wife and three month old son. Their arrival would commence a lifetime of business success in the northeast where Louie and Flora saw out their days. The name “Zanre” continues to be prominent on shop and restaurant signs at Mintlaw, Fraserburgh and at three locations in their hometown of Peterhead.
On his return from Italy, Louie commenced his first business venture and it was at the same Broad Street address as would later be occupied by the Bicocchi Brothers.
After trading there for a time, a chance meeting with Tanfield brewer Andrew Hunter saw Louie suggest that some old residential property close to Scotts Garage in Queen Street might provide a better rental return for the owner (Mr Hunter) if they were turned into shops. Further, he (Louie) would be happy to take up a lease on one or maybe two of the properties. Andrew Hunter took kindly to the idea and accorded Louie first refusal of his most favoured choice - with one proviso -: All confectionary and soft drinks had to be purchased from Hunters
Louie accepted the proposal and soon converted the properties and opened for business. Some years later Louie bought the shops outright and when the property changed from a lease contract to that of a purchase. Mr Hunter told Louie “You are now a free man” implying that he was free to buy his goods elsewhere. Not a prospect that Louie ever contemplated until Hunter’s ceased trading in the mid 60’s.
Louie‘s new Queen Street shop was converted from house addresses at 31 and 33 Queen Street. It was not however the same shop which many others and I were familiar with in the 40‘s onwards. Those particular premises were just a few yards away and towards Chapel Street.
Sunday opening was not allowed in those days, at least not on the premises used for weekday trading. Louie got round this bye-lay by securing a small shop in Windmill Street near the Tanfield Brewery close entry, and the Zanre name was soon trading from there on Sunday’s only. This one-day shop opened sometime around the early 1930’s
Louie, after he had moved to the much newer shop in Queen Street soon opened an ice cream, fruit and confectionary shop next door. This latest shop opened around 1946 and was near to a shop known as Catto’s. This shop had been closed for some time and as I recall had a long-term look of disrepair.
The proceeding years were possibly the ‘boom’ chipper years and businesses diversified to ice cream and confectionary van rounds. Second son Tony represented Zanre’s in this vehicular trading method. Louie’s long time stalwart employee John Antonio was known to go as far a field as Maud with a motorised ice cream barrow and called at Longside, Mintlaw and Old Deer on the way. Those ‘country’ ice cream rounds were highly popular in the Buchan villages and were referred to later in a book by Maud author and broadcaster Jack Webster.
By the 1960’s, John Antonio was now Louie’s ‘frying’ chief and in general his ‘Man Friday’ John was born of Italian immigrant parents in 1912. He started work with Zanre’s in 1926 and apart from his years in the army worked unbroken for Louie until his retirement in 1980, having served no other boss.
When John returned from the war in 1945 he turned up at Louie’s chip shop the day after his demob and started work, without ever bothering to enquire if a job was available. Whether it was, or not, Louie said nothing and as far as John was concerned nothing had changed. John died in 2001 at the age of 89
Another much later ‘Man Friday’ was the enigmatic Robert Mackie, now Peterhead’s well respected funeral director or as Robert would say undertaker ‘mannie’ But more about him later.
Having been such a long established business going back to 1921/22 there are bound to have been many stories associated with the shop. In discussion with only daughter Noreena, she told of living across the road at 50 Queen Street and of 28 families who lived in the large ‘close’ area behind that address. How they had all kindly sought to help Flora first came to live there. On Flora’s first Sunday in Peterhead, she and Louie went for a walk down Broad Street. It was a bright but cold April morning and Louie attempting to impress on Flora the quality of life in Peterhead suggested it was a nice day. “I will tell you in September if I will stay here.” She must have survived the first winter very well, for she never went back to Italy for 32 years.
The next day (Monday) Louie sent her to Clubb the butchers shop just outside the 50 Queen Street close ‘moo’ With no English she was apprehensive. Louie told her “Ask for a pound of steak minced - He will understand” She practiced “A pound of steak mince - A pound of steak mince - A pound of steak mince.” Repeating all the way to the shop. When she arrived, Andrew Clubb, knowing her to be a new resident greeted her “Good morning missus. Fits your name?” Flora blurted out “A pound of steak mince” She had to live with the jibes for some time, as she spent the coming year conquering the English language - Peterhead style.
When her brother Joe Ferrari’s wife Italina was in ’labour’ at the family home in Rose Street. Flora was sent for to assist with the birth. When she arrived, the prospective father Joe went to fetch the doctor who lived in St Andrew Street. Within minutes of Flora’s arrival another lady in attendance suddenly announced, “The babies head is come’n” Flora had a quick glance and immediately feinted. When Dr Gillespie arrived, the baby was lying wrapped up in his mother’s ‘bozie’ and all attention was fixed on reviving Flora. The doctor enquired as to whom he should attend first? One of Italina’s daughters is named after Flora Zanre and it is thought that is she who was born that night
With elder son Joe in the army, second son Tony Zanre was a tremendous strength to his dad in the running of the business; I recently visited with him and his wife Noreena in their Aberdeen home where they have stayed since leaving Peterhead. My visit was for the purpose of picking up some photographs. I asked Tony about a fistfight upstairs in the seated area of the Queen Street chip shop and which took place during the war years. Tony confirmed the story and said it was like a scene from a Hollwood style barroom brawl. It seems it was then the case that the Royal Scots and the Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders were billeted at Sinclair and Buchan’s yard in the ’gutten’ quines quarters, and similarly at the Junior Instruction Centre in Wilson Road. A group from both regiments got involved with some Norwegians and a wrecking process ensued. Mother Flora Zanre was standing on a table and screaming for them to “Keep the noise doon - The bobbies are come’n.” I asked Tony if he was involved and he said he HAD to get involved, otherwise the whole shop would have been destroyed. During the stramash it was a case of “The show must go on” for Louie. He, seemingly quite unconcerned was at his faithful fryer attending to the needs of any customer brave enough to enter the premises.
A ‘fire’ disaster in 1963 at the Queen Street shop also involved Tony. The press headlines next day: “Toni to the Charlie the cat lies unconscious in the blaze” Mrs Zanre in the accompanying photograph comforting the fully recovered
A factory worker - Alexander Strachan of St Peter Street was walking his dog at 5 am when he noticed a glow from the chip shop window. He raced to the police station to raise the alarm. When the services arrived the intense heat had broken the main window and the flames were shooting across the road. The narrow lanes each side of the building prevented the fire spreading, but the upper sitting room and. confectionary store were destroyed. Many administrative documents were also lost in the blaze. Mr Louigi Zanre’s ice- cream manufacturing plant was all that was salvaged“.
Two years after the Queen Street fire, son Joseph suffered similarly at his shop in Ware Road. The press headlines read “Blood Transfusion for Mr Joe Zanre after Chip Shop Blaze”
Mr Joseph Zanre whose home is at 148 Queen Street sustained extensive burns to his side, back, neck and head from a fire, which broke out in his shop at Ware Road on Sunday, January 25 1965
Mr Zanre who was alone in the shop when one of the fryer pans caught light. Mr Alex Ross who was passing at the time came to assist Mr Zanre. Together they went to throw a bag of coke on the burning fat in the hope that such an action would smother the flames. Unfortunately the jute bag was heavy with rainwater and the wet bag made things decidedly worse and instead of the fire being contained in the pan, it exploded into the counter area. Mr Ross dodged the blast but Mr Zanre’s clothes caught light. They managed to extinguish the burning clothing and Mr Ross phoned the emergency services. Joe Zanre was later taken by ambulance to hospital in Aberdeen. His burns were of such a serious degree he was on a critical list for a few days, and did at one stage during his first night in hospital receive the last rites from the hospital priest.
The Fir Brigade dealt effectively with the blaze, but not before the property suffered extensive damage.”
It is likely that Joe’s relatively young years and generally good physical condition contributed greatly to his speedy rehabilitation and full recovery. He returned to business at the revamped chip shop approximately four months after the fire.
Louie Zanrie ‘stories’ are not nearly so common as those attributed to Louie Becci However, in the course of researching the story, I have come across the following.
Louie’s Highway Code - As with retired fisherman Joe Buchan, it was advisable for other drivers to give Louie a wide berth on Queen Street or indeed any other road in town. Daughter Noreena once asked her dad why he always drove his car (Morris 1000) on the middle of the road. Louie replied saying “In Peterheid, it’s the left side, in Italy - the right side. I drive doon the middle o the road - everybody’s happy”
Rodger Morrison, when he and Louie were working together. “Louie had finished the morning potato preparation and on the way home visited Mr Coutts’ Station Bar for the purpose of a light refreshment (A couple of nips). He drove away from the bar and suddenly stopped the car in the middle of the road, put the gears in neutral, then walked some 400 yards to his home at 150 Queen Street, leaving the engine running. The local constabulary phoned Rodger at ‘Zanre’s‘ and told him of the situation could he (Rodger) assist. Rodger told them he would “sort it out” then visited the scene and drove Louie’s car home before going to see if Louie was okay. Flora was unconcerned and said Louie had gone to bed and was sound asleep”
Rodger was not in the least surprised when Louie turned up at the usual time for his evening frying duties. He asked Louie why he had left the car ‘running’ in Queen Street and Louie said that when he drove away from the ‘Station’ he realised he had had a “suppy too much” and stopped the car. Rodger did not take the conversation any further.
Noreena tells of her fathers liking for boiled sweets whilst driving and that his favourite for many years was ‘Spangles,’ a fruit flavoured sweet, each one individually paper wrapped. Louie would empty a few packs on the passenger seat and pop them in his mouth when required. Unusually, he never took the paper off and just ’sooked’ awa until the paper separated, he would then spit the wrapping onto the dashboard. When Noreena asked him why the car interior was always littered with small pieces of paper? Louie explained why, and added that he didn’t like unwrapping the paper when he was driving. Noreena did not take the conversation any further.

Next part; Joe Zanre and his Buchanhaven connections

Reserve Team Captain
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:37 pm

Re: Good old days

Post by BlackanWhecht » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:31 pm

I wonder if the PD Zanres were related to the Zanre in Elgin and his cousin in Forres. If so the ice cream would have been top notch.

I've been up and down Italy and plenty other places sampling beezer ice cream but Zanner's beats all. Shame the shop closed thirty years ago. He only did the one flavour, mind.

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:45 pm

Louie Zanre was a cousint of the original Zanre in Huntly. Other than that I have no knowledge. What did come to light during research of the story was that the name Zanre had it's origins in southern Switzerland. It is also revealed in the story that all of the orignal Petehead family fathers fought for Italy on the side of the allies in the first world war.

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:57 pm

Part 8
Louie Zanre continued

Peterhead’s present-day Funeral Director Robert Mackie has kindly offered the following contribution to the Louie Zanre section
“I was fortunate to obtain part-time employment with Louie and Flora Zanre, working alongside their son Tony, John Antonio, Sheila Kerr, June Gerrard and several others including Alison Smith. Alison worked part-time then, but later gave great service to a later ‘Zannre’ team under Mr Rodger Morrison. I think she came from the
Long haven / Gask area, and now works for Morrison’s Supermarket.
I started with Zanres in 1972 when I was 15 years old and continued until I was in my early twenties. The three nights per week often became six.
The Zanre family were hard working people. If you worked for them they did, in return show their employees the utmost appreciation and loyal friendship. My always-affectionate nickname for Louie was ’Wullie’ He could be sharp at times, but we respected one another from the word ‘go’
Mrs Flora Zanre was a tender, kind-hearted lady and was generous to many unfortunate folk in Peterhead. Many a supper, bag of chips did she give away discretely and always with a warm sense of understanding the situation. When I would start my shift, she would let Louie take her home, but before leaving she would leave some sweets for me. Always remarking that the sweets would be finished off when she returned later that night. Also knowing that the money in the ‘till’ would be as it should be. It was great compliment to her staff that she placed the highest trust in their honest and integrity.
The menu then included fish, both haddock and cod (block fillet-not single as with today) Skate, dabs and always the ever-popular ’round’ haddock. Black, red and white puddings, haggis, mock chop, mince pies and steak pies (Ferguson’s)- (Well done Robert)
The aforementioned all cooked in the fryer fat. The supplier of these items was Aberdeen based and Tony Zanre on his day off would visit their premises so that he might purchase a selection of Curry pies, Stovie pies, and Macaroni pies. On the odd occasion I would accompany him, he would treat me to a beautiful meal at Gerrard’s French Restaurant and then journey home to the Queen Street shop, where we would unload and store the goods away. The Curry pies etc mentioned were cooked in the gas oven at the rear preparation area, as they were unsuitable for deep fat frying.
After being there a few months you got to know the bingo customers, they were followed by locals from the different public houses, when it was then Ten o’clock closing. There were the Legion clients then later the Friday and Saturday Palace dancers. Dancers from Ellon waiting for a bus home and on Sunday the Buchanness dancers also on their way home. In those days we were indeed a busy group of Zanre workers.
When there was a quiet spell we would tidy up the counter and customer areas. Replenish the salt, sauce and vinegar dispensers (No sachets in those days) whilst also topping up the egg and pickled onion jars. When the ’second’ front stared we had to deal with phoned orders from the Euclid and Cleveland factories. The ASCO base and Peterhead Engineering at Seagate. All these firms brought lots of work to Peterhead.
Fishing boat crews, lumpers all coming and going keeping the town alive and the ‘tills’ ringing. Later on the oil related firms came along, barges with foreign workers. Italians, Portuguese and Spanish all being served at Louie Zanre’s and their numbers soon to supplemented by the Boddam Power Station workers
The sale of ice cream was proving very lucrative. I remember Louie and Tony making batches twice a week. We soon got to know the regulars who came in between Wednesday and Thursday for their customary half-gallon and gallon containers, which they returned for refills on the next visit.
Dear John Antonio would go to the British Legion for a few hours on his day off. John was a man always off the same humour. I can’t recall his moods ever change. Sadly John passed away a few years ago.
Mrs Zanre, as I said earlier, was a true lady in every respect. When she was getting older I would spend a little longer on my shift. Before going home she would give me something to eat and drink. If there were any unsold goods in the hot boxes Louie would rap them up and tell me to take it away. I lived in Almanythie Road with my granny and granda. Near them were two widows; Jessie Bruce and Peggy Thain
They were late bedders, doors never locked until between 12.30-1.00 am. I would visit them on my way home and offer them a fish supper and, or ice cream. They certainly enjoyed the night’s ‘last supper’ and all down to the generosity of Louie and Flora Zanre. Nothing is lost giving and sharing with one another.
It might sound strange to say; but yes! We can all smell the chippers of today, but Louie Zane’s fish, chips and ice cream were so pleasing to one’s appetite then, and so longed for today. The Zanre’s were a privilege to work for and I shall always be grateful to them for having had the opportunity to work there and where I got to know so many wonderful Peterhead people
We look on our town today, those of my late 40’s age group and older. All the richer for those precious memories. The memorable smell of a fish supper lingering on the wind. May it always be so?
Robert Mackie -Undertaker”

Following on from Robert’s ‘piece‘, he told me of Tony Zanre driving him to Dyce Airport on his way to a Malta holiday. When they shook hands at the airport Tony thrust £50 into his hand with the comment “Dinneh tell them fin yeh get hame (“Them” being Louie and Flora) Before Robert had left Peterhead Louie gave him £25 with the warning “ Dinneh tell Flora” Not knowing that Flora had also contributed £25 to Mackie’s Maltese Holiday fund. Robert went on to say he was humming “Happy days are here again” up there in the wild blue yonder.
This was Robert’s first foreign visit and his holiday choice would in time massively alter the direction of his life. It was there he would eventually meet and marry Carmen Spiteri. All who know Carmen would believe she was a top drawer Roanheids quine- with dialect to match

Mrs Flora Zanre died at the Ugie Hospital on May 15th 1988 in her 87th year
Her obituary appeared in the Buchan Observer and included the following;
“Mrs Zanre had the dual roll of bringing up a family of two boys and a girl, while helping to build up the business; and while her husband. Louis, was frying the potato chips to a golden brown in beef fat, she was serving with goodwill-as all her contemporaries knew how, before the public.
Her goodwill reached out, especially to the needy. The bairns had their poke of chips
topped up and many an adult had reason to be grateful for extra helpings. Mrs Zanre’s good heartedness was tacitly acknowledged and accepted in the spirit given
Among young and old Mrs Zanre did good by stealth”
Louie continued to live at the family home ‘Auchmore’ Queen Street after the loss of his much loved Flora. In a 1990 interview with the ‘Buchanie’s Kendrick Duncan Louie retells a few of his many memories.
He recalls the ‘country’ boys coming to see the films at the Playhouse and how he allowed them to use his rear Queen Street yard to park their bicycles. There were often a dozen cycles and Louie provided water for their calcium carbide cycle lamps. He went on to tell how he used the same ‘tattie’ peeler as when he started out in business.
He has not been back to his homeland in 30 years, the last occasion after the war when he arranged to go across with his elder son for six weeks
They ended up only staying ten days, because as Louie put it: “I got bored and wanted to get back to the business“. (End of obituary excerpts)
Well-known northeast author Jack Webster wrote at the time of Louie’s passing;
“ Farewell to Louis (BO 8/12/92).
They tell me that Louie Zanre is dead, but I don’t really have to believe it.
For as long as the sun will shine from a clear blue sky, we’ll see the round, shining face the warmth of personality, which has lightened many a grey dreich, day in his adopted Buchan.
It was the sunshine of a joyful soul, which Louie brought from his native Bologna in 1915, when he arrived in Peterhead as part of a great exodus of Italians who went in search of a better living.
They were-and- have remained a shining example of how immigrants can become part of an alien society, hard working, kindly and courteous.
Louie - for we never did give his proper pronunciation of Louigi - joined his uncle who was already making ice cream in Peterhead. And by 1921, he was selling the delicious vanilla as far as New Pitsligo, 20 miles away, arriving there by horse and cart to Maud.
By the time I remember him in 1934, coming to my native village of Maud, Louie was sporting a fine motorbike and yellow sidecar. And there as a little boy I would wait in mounting anticipation, with a saucer and a penny, as he appeared round the hill from Aikey Brae
Excitement was at bursting point. For Louie Zanre brought the ring of magic to many a childhood, greeting us warmly with his imperfect English and stirring dreams of heaven with that smooth vanilla which was poetry to the palate
And when winter came ...and we would lose ourselves in the Hollywood of Clark Gable and Deanna Durbin, we would leave the Playhouse and cross over to the chip-shop in Queen Street for a fish supper to last us home to Maud. And there we would see Louie in his other role as fish-chip-man.
When I grew up and went away to the south, I never forgot the part Louie had played in our childhood fantasy. When I returned Louie was still battering fish, while into his eighties
Back at his house, for the first time, I met his wife who was Flora Ferrari, a member of the well-known Peterhead-Italian family before she became Mrs Zanre.
A woman of fine beauty, she brought in the coffee and told me she had never seen Italian ice cream until she came to Peterhead! But here they raised their children, Joe, Tony and Noreena. and became part of the essential fabric of the community.
Louie never missed an Aikey Fair, nor did he ever fail to give generously of his products, especially at Christmas and New Year when Hospitals from Peterhead to Maud were the beneficiaries.
Three times in the course of his life, Louie had gone back to his native Italy, to its sunshine and Mediterranean fragrance, but always he himself longing for home, which was now in the cold bare blast of the Blue Toon”
And later in the same eulogy “He was one of us - and the warmth of his personality brought the sunshine of Italy into our lives. What better epitaph for Louis than to say he truly enriched our lives?”
This day of sadness is also a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the life of a memorable friend. The wonders of his ice cream and the aroma of his fish-and-chips will be offered in distant places by the smiling face we all remember.
They will rejoice even in the dullest corners of heaven - and welcome him warmly to the fold. Only on earth is it time for us to say.... Farewell to Louie

Louigi Zanre died at the Ugie Hospital on Wednesday December 1992 aged 93
Former Peterhead Town Councillor and retired driving instructor Rober Forman writing in the Buchan Observer:
“St Mary’s December 7 1992
The gathering of family and friends was, to my way of thinking, extra-ordinary. Quiet Symbolic surroundings, graciousness in Father Conlan’s simple introductory welcome of Christians from varying persuasions around the remains of a very well liked, ken speckle God-fearing elder gentleman was peacefully impressive.
The restfulness of “Abide with me” The majesty of “How great Thou Art”
The organ solo and sweet female voice. Words from the bible and book of wisdom. The challenge of “Will your anchor hold” Not forgetting the ice cream, fish and chips and Aikey Brae. All before “Going home”
Louie: All we wanted to say was in the farewell salute of the Police Officer as your cortege left your Kirk.”
With reverent thanks, Robert Forman (End of Buchan Observer. Obituary)
Next week Joe Zanre and his Buchanhaven connection

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:59 pm

Error ..... the preceeding part should have read as Part 9

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:35 pm

Part 10
Joesph (Joe) Zanre

From my first discussion with Joe requesting family information, I was made aware any co-operation would be difficult and akin to pulling the proverbial budgie’s teeth. I persisted (Usually at a seat in front of Churchill Drive) and am delighted to say he duly obliged, and for the sake of the story his comments filled an important gap in the section devoted to Peterhead’s Zanre family.
I formed the opinion Joe’s early reluctance may have been due to his 12 years away from Peterhead. A time which included five years in the army and also the enforced internment of himself, his dad and other Italian males. His Isle of Man incarceration is not a period that figures in Joe’s favourite memories.
I was anxious that he should allow me to mention those dark internment days, as I considered them to be an important and illuminating part of the story.
Joe Zanre’s sister Noreena Taylor vividly recalls the night that her dad and brother were removed from the family home at Chapel Street. She had completed her usual household chores and gone to bed. Some time later she got up and from the lobby, heard her mum Flora sobbing in the kitchen. She entered the room and on seeing Noreena, Flora broke down and told her the police had visited the family home and had taken her dad (Louie) and brother Joseph away for what was the beginning of their internment. Joe recalls that when he and his dad were removed next morning on their way to Aberdeen, Mary Munro, with some other ladies was crying at the Police Station door Mary who lived at St Andrew Street was mother to one of Joe’s best friends Jim ‘Doods’ Munro, who later became Personnel Manager at Peterhead Gear Company.
Surprisingly, Joe’s biggest regret of that period was that it interrupted his engineering apprenticeship with Richard Irvine and Sons. Joe has allowed me the use of a photograph of his time with Irvine’s. The photograph is taken outside the engineering shop at Seagate next door to what was then the foundry and until more recently ‘Northern Engineering‘. Unfortunately the recall of a few names is not now possible. However, Ambassadors dance band member Jimmy Johnstone is recognised as third from the left back row, Joe Zanre front left and Peterhead footballer Bill ’Cutty’ Strachan centre front row. It is my hope the picture will be included for publication, perhaps then some veteran reader may be able to contact me with the missing names.
During Joe’s time away from Peterhead he was stationed with his army unit at Slough. Whilst there, he was invited by close friend Johnny Ostacchini to spend a weekend at Johnnie’s parents home in London. It was during this visit he was introduced to his friend’s sister Linda Ostacchini. They soon started courting and in 1946 on Saint Joseph’s day March 3 they were married and set up the marital home in Camden Town London. The couples elder son Michael was born there in 1948 and two years later second son Antony was born in Fraserburgh Maternity Hospital
Bye this time Joe and Linda had returned to Peterhead where he assumed control of the Ware Road Fish and chip shop from the previous owners Alec and Janet Ross.
Shortly after the purchase of the chip shop, Joe then bought the lock-u garage next door and eventually altered the structure of the building to form a bookmakers shop - the first betting licence granted in Buchanhaven. Some years later the house at No 1 Ugie Road was added to the acquisitions. These premises when altered to business use would eventually become the new Zanre Fish and Chip shop, releasing the previous Ware Road site to be used for building the Sands Public Bar and Lounge, which opened in 1971. Many thought the name of Buchanhaven’s first licensed drinking premises was connected to the Las Vegas casino of the same name. Joe told me that was not so and that the name was derived from the Craigewan ‘sands‘.
Joe later transferred the ’bookie’s address to 1 Ugie Road when he added to the new chip shop already there, and on a piece of ground which had been once part of Gavin Milne’s ground feu at the newspaper shop. Joe’s son Antony took over the running of the bookmakers shop’ leaving the Fish and Chip shop to be leased while Joe was now exclusively giving his time to the ’Sands’
Joe Zanre retired in 1988 at the age of 67, hopefully to enjoy some leisure years with his beloved Linda. Sadly, seven years later, on the first of January 1995 Linda died aged 67.
Joe, now 84 looks back mostly of happy times and laughs when he remembers taking his grandfather on holiday to Italy and taking with him a present of Boggie Roll tobacco to his Uncle ‘Jock’ Zanre. Being stopped at the border control where the officers examined the ’Boggie’ and suspected the black sticks as being some explosive material
‘Jock’ had been in business in Peterhead as one of the very early Italian settlers in the northeast. I have not been able to find out where the name ’Jock’ came from. Older generations of the Becci, Ferrari, and Zanre era were never aware of him being anything other than Jock. Even in one Italian publication his photograph appears with the name “Jock Zanre” Perhaps, it’s true after all - and we really are “All Jock Tamson’s bairns.”
Further to the Arandora Star tragedy appearing in the ‘Ferrari’ story section, the following recollections of the incident have been written by former Conservative Member of Parliament for the East Aberdeenshire Constituency Sir Albert McQuarrie, His letter is as follows:
“The article in the Buchan Observer of 16th August 2005 brought back memories to me when I read reports of the sinking of the Arandora Star on July 2 1940 by a German U Boat. At the time I was a Captain in the Royal Engineers and stationed at Johnstone Castle in Renfrewshire as British Liaison Officer to the Free French Forces who had escaped to Britain from France under General de Gaulle.
On the 2nd of July 1940 I received a telephone call from Scottish Command Headquarters to go to the Armed Services Transit Camp in Greenock, which is the place of my birth, so I had no difficulty locating it. I was told of the sinking of the Arandora Star and the survivors were being brought to Greenock by sea. I was to organise their reception and well-being prior to them being repatriated elsewhere. The transit camp was a very large brick building, formerly a bonded store, located near Greenock harbour, before it was taken over by the Armed Forces. It looked just like prison with it’s small barbed wire covered widows and would not have been a very nice sight for the survivors in such circumstances.
I arrived in Greenock and met a retired Major doing a war time job at the camp. He had no idea what was happening, so I appraised him fully. I then advised the soldiers from the Highland Light Infantry ,who had been billeted at the camp, that the survivors would be arriving at the camp and what they would have to do. Beds, sheets and blankets and a supply of food were organised and additional soldiers were brought from Glasgow.
The media heard the survivors were being brought to Greenock by sea and in no time a large number of journalists and photographers were at the transit camp entrance. Local people arrived with clothing in case it was needed by the survivors, this gesture turned out to be of great value to the survivors as they only had the clothing they stood in on their arrival at the transit camp.
The survivors arrived at Greenock harbour and were transported by military vehicles to the transit camp. It was a pitiful sight to see these men after the trauma they had been through. Soon they were enjoying a hot meal served by the soldiers from Army Catering Corps. Details of all survivors were taken and the information despatched to a higher authority as instructed. The survivors retired for a well deserved rest in bed.
The following morning when I arrived at the camp there was a huge crowd of people of all ages lined up outside with the local police controlling them. The Inspector told me they were mostly relatives of the survivors, many of whom had travelled from all parts of Scotland, having heard the Arandora Star survivors were being landed in Greenock. As I made my way through the crowd, many were shouting “Sir, let us see our loved ones”
Normally such a request would not have been possible as the survivors were still internees and not allowed outside access to anyone other than military personal within the camp. I was particularly struck by one young girl accompanied by her mother. The girl was crying copiously along with her mother. I approached them and asked who they were and what relative they had amongst the survivors? The mother told me the name was ‘Da Parto’ and her husband was the girls father, one of the survivors. I told the girl to stop crying and I would see what I could do to assist.
I was so touched by the young girls distress, that I sought out Mr Da Parto. I took him to one of the quieter doors of the camp and had the mother and daughter sent for. The joy with which they greeted each other was such that I had tears in my own eyes as I looked on. Soon I had to part the scene, with the mother thanking me for providing to them those few precious moments together. After the war, and whenever I visited Glasgow and passed the Da Parto shop, I hoped they had all been happily reunited and that the Aranandora Star tragedy remained only a memory.
Having spent a few hours doing the same for others, I found it impossible to cater for all requests. I was deeply mindful I was breaking the regulation concerning immigrants and did not to wish to bring too much trouble on my own shoulders from my superiors. To me it was a worthwhile humanitarian thing to do and for a short time to bring happiness to these unfortunate people.
During the days the survivors were in the camp we received bags of letters addressed to them. In accordance with King’s Regulations I had to censor the letters. It was one of the most unenviable tasks I had as an Officer, and more so on this occasion when the content was so heartrending. Fortunately I did not require to censor on word in any of the letters sent to survivors and all were delivered safely to them.
The survivors were moved to an undisclosed location after a few days. As I saw the last of them onto the military transport, I hoped the days they had spent at Greenock gave some consolation from the terrible experience they suffered when the Arandora Star was sunk by a torpedo.
Having completed this memorable assignment, I returned to Johnstone Castle to find that the Free French troops had departed for another base and I had been appointed British Liaison Officer to the Polish Forces under General Sikorsky. I had been doing well with my French, but now had to learn Polish - never a dull moment.
Little did I realise then that 65 later I would be reading of the Arandora Star and to find out that some of the Scottish/Italian people who had been on board the ship came from Peterhead, the very people I was so very proud to serve in later years as their Member of Parliament at Westminster and with whom I share this never to be forgotten experience of World War II in our lives
(End of Sir Albert’s Arandora Star contribution)

Next week Arrividerci Zanre

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:04 pm

The Zanre -Morrison lnikage
During 1978 a metamorphosis began to take place at Louie Zanre’s Queen Street business. Tony Zanre, as Louie’s second in command hired Rodger Morrison a trained chef born and brought up in St Fergus. After working for the Zanre family for a year, Rodger negotiated a business lease of the firm and three years later bought the business and property outright. Louie continued to work for Rodger in a reversed role before he himself retired in 1981

Rodger puts much of his chip shop success down to his early days working and learning the tried and trusted practices taught to him by Mr Zanre.

In a 1998 advertising publication Rodger wrote; “Our Founder - Louigi Zanre”.The family business of Zanres has been frying fish & chips to the Peterhead community for over eighty years and I am proud to have succeeded such a highly successful and greatly respected Louie Zanre.

Louie was a tremendous character and known far and wide for his fish and chips and homemade ice cream. A regular at the Maud Farm Mart every Wednesday with his motorbike and sidecar selling his “cappies” and “sliders”

Although we have expanded and let the business evolve over recent years, the same Louie Zanre principles of success still apply - QUALITY, QUALITY ever striving for greater QUALITY improvement.“

The growing influence of the oil and gas industries in Peterhead saw large increases in the volume of trade. Large carryout orders to related industrial sites were on the upturn. By the late eighties staff levels had risen to 40, a marked change from Rodger’s early days. The Queen Street shop was ’chipping’ five ton of potatoes each week

On the subject of potatoes, it had always been the shop custom to use Kerr’s Pinks and Golden Wonders. Both were great chip potatoes, but in supply terms- not of a reliable source. Rodger sought to change to a more consistent availability. He had read that English fryers had great success with Maris Piper, but his experience with this brand locally was a disaster, producing a very wet product. He eventually concluded it must be the northeast soil. He contacted local producer Charlie Robertson and an artic load was transported from Cambridgeshire in an effort to find a solution to the problem. The resultant chip quality from Rodger’s experiment were such that Mr Robertson is now the largest Potato merchant in the north east of Scotland and delivers all over the country from his temperature controlled storage sheds

On a more personal note Rodger was born at St Fergus in January 1949. His parents are Robbie and Mary Morrison and incidentally, Robbie along with Mintlaw’s Harry Bain was the contractor who built Joe Zanre’s Sands Bar and Lounge in Buchanhaven.

Rodger married Peterhead girl Irene Murphy in 1969 and they have three children, Ralph, Mandy and Victoria. Irene is the daughter of Francie and Norma Murphy (Thores)

After leaving school Rodger received much of his early training during his time as a merchant seaman. He eventually came ashore and worked locally at the Caledonian Hotel, Palace Hotel, and Royal Hotel. He then moved to the Tufted Duck St Combs, Northern Hotel Aberdeen, and before finally moving to Zanre’s, Rodger was Catering Manager at BOC Keith Inch

It can be quickly deduced that Rodger was totally unable to hold down a job at any establishment for any length of time. Hence the self-analysis that he just had to go into business for himself to earn a bob or two - Bob or two???

On a more serious vein, Rodger would no doubt see the 1998 UK’s Sea Fish Industry’s No 1 in the UK award as his top commercial achievement and which followed on from the Scottish award two years earlier. (Sponsored by the Potato Marketing Board).

The business before Rodger handed over to General Manager Eddie Mair was selling 6000 fish suppers each month. Seventy-five stone of fish per week and anything from 5 to 7 ton of potatoes. - HOLD ON - HOLD ON. This is boring stuff. It’s all been done before. Surely there must be something a little more interesting to write about regarding today’s Zanre. (There goes my seat in the director’s box) Such as Alison Smith the chip shop manageress who was always prepared for any rowdy late-night disturbances and very adapt at dealing with occurrences. Alison, bye the way, also worked for the founder Louie Zanre before the changeover, having started at the age of 13.

I recently met with Alison and another former Zanre employee, Lynn Forsyth (Buchan) and together they recalled Rodger closing the shop on the day of Mr Zanre’s funeral and on that sad occasion the shop and door windows were respectfully blacked-over. Lynn is sister to Morag Adams who has been a tower of strength to Rodger during his business years and is currently with him as manager of the Cock & Bull at Balmedie.

Prominent in Alison and Lynn’s memory was the 80’s power failure in Peterhead. Such an event would normally have meant the shop closing. However, Rodger quickly hired a generator and the premises became one of the very few sources of obtaining a cooked meal in Peterhead. The trade that evening was of record-breaking proportions, with queues forming as far as the Dundee Equitable shoe shop

The mobile catering unit was also a large contributor to the success of the business and this was particularly relative to the Stock Car racing at Crimond. Rodger it is believed was the first in Aberdeenshire to introduce the ‘Bouncy Castle facility, which was extremely popular at children’s birthday parties

Rodger expanded the business to take over the catering at Recreation Park, which for the most part covered the home games of Peterhead Football Club and of course the very lucrative trading during the towns Scottish week The Recreation Park ‘tea-hut’ which has been revamped more than once is still in use at Balmoor Stadium. It was built to order by the football club in 1958 and was constructed by the Fountainhead Joinery Company, Roanheads.

At the Queen Street premises break-ins were a not infrequent. On one occasion the shop ‘safe’ was removed from concrete mountings by pneumatic drill and a large four-figure sum stolen along with the safe. During the warm summer months a side door was often left open. A cheeky opportunist thief let himself in, climbed the office stair and concealed himself behind a cupboard for some hours until the shop closed. He then broke into the cigarette machine and cleaned out the money and a quantity of cigarettes. The staff worked out how long he had been there because of the 10 fag ends littering the floor behind the cupboard. The open side door policy also accounted for a quantity of pre-ordered suppers going missing whilst waiting to be picked up by a customer

A more comical incident was when some high-spirited drunks removed a freestanding plastic ice-cream cone. Next morning a lady from Prince Street phoned to say that when she opened her curtains that morning there was this giant ’cappy’ in front of her eyes. The ‘cone’ was retrieved and replaced on a high wall bracket. Alison at this point dryly remarked that the giant plastic ‘frog’ pavement waste-bin had ‘hopped-it’ a few times.

Romance too added some humour to the memories. During the late hours, a young couple were kissing outside the shop, as the clinch and the passion grew stronger, so too did the pressure on the main window. It eventually cracked and the lovers fell into the shop without injury. The young gent apologised profusely and on his way to work next morning arrived at the shop and paid for the damage.

A regularly drunk customer, did, on one occasion go round all the queuing customers asking if they could give him a pound to help pay for a ‘supper‘. He would leave after exhorting some money, then return to do the same again. The girls reckoned he had made about £30 before Rodger cottoned on to his game.

The old style ice-cream barrow, which is still prominent outside the shop, was once removed by vandals and later recovered from Port Henry harbour.

Alison and Lynn hesitated about revealing one story, but I pressed them and they told of Rodger coming in one evening and suspecting the smell of dog faeces. After examining the back shop and finding nothing, they discovered human excrement in customer floor area near the base of the ice-cream cabinet. The counter assistants had recalled a ’palaver’ in that area earlier but as no one had said anything it was quickly forgotten. Unbelievable?? Not in Rodger Morrison’s Zanres! Late night / early morning weekends - anything is possible.

At this point Alison and Lynn spoke of Rodger’s insistence that the late night shift would always make it their last function to clean the street of all late litter disposed of by the disco and nightclub chip shop customers. This instruction was vigorously applied and carried out to within a reasonable distance of the Zanre premises

Bye the year 2000 Rodger Morrison relinquished control of all the Zanre fast food and catering outlets. Ownership then passed to his very able general Manager Eddie Mair

Eddie was born in 1969 at Fraserburgh. He started with Rodger at ‘Zanres’at the age of 23, but had worked for him previously within the outside catering division of Rodgers business complex. With ‘Zanres’ he trained as a fish and chip fryer and was soon promoted to Manager of the Mint law ‘Zanres’ (Formerly the Shamrock Cafe) in 1994. One year later he assumed overall working control of the whole Zanre Empire with the title General Manager, with Alison Smith manager of the Queen Street operation.

Eddie has now been the owner of Zanres for five years and just before the time of his taking over, the Fraserburgh branch had been opened and next March the name Zanre name will be introduced to the people of Banff when a new shop will open in the town’s Castle Street. When I enquired about the ‘Jolly Rodger in Chapel Street Eddie told me it opened in 1990 and was then revamped to restaurant status and the name changed to ZANRES in 1996. Coincidentally across the road from where Louie and Flora Zanre with their family had lived during the 39-45 war years

I went on to ask if there were any ’dramatics’ in his time at Queen Street. He recalled the extensive fire on the premises in 1998. The damage was caused by an electrical fault and was severe enough to necessitate a full refurbishment of the premises. The shop was closed for six weeks, they were not however idle for weeks as put in operation a large ’burger’ van which was situated outside Peterhead DIY formerly JRD’s and conveniently sited next to Safeways Supermarket car park.

Eddie also mentions the rear area of the Mintlaw shop, housing a large trailer caravan with what Eddie thought was being used as temporary accommodation for a television broadcasting crew. After a few days and just before they were due to leave Cilla Black of ‘Blind Date’ fame called at the shop and wrote a cheque for the meals Zanre’s had provided for the caravan occupants, which were in fact members of her family

The only amusing incident Eddie could come up with, was when the firm introduced their own web-page and for a little fun and on the occasion of an April 1st date announced on the site that Zanres had perfected the technology to provide the lingering smell of fish and chips through their own web site via the internet. Eddie said the number of replies received amazed him, many enquiring as to how such a phenomenon could be achieved.

It has recently been announced that the Zanre name is being franchised at the Mintlaw outlet, I’m sure the original founder Louie Zanre would be very proud to see that his former business and indeed his family name is being so well forwarded by such an enterprising young man.

Dare we hope that Eddie will emulate the Zanre founder and continue such enterprise well into the present century? A proud and fitting epitaph to the late Louie Zanre. A great legacy to generations of descendants both now and in the future, not only of the Zanres but the Becci’s and Ferrari’s and scores of other Italian immigrant families in the north east. Those who now nearly one hundred years ago took those first tentative steps leaving the land of their fathers to prosper from poverty, to become such a successful part of Peterhead’s business community.

A posthumous toast to Louie Zanre and all of Peterhead’s chip shop owners through the years. A toast also to their descendants who have made this story possible. They have welcomed me into their homes, produced and loaned their cherished photographs. Told me the births, deaths and marriage statistics, the anecdotes funny, sad and also some in confidence of ‘best seller’ quality, which will never see the light of day in the ’Buchanie’ pages. Thank you - it has been a wonderful few months researching the information in your homes and in your company - Thank you all very much.

Before ending the story, I would stress that I have sought to give a balanced account of the chip shop businesses in Peterhead. It has been difficult, indeed impossible to equate the word count between the shops belonging to those of whom I term “Italian community shops” and those of Peterhead’s indigenous chip shop people. In some cases the ‘word’ difference could not be improved on. It is no one’s fault; there has been no lack of enthusiasm or inclination to provide information. There quite simply is none in memory. It is my own view that Alex and Jean McNaught apart, many of the chip shop owners mentioned in the story did not stay long in business and that any descendants left today, although aware of their parent’s business interests, were too young at that time to now remember much of what went on in those days well over fifty years ago.

The number of fish and chip shops has diminished over the years. The traditional supper is now in fierce competition with more exotic sounding delicacies, but nevertheless continues to be a favourite Peterhead take-away meal. A blessing for working mums requiring a quick ready prepared meal and one of the greatest reasons behind the ‘diet’ fixation.

Time now to recall the familiar schoolboy jingle “Thru-pence eh chips teh grease meh lips.” The customer counter requests; “Ony broon sauce” and “A suppy mair vinegar please” Long may our fish and chip shops survive, flourish and take with them those ‘golden’ memories. There are those like myself, who will remember the war years and the pleasure of a bag of chips on the way home from the Playhouse or Regal during the blacked-out winter nights.

Can we of that generation now hope, that in passing that great fish and chip shop in the sky, we may look with anticipation at the hand written message in the window “Frying tonight”

The End

As earlier intimated this part concludes the CHIPPERAZI BLUEMOGGAN story as printed by the Buchan Observer. I do hope it has brought back memories of the halcyon days of the fish and chip shops serving the communty of Peterhead

Reserve Team Captain
Posts: 535
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:32 pm

Re: Good old days

Post by peteroot » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:47 pm

Aye Popeye, ony still orange, aye, well awa an move it.

Reserve Team Captain
Posts: 535
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:32 pm

Re: Good old days

Post by peteroot » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:18 pm

I was always mystified when you ent into Ucelotti's shop and the door bell rang and it was always a couple of minutes before Loui appeared, the fags sweeties ,fruit etc left unattended, he'd be cleaned out in the present day.When we were older and went for a gameof snooker oot the back and up the stairs the door bell would ring and Loui would trudge away down and back again to serve his customers. when aframe was finished he always picked the balls out of the pockets, into the triangle and set up the table for next frame. He always took the sleeve of his overall and polished the reds in the triangle, no carry on. I met LOUI a few times in the masonic club and after havi ng a few John Barleycorns he'd move to the beat of the band and fair enjoy himself. Popeye we'll never see their like again.

International Captain
Posts: 3232
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:52 am
Supports: Peterhead

Re: Good old days

Post by popeye » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:50 pm

This is a test photoraph relative to the chip shop story
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Post Reply