Support our Pesach appeal here

Three benches, two trees, one doctor and a great, great granddaughter

4 Mar 2024
Tanya always knew her great-great grandfather had raised money for Nightingale House during the early part of the last century. Moss Harris left school after learning to read and write. Living in the East End, he collected and sold unwanted furniture, and through persistent hard work established a large antique furniture shop, M. Harris & Sons located near the British Museum.
Queen Mary, great grandmother of King Charles, regularly visited his shop to admire the antique furniture and ornate mirrors. She often selected items for Buckingham Palace and the other Royal Residences.
When David, our fundraiser set up a meeting with Tanya, she mentioned there was a bench in her great, great grandfather’s name in the gardens of Nightingale House. David searched for the bench which most likely had been made in Moss Harris’s workshop over a hundred years ago. It was made of good quality long lasting wood, but after a century exposed to the elements was looking rather worse for wear.
David arranged for the bench to be revarnished and when he went into the garden to inspect it, was astonished to see it had not been restored. When he spoke to Dave the painter, he was reassured that the work had been completed. On further exploration around the garden and to his complete surprise, David discovered there were two more identical benches donated by Moss Harris! Neither Tanya nor David knew that the other two benches existed. David then arranged for the remaining two benches to be restored.
When Dr Stanley, a Resident at Hammerson House celebrated his 100th birthday, he planted two trees to mark the occasion of his birthday and in memory of his wife, a granddaughter of Moss Harris. David was surprised to see Tanya attend this event, as he had no idea Tanya’s grandmother and Dr Stanley’s wife were first cousins.
When the story of the discovered benches was revealed, Dr Stanley persuaded David to relocate one of the legendary benches to Hammerson House. It now resides in a spot where Dr Stanley can sit on the bench donated by his wife’s grandfather and look lovingly at the beautiful trees.