A recent photo addition to the Archive has led me to learn about the humorous charitable organisation known as the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers.
When I was looking closely at this photo of the Pier Hotel and the Pier Approach I noticed above the door, as indicated by my arrow, the word T. S. Hanscomb
Initially I assumed this could be ‘Training Ship Hanscomb’ and started to ask my friend ‘Google’ for help. Eventually I struck lucky and discovered that the Pier Hotel was a meeting place for the AOFB in Walton and Thomas Samuel Hanscomb was the local organiser.
I further discovered that the aim of the organisation was “to foster the noble art and gentle but healthy pastime of froth blowing amongst gentlemen of leisure and ex-soldiers”
The AOFB flourished around the world between 1924 and 1931. Each meeting place, be it a pub, club or hotel, was known as a VAT and Walton had two – The Pier Hotel and The Walton and Frinton Yacht Club.
The Pier VAT was run by a lady as its address was c/o Fairy Belle (the title for female members) T S Hanscomb and the Yacht Club VAT was organised by Mr. J. F. Brackett.
Membership was five shillings for which each member received a pair of silver enamelled cufflinks, a membership booklet and card which entitled them to blow froth off any member’s beer. Their motto was “Lubrication in Moderation”.
By late 1928 there were more than 700,000 members across the world raising £100,000 (equivalent to £5.5 million today) for children’s charities.
Other local VATs were at The Warwick Castle in Clacton, The Crown Hotel in Thorpe-le-Soken, The Anchor Hotel in Brightlingsea and The Cups Hotel in Colchester.
You can read lots more about this fun organisation at http://frothblowers.co.uk/aofbhist.htm