Whilst our doors remain temporarily closed, we’re taking the time to explore our archives and the countless stories of Oatlands Park hotel’s history. In this blog we go back in time to 1939, the year that WW2 started.
We recently stumbled across this old black and white photograph on Instagram, which was posted by @stellasms and shows her father, with the other members of the restaurant team, when he worked at Oatlands Park Hotel in the 1940s.
Stella Scordellis, a photographer, blogger, and recent public speaker was happy to share a little more detail with us on the photo of her dad.
BACK IN TIME TO 1939
“The photo was taken on Christmas Day in 1939, my father, Lazaros Costi Scordellis was 24 (back row third left); he was born in Cyprus in 1914 and came to England in search of a better life when he was 20, with only £5 in his pocket.”
Despite the news that Britain had declared war on Germany in September 1939, just a few months before this photo was taken, when we look at this photo, it’s clear to see Lazaros is still smiling, as Stella tells us that he always had a warm handshake for everyone he met.
Her father led an amazing life, from a very modest start when he was selling roasted chestnuts on the corner of Oxford Street, before joining Oatlands Park Hotel and then going on to work at another hotel in Surrey. Lazaros then settled in Surrey, where he bought a home and a restaurant before finding a wife and starting a family soon after.
Stella has also kindly shared with us some photos of historic menus from the hotel dated 6th April 1940 and 31st August 1940. During this time, Oatlands Park Hotel would have remained open at the beginning of WW2 until rationing and the threat of bombings would have closed the restaurant.
Stella Scordellis is the youngest of six children, and a mother of three children herself. She is a British photographer with a career spanning over 3 decades and the owner of SMS Creative Photography & Stella Scordellis. You can find out more about her work on her websites: www.smscreativephotography.co.uk and www.stellascordellis.com