French, Thomas

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Thomas French was a dairy farmer from the Bell Block area. He was instrumental in the Bell Block Co-Operative Dairy Factory, for which he was an original shareholder, the Waitara West Road Board and the Bell Block Hall Committee. Tom’s passion in life was horticulture and botany. He was a well known orchid cultivator. He was presented to Queen Elizabeth II on her 1954 tour of New Zealand as the only surviving founder of the Bell Block Dairy Factory. He also provided her majesty with the orchids used in the posy and bouquet presented to her. Tom established the first citrus fruit orchid in Taranaki on his property in Bell Block. Tom’s ability as a horticulturalist earned him a fellowship of the Royal Institute of Horticulture in 1947.
This collection consists of 81 letters sent to Tom between the years 1884 and 1942. The letters consist of information about family matters, dairy farming, financial advice and information about orchids and citrus fruit. The collection also consists of an amount of photocopied material relating to Tom's life.
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  Part 1


1884 - 1 letter

1893 - 2 letters

1894 - 3 letters

1895 - 5 letters

1896 - 1 letter

1897 - 4 letters

1898 - 2 letters

1899 - 1 letter

1900 - 1 letter

1901 - 2 letters

1902 - 10 letters

1903 - 3 letters

1904 - 1 letter

1908 - 1 letter

1937 - 4 letters

1938 - 2 letters

1939 - 8 letters

1941 - 3 letters

1942 - 1 letter

Undated - 35 letters


  Part 2


- 5 pages of newspaper clipping scrapbook, articles relating to Thomas French.

- French family tree.

- 2 photographs, Thomas French with orchids and French family homestead on farm in Bell Block.

- Certificate Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, Thomas French.

- Certificate of Tile under Land Transfers Act, aerial plan of French farm.

Invitation Bell Block Public Hall Association Progressive Euchre Party, 25 February 1904.

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