Harry’s illustrated talk began with the emigration of his grandfather in 1925 to Rhodesia to start a new life. He found employment out there and as a result of a chance meeting on a train he met a mineral prospecter and property speculator whom he went into business with and started farming on the totally undeveloped land. He planted tobacco which is a fast growing crop and had a good return. He told us how his grandfather divided the land to give his son, Harry’s father enough land for a farm of his own. This eventually was split between Harry and his brother who farmed independently, growing tobacco.
He explained how they had to do everything, including making approximately 1,000,000 bricks a year to build their house, barns and out buildings. They built a dam for irrigation purposes which also provided recreation facilities such as fishing and boating. Weekends were always very busy because their neighbours, who lived several miles away would come around for a social get together. The return from tobacco was paid out in Zimbabwe dollars and the marketing of the crop was highly regulated and so Harry diversified into other crops such as chillies and peppers.
It was an ideal place to live and to bring up children. However all this changed when, under Robert Mugabe, white farmer’s land began to be confiscated and given to the black workers, politicians, and people in high places. Their homes became fortresses and they had to be armed at all times.
Eventually in 2001 Harry and family returned to England and came to live in Sheffield. They brought very little with them and had to start again on some money which they had invested over here from previous years.
Harry became a partner in an engineering company but when the credit crunch came his other partners bought him out. Ever resourceful Harry bought a van and started his own business doing aerial photography. The back of the van was fitted with a large telescopic pole which extends to about 90 feet. The top of the pole is fitted with his camera equipment, enabling him to take elevated photographs which would be impossible by any other means. His company is called Sky High Camera Limited and we wish him every success. His web address is www.skyhighcamera.co.uk.