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Mower Memories
from Canada

An interesting experience of a Dennis Mower has been received from Alex Schumacher.

For a brief period before leaving England in 1963 to study in Montreal, I was employed by a landscaping company located in Holland Park and owned by a couple named Bertoux, if my memory serves me right. Their main business was the creation of mini gardens around exhibits in exhibition halls such as Earls Court and Olympia. However, they were also contracted to maintain private gardens, including those around the BOAC pilots' club gardens and lawns at Heathrow. This gave rise to my most satisfying experience with them.

"Go and mow the lawns at the pilots club," said my boss one day, eyeing an old push mower...
Or you could use that old Denis mower if you can make it work".

I chose the second option, fancying my mechanical expertise and not being one for spending a day or more pushing a mower around extensive lawns.

1950 model Dennis mower
A similar 1950 model Dennis mower. No 735Z7.
by kind permission of Alan Mattingley, New Zealand.

The Dennis mower was a late 1940's or early 1950's model which obviously hadn't been used for quite a while and showed its age. But I was committed, and not wanting to lose face, I disassembled the motor anyway. To my surprise, I found that everything appeared to be in good order, except the valves which needed to be replaced. Could they be? I knew the Dennis company made fire engines but didn't know whether they still made mowers. And even if they did, it seemed unlikely they would have parts for this old machine. There must, however, have been a manual in the office with the appropriate phone number, so still feeling I was on a fool's errand, I decided to phone them anyway. Much to my surprise and relief, the man I spoke to informed me that they had not only an ownership record for that particular mower but also the required parts. In short order, I received the valves in the post, installed them, cranked the motor, and it sprang to life. Over the balance of that summer, we gave the BOAC pilots' club lawn the best trimming it had experienced in quite a while. What happened after 1963? Who knows?

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