As we were not able to hold the bazaar this year, we are taking the opportunity to reflect and look back on the history of the bazaar, which is much longer than many realise. Many thanks to Miriam Keller who has compiled this history and shared the documentation with us. In this first part we look at the early origins:
The Bazaar has a long history. The first recorded one was held even before we moved into St. Andrew’s church in 1897. In the 19th century hotelkeepers all over Switzerland were very eager to meet the wishes of British tourists and residents and often provided rooms for worshipping. So it was in 1894 when the Hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich put rooms at the disposal of the community, certainly with financial assistance, for the first recorded bazaar. It must have been a fantastic affair, reportedly raising Frs. 22,000.- in those days. It is difficult to imagine that they sold goods to this value, but probably there were generous donations.
In the years to follow, Bazaars and Sales of Work were held, but the takings were much more modest and probably more in keeping with the times. In 1909 there is mention of a Bazaar again at the Hotel Baur au Lac which raised Frs. 2,458.- and “saved the situation, but we cannot depend of having a Bazaar every year and cannot rely on more voluntary help.” Obviously then, as now, the church needed the Bazaar money. Sales of Work seem to have occurred in most years, netting anything up to Frs. 2,000.-, the money going into General Funds or specifically for the heating, the organ or the church windows.
By 1927 the congregation was beginning to think that something more ambitious could be done and a Garden Fête or Sale of Work on a bigger scale was suggested. This seems to have borne some fruit, as in 1930 the “Annual Bazaar” is mentioned in the Church Council minutes for the first time. A special committee of 4 ladies was set up. The Bazaar was held in the Zwinglisaal of the Hotel Glockenhof and raised Frs. 2,927.-
From 1950 onwards it is impossible to separate the activities of the Women’s Guild from the Annual Bazaar. The minutes of their meetings record detailed arrangements being made. Who will officially open the Bazaar? Who will bring empty jam jars? (Mrs. S promised 20) Who will knit socks? Mrs. B. can’t help on the Sewing Stall. Could the Cake Stall do with one helper less? What about a separate stall for aprons? They sell well. Those home-made cakes are delicious , but one year it was laid down that Migros and Co-op cakes were not acceptable. One problem was storage. With no Community Centre available, everyone had to keep some things at home.
Many thanks to Miriam for sharing this article. There will be a further article bring us more up to date coming shortly. If you have any articles, memories or mementos that you would like to share, please get in touch.