An information request from New Zealand…

A request for information was received in the comments section of a previous post, I thought that it should receive more prominence on the blog
Can anyone help this journalist:

Did you know that the oldest person in New Zealand, Florence Violet Finch (nee Regardsoe), who died this week at the age of 113, was born in Camberwell? I am a reporter with the daily newspaper Hawke’s Bay Today, covering the region where Mrs Finch has lived the last 40 years of her life, and am urgently seeking any information anyone may have about her family in Camberwell, and any background relating to her late husband, a Charles Finch. Contact may be made in the first instant to this e‑mail address:

30 thoughts on “An information request from New Zealand…”

  1. IS IT ALWAYS this sunny in Camberwell? The Edwardian summers were long and hot, preparing the then SE5-ers for the southern hemisphere should they have the luck of emigrating there. New Zealand is a bit like Canada, though upside down so to speak. They have short sharp summers, good enough for making excellent white wine, for which Hawke’s Bay is famous. Well done the Kiwis, all that way away!

    On the M4 motoway back from Cornwall yesterday we pasased a lorry of Leman, Denmark, a company founded in 1900. I am most grateful to Peter for showing photographically the fine SEVEN-POINTED STAR of the Daniksh Maersk company on this site, so familiar to us sitting outside the Cave in this good weather as the 40-tonners reach the Green on their way from foreign to the new Covent Garden vegetable market on Nine Elms Lane.

    I went to the Garden of Love
    And saw what I never had seen:
    A Chapel was built in the midst
    Where I used to play on the green.

  2. I have to admit, I have an intuitive dislike of journalists who make appeals of this sort. He’ll be getting paid for this “research”, which involves him googling “Camberwell” and then e‑mailing Camberwell OnLine. Life as a journalist must be SO hard!
    It’s very tempting to create a fictional response, claiming to be Charles Finch’s Great Great Great Grandson who has recently undergone gender re-assignment surgery after 20 years in a padded cell in The Maudsley! But I won’t.

  3. Well, having journalists as friends (and they DO work hard for little money, I can assure you), I’m happy to write to the chap in NZ and try to help him.

    I will suggest he emails the South London Press. I’m sure its something they would also be interested in covering.

  4. Well, tell him the surgery was a success and I’d be happy to talk to him, only these voices inside my head keep telling me I shouldn’t!
    I’m sorry, but I can’t take your assurance that they ALL work hard for little money seriously. Do you read the SLP? The number of inaccuracies, typos and regurgitations in each edition says otherwise.

  5. I wonder whether the New Zealand resident might even have made a slightly shorter journey from Camberwell (Melbourne) rather than from Camberwell (London)? Not wishing to introduce any especial confusion here…but it would be an easy misgoogle to make. If it were a google.

  6. A cyclist was killed outside Sainsbury’s on good Friday, I’m told today. Father of two small children with another on the way. Funeral is this afternoon. Does anyone know more?

  7. Mushti, what do you do for a living? I’d love to know so that I could appreciate someone who works without any outside help yet consistently produces perfect results.

  8. I’m with Mushti, I have a lot of journo friends and a) they’re generally not even vaguely qualified to write about what they write about (and cheerfully admit it) and b) despite being paid fairly low wages get to loaf about quite a bit, ‘work’ from home, and get un-ending freebies from PR types.

    There are obviously exceptions to this rule, as with everything. And they’re all lovely people.

  9. As a journalist I feel I should — with not entirely disinterested motives — step in.

    Personally, I think the query from the man in NZ is perfectly legitimate and shows a certain amount of initiative. The traditional journalists’ way of finding out something about a distant place about which they know little is to call the local paper. But getting in touch with a blog is an equally good idea: one of the great advantages of the internet era is that it allows non-journalists to get more directly involved in the newsgathering process, should they wish.

    Of course, it also gives them the chance to throw a few cheap jibes from behind the anonymity of a pseudonym, but that’s how it goes.

    More generally, of course there are plenty of crappy/lazy journalists out there; equally, there are plenty of similarly poor lawyers, accountants etc etc. Also, the work of a tabloid dirt-grubber is a world away from someone writing for, say, a news agency.

    And the pay — especially on local papers — is very poor. It’s still very common for graduates starting out on a non-London weekly to begin on less than £10,000 a year, which effectively means many are forced to return home for a period.

    As for the notion of journalists writing about subjects they’re not experts in… well, for a general reporter (ie not a specialist) that’s more or less the job description. You get an assignment, you learn all you can about the subject and you present it to your readers in a digestible, entertaining way.

    There is, of course, the (slightly) tongue in cheek simplified guide to reporting: first simplify, then exaggerate.

  10. PeteW — maybe you could write an exposé about the Maudsley’s wasteful use of assets in letting Windsor Walk lie dormant and decaying rather than renovating it or selling it.

    It is potentially one of the finest streets of Georgiana in London and yet it is being left to go to rack and ruin.

    All this to a backdrop of cuts in key services and financial motivations outweighing the needs of patients. There’s a scandal in there somewhere.

    Just simplify and exaggerate to reveal it.

    As for lazy journalists and the advent of the internet then I’m all for both.

    Only recently a journalist from the South London Paper cut and paste a thread from the East Dulwich Forum about the relative merits of SE22 and SE5. Our words were news. Admittedly it was relatively minor news but what do you expect for £10k a year?

  11. Alan — maybe you could be enterprising and set up an illict knocking shop on Windsor Walk with some of your cut price Grimsby girls? it could help regenerate the area and provide cheap after hours relief to the Firkin & Hospital inmates alike.

  12. It’s only the Riby Square girls that offer cheap wristware. Please don’t generalise about Grimsby as a whole.

    Furthermore I only mentioned the availability of affordable therapy I didn’t say I that approve let alone that I was about to start a haddock, chips and shandy shop in a Camberwell squat.

    If you really want that experience then it’s got to be DN36 all the way.,410560&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf

  13. @ PeteW. OK, if “googling” Camberwell and e‑mailing Camberwell OnLine counts as initiative, I will withdraw my earlier “cheap jibe”, which I prefer to call an observation.
    @ Oliver, I was merely airing an opinion I have on this type of approach and (OK, I concede)on lazy journalism. I’ve already explained above, I’m a male to female transexual, recently released from a padded cell in The Maudsley — I’ve haven’t yet managed to get myself a job, so please, give a boy/girl a break! If anyone knows of any table dancing vacancies for the tatty-round-the-edges-but-nevertheless-exotic beginner (who can also handle a forklift for deliveries) in the SE5 area, please let me know. I’ll then let you know how easy/difficult it is to consistently produce excellent results without anyone else’s help, OK?

  14. God, I didn’t realise how many journalists we had in our fraternity/sorority! Me and my big mouth!

  15. “Transexual rarity, Maudsley fraternity, forklift sorority, let’s call the whole thing off.”

  16. I used to write for a magazine. I was deputy editor now I come to think of it.

    I did thinks like write about the design of gardens at Chelsea flower show. And take the photographs. Got in free too. Didn’t get paid though.

    Was I a journalist?

  17. Hi Mark —

    sounds like that old student scam of setting up a wee magazine with a cool title, then blagging tickets to as mnay book launches, film festivals, and gallery openings as humanly possible. which was a lot tougher before desktop publishing, as i know from experience.

    i still have some of my old mags; embarrasing!

    chin chin


  18. Mushtimushta: I used to be a journalist … and I’m baffled as to why you think googling Camberwell and emailing this blog should be anything other than a perfectly legitimate research tactic?

    So “cheap jibe” seems like an accurate description to me …

    I stopped being a journo for several reasons:
    1) the money was crap
    2) the freebies were crap
    3) most of it was cliched, repetitive, nonsense …
    The best birts of being a journo were getting out of the office and talking to people …

  19. @dickdotcom — on reflection, I suppose I should concede that I’ve not been very open-minded or charitable in my comments above. I don’t think it’s fair to offend people, so my apologies.

  20. Mushtimushta: That’s noble of you … apologies humbly accepted. I recently met a male-female pre-op transexual who works as … a journo!

  21. Kia ora, tena koutou katoa,
    In a rare opportunity to put my feet down, and take my eyes off that mounting pile of gold sovereigns blessed we jounos by the now largely foreign investors who have taken over this game, I’ve just breezed thru the blogs sparked by my search for info on Florence Finch (nee Regardsoe), b Camberwell Dec 22 1893 d Napier (NZ) April 10 2007.
    How enlightening to establish the real benefit of the blog — more side angles than I ever thought possible.
    Anyway, what’s a freebie? I once had a 3B…it was one of my exercise books at school.
    For the record, Flo, also known as Flossie, has just been farewelled at her funeral, which was held-over for a couple of weeks so that a grandson and great-grandson could travel from England. I drove to and from the funeral in the office Suzuki Swift.
    Ka kite ano.

  22. Relatives of Florence regardsoe are living in the UK. I have sent a seperate email for details.

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