Chapter 14 - Zalma Barnett
Deborah, my Grandmother, one of 16 children
(Still working on this chapter. Check the updates on the home page)
Because they were quite busy at the time and despite the fact that television had not yet been invented, there is not much information about my great grandparents Isaac and Abigail so instead here is a list of Isaac and Abigail Woolf’s 16 children:
Deborah, my grandmother.
Ada had a daughter Abbey. Abbey married Herman Steiner, the son of Henry Steiner who in 1901 started his brand of Apothecary products for hair and skin.
With the death of his father, Herman Steiner joined his mother in the family business, which at this time was a single salon in London, from which Henry's products were sold. Herman took it to new heights in 1937 opening "Steiner’s the hairdressers" in Conduit Street, London. Ten years later he was granted a Royal Warrant as hairdresser to HM Queen Mary, followed in the 1970s with a Royal Warrant as Cosmetician to HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
By the 1960’s Steiners had expanded the business and had started the lucrative cruise contract to operate the salon on board the Andes. This was followed shortly after by the Queen Elizabeth and several other transatlantic liners operated by Cunard, P & O Cruises, Union Pacific, Royal Mail Line, and Union Castle Lines.
I remember, aged 14, going often to their lovely house overlooking Hampstead Heath complete with swimming pool and numerous antiques that Herman had collected over the years. If the truth be known it was to visit their daughter, Michele! Herman was a very interesting man and also quite eccentric. Every Easter was celebrated over a lunch where I and other members of the family were allowed to crack painted hard boiled eggs on his head!
Some of the antiques were absolutely beautiful. He specialised in collecting musical ones and also owned a magnificent clock that stood 5 feet high and showed the phases of the moon and sun and stars around a globe. There were only two examples of this clock the second being in the Louvre in Paris.
Michele’s younger brother, Francis, was a pianist and later formed a duo with (name?).
One evening Michel and I together with a few friends gathered around the piano. Francis announced that he had composed a funeral march for his father and proceeded to play. After a few minutes there came a loud thump from the bedroom above as Herman fell out of bed. A moment I will never forget.
Michel later met and married Clive Warshaw and I see that Clive has taken the business to new heights and took the company public in 1996
There is a lovely story about Clive and Michele who were among 300 travellers booked on a Miami to Heathrow flight that was delayed more than 13 hours after the scheduled pilot suffered an eye infection.
The passengers were put up in hotels and told to return for an 8am take-off with a replacement captain. The first of the flight attendants entered the lounge 10 minutes later - to be met by a round of mocking applause.
Another 15 minutes elapsed before the substitute pilot, Capt Simon Crook, approached the gate. As he walked through the lounge, there was renewed clapping from about six passengers including Mr Warshaw, who said: "Well done."
Mr Warshaw, who had paid £3,500 for a business class return, said he was amazed by the captain's reaction. "He scowled but did not say anything until he reached the gate," Mr Warshaw said. "Then he spoke to one of the ground crew, turned round and pointed toward me. The ground staff told me he would not let me board.
The aircraft eventually departed - with Michele, travelling alone - at 9.30am, a total of 15 hours late.
"I wasn't the only one to make a comment," said Mr Warshaw, of Hampstead, north London. "But I think he singled me out because my suit and white hair made me easily identifiable."