Oxford Vegetarian Society photo

OxVeg recently received an interesting photograph from the early days of the Oxford Vegetarian Society. Although the exact date of the photo is unknown, it was probably taken in the early 1970s. It shows guests at a festive meal, sat either side and at the end of a long table.

The photo was sent to us by Keith Bennett, a close friend of the late Frederick George Temlett (1920-2013), of The Grange, Little Tew, Oxfordshire, who died on the 7th May, aged 92. Although I never met Mr Temlett, I had heard about him from Margaret (Margery) Jones (1907-2010), a founder member of the Oxford Vegetarian Society, who once wrote a brief history of the society that began with the following paragraph:

“Thirty years ago Fred and Valarie Temlett from the North Oxfordshire village of Little Tew advertised in the Oxford Times for vegetarians to help found a vegetarian society in Oxford. A number of people answered the advertisement and so the Oxford Vegetarian Society was born.”

Thus, Fred and his wife Valarie, now a frail 95 year-old, were instrumental in the creation of the Oxford Vegetarian Society in 1967.

Fred and Valarie can be seen seated at the head of the table, with Margery Jones second from the right and her husband Arthur Jones (1914-2007) second from the left. According to Arthur and Margery’s daughter Hilary Baynes, Margery is flanked by a lady called Karis Mostart, whom she describes as “a very keen vegetarian (who) lived on a houseboat on the River Thames”, and a Mr Wright “who managed the health shop (in) King Edward Street, Oxford, and later owned a health shop in North Oxford”. (By the mid-1980s, the health food shop in King Edward Street, which also had a small vegetarian restaurant in the basement, had been taken over by Holland & Barrett, but the restaurant closed when the company relocated the shop to nearby Cornmarket Street.) None of the other persons in the photograph have so far been identified.

Paul Appleby

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