History of the Scottish Terrier Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association
Turn the clock back a 100 years to the early days of the 20th century and the interest of Scottish Terrier enthusiasts in Southern England was adequately catered for by the S.T.C. England (formed 1887), the London S.T.C. (reg. 1901) and the South of England S.T.C. (reg. 1906). Then came the 1914-18 War which put paid to many kennels; breeding was stopped, food was difficult to obtain and virtually every section of society affected. The London club fell by the wayside, and in 1925 the South of England club amalgamated with the parent club.
By the 1930’s there was sufficient support among the growing number of enthusiasts to form a new club in the South of England, and a group of dedicated breeders and exhibitors applied to the Kennel Club for authorization. The aims and objects stated for adopting the proposed title were ‘To further the breeding and exhibiting of Scottish Terriers. To promote a further interest in the breeding and exhibiting by novices, and thus encouraging them to take a greater interest in the breed’. Approval was granted on 10 April 1934, hence The Scottish Terrier Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association was born. At the inaugural meeting a month later nearly 40 interested people were in attendance to endorse their strong belief that such an Association was necessary.
The officers duly elected were as follows: President – Mr Alfred Cowley (Albourne); Hon Secretary/Treasurer – Mr Fred Bailey (Glenshee); and the committee composed of several prominent Diehard breeders were, Cicely Cross (Gaisgill); Dorothy Gabriel (Santa); Bertha Faija (Ebbisham); Lucia “Vass” Vassilopulo (Inverdruie); Lillian Simpson (Challacombe); Messrs Wm. McDerment (Adanac); A.J. “Jimmy” Pearce (Glenmead); Arthur .J. Dickinson (Croindene); Arthur Stevens (Longney); and Patrick Brosman (Rookery). Rules for the association were discussed and formulated, the entrance fee and annual subscription were fixed at 10/6d (52½p) per member. Those who joined within the first three months were designated ‘founder members’. Assent was also given to hold its first members’ Sanction show at Handel Street Drill Hall, Bloomsbury on Friday 6 July 1934,with judging to commence at 5.15 p.m. Splendid offers of cups and money specials were made alongside seven cash prizes to be awarded in each class.
Judge, Jeff Walsh (Electric), graded his entry of 123 made up from 72 dogs in the 12 classes, among them a special puppy for youngsters 3-6 months. Best dog, Albourne Valorous, best bitch, Albourne Veronica and best puppy, Albourne Happy Man, proved to be a clean sweep for Mr Cowley!
Three or four members' sanction and open shows were held annually until championship status was granted and the initial event at this level was held 10 May 1939. Dorothy Caspersz (Turfield) was elected to judge the 130 entries from 57 dogs. Proceedings commenced with a LITTER class, in which the sole entry was Mrs. Bradney's (Assaye) trio of blacks (Walsing Warrant ex Albourne Sadie) and in spite of being hand reared were well up to size for their 7½ weeks of age. Best In Show went to Heather Independence, a a 2½ year old dark reddish brindle, owned by James Chapman. This win made him the 256th British champion in the breed. The bitch certificate winner was Gladys Trimmer's Englefield Duchess. In her critique the judge remarked “a good sound bitch correct in head, proportionate and balanced, up to size but with ample substance. Since she possesses the sort of jacket I like to see and which I believe to be right – no unnecessary longer growth down the legs to hide defects”.
Following the declaration of war in September 1939 the activities of the club came to a standstill, and all movements within the canine world were severely disrupted. The restrictions imposed by the Black-out regulations were strictly observed turning all travel into a nightmare. The wisdom of the Kennel Club’s decision to abandon Championship shows during hostilities could not be questioned, thereby eliminating easy C.C.s and the making of “inferior” Champions.
After four dreary years of bombings, food shortages and other hazards of the times the general public felt an increasing need to pursue their interests and pastimes. Gradually the government came to realise the importance of recreation and encouraged people to return to leisure activities thereby helping them to cope with the widespread hardship caused by the armed conflict.
On a Sunday afternoon in March 1943, Betty Bull ( (Kennelgarth) hosted an unofficial Scottie party in her flat at Balham. Over 40 people attended and were most attentive throughout the proceedings. Betty gave an instructive talk and illustrated the various breed points with the help of her Heather Herald, who made an excellent stooge. After a “question and answer” session the gathering took part in a “Quiz” which concluded a most successful get-together. Two months later Adeline Ivor Jones (Caebar) organised another party at her home and on this occasion some 70 people attended.
On the strength of this response it was felt sufficient interest had been shown to justify the functioning of an active breed club, therefore positive steps were taken by contacting the K.C. regarding the possibility of forming a club or alternatively, reviving the S.T.B.E.A. Unfortunately, as the previous secretary, Mr Carter had been evacuated to Ireland and all efforts to ascertain his whereabouts failed, the club had lain dormant and, was technically moribund since registration had not been maintained. Nevertheless, in view of the exceptional circumstances, the K.C. finally agreed to give permission for the S.T.B.E.A. to be re-established, though in actual fact virtually all the club inherited was the name. All the property and records had been lost, so the club was basically obliged to restart from scratch.
A general meeting was called for 6 June 1943, and from the 18 persons in attendance the new Committee was formed: President – Dorothy Gabriel, Vice President – Winnie Barber (Scotia); Chairman - “Vass” Vassilopulo; Secretary – Betty Bull; Assistant Secretary – Mrs P Jarman: also Elsie Roberts (Lesdon), Adeline Ivor Jones; Muriel Owen (Gaywyn); Elsa Meyer (Reanda) and Len Norman (Roxeth). The rules and aims laid down by the original founders were affirmed and agreement given that the revival be built on these, thereby securing a degree of continuity in its structure. In addition, a number of breeders who had been connected with it from its inception rejoined and gave their support so the club was back up and running.
The first specialist members' show was arranged for two months later on 7thAugust, held at the old Elephant & Castle Horse Repositories, which was procured for the club by Len Norman who was then stationed at Scotland Yard. Mrs Lillian Simpson (Challacombe) judged the remarkable entry of 92 from 34 dogs in 12 classes giving a class average of just on 8. This was particularly rewarding in view of the limitations imposed by the 25 mile radius, which restricted the exhibitors to those living within the range, especially as everyone was obliged to use public transport in those days. What was more gratifying, all exhibits turned up so no absentees! Best In Show went to the puppy, Kennelgarth Scots Reel, and Mrs Caspell’s Codetta of Caebar was awarded BOS from the Special Beginners class. This was especially thrilling as it was a first venture into the showring for both bitch and owner. A superb array of gifts for the auction realized a substantial sum of money and the proceeds raised from this show (£43.50) were donated to Winnie Barber’s favoured charity, R.A.F. Benevolent Fund..
On 12 December 1943 a Christmas Party was held; the venue, The White Hart, Hanwell, kindly lent by Bernard Dittrich (Reimill). Entertainment included a judging competition, judged by Leo Wilson, a display of ring craft and show preparation by Reg Gadsden (Desert), with his Ch Malgen Juggernaut and Desert King; a parade of dogs with a running commentary given by Leo Wilson; and a Brains Trust. Once again Winnie Barber’s “Shoppe” was present, and the total raised for the R.A.F. Fund was £22.80p.
The next show, on 22 April 1944, with 12 classes scheduled, received an entry of 86 for W. Max Singleton (Walsing) to judge. BIS went to Chorus Girl of Caebar. The third show, on 2 September, was held during the flying bomb attack on London and, in view of these circumstances, the entry of 70 was something of an achievement. Judge, Reg Gadsden, awarded Roy Brough’s Astra Attraction BIS.
Doubts regarding the 25 mile radius and the other restrictions imposed would dampen the enthusiasm were quickly dispelled when some 140 people met, listened and talked at the second Christmas Party on 10 December 1944, again at the White Hart. The programme opened with the injunction: “Meet your friends, old and new”. The items arranged included a demonstration of handling, trimming and preparation for show by Bill Berry (Wyrebury), with Walsing Witching and Wyrebury Windfall as models; also a talk on breeding problems given by Miss Joan Joshua, M.R.C.V.S., and Roy Brough. 1944 closed with a membership of 107 with several fresh applications received.
On May 13th 1945, only days after the good news of Peace in Europe the S.T.B. & E.A. held a members show at the New Inn, Westminster Bridge Rd SE1. 38 dogs made 110 entries in the 12 classes for Willie Gill (Gillsie) to judge. Bernard Dittrich had good reason to be proud of his double success; his puppy dog Reimill Black Mac won BIS and his open bitch Desert Deaconess finished Best Opposite Sex. Both were handled by George Barr.
The Association booklet was available at the show and some were distributed to those present, however, due to the difficulty of obtaining envelopes it was anticipated there would be a delay in dispatching copies to the remaining members,
In June 1945 an instructional function was arranged; on this occasion Betty Bull commenced her trimming demonstration by showing the rudiments of the actual method of removing hair before illustrating the finer points of moulding the dog to the desired shape. Barbara Sedorski (Cumnoch) gave a talk on the care of the brood bitch, covering the whole period from mating, through pregnancy, whelping and rearing the litter.
The next Members' event was at Hanwell Community Centre W7 on 29 July. Judge Mr. W. Crawford (Rosehall) awarded Best In Show to another of Bernard Dittrich's puppies, Reimill Prima Donna. A Scottie ornament donated by Betty Bull, for Best Bitch In Show to have whelped and reared a litter of at least three puppies, and this was won by Roy Brough's six year old Astra Award. It was at this show that Miss Eleanor Barwick M.R.C.V.S. stepped in to be the attending Hon. Veterinary Surgeon, a position she held until her retirement in 1996.(Until the regulation was relaxed in 1966 it was a vets duty to examine all exhibits prior to entering the show) In acknowledgement of her 50 years dedicated commitment to the club Eleanor was elected an Hon Life Member.
Open shows re-commenced in autumn 1945, and Mr Alex Murray appraised the 67 exhibits, giving an entry of 230, at the October show. William Crawford from Falkirk won BIS with Rosehall Enchanter who was reported by the judge as “the best one I have seen in 40 years.”
The committee was eager to give scope to all sections of the membership to participate in the Association’s activities so the next innovation was an essay competition. The author could choose their own subject; provided it was connected with the Scottish Terrier and the article could not exceed 1,500 words. Arthur Marples, editor of Our Dogs, agreed to adjudicate, (all were submitted incognito) and the winning entry, entitled “Hints to Novice Scottish Terrier Exhibitors”, was penned by Betty Bull.
At the AGM in January 1946 a new slate of officers were elected which included Betty Bull as President; Albert Penny (Grianaig) as Chairman and Capt. Willie Lapwood as secretary. The calendar of events initially just embraced further Members’ shows, however, as a formidable list of obstacles thwarted the resumption of general Championship shows, the Kennel Club paved the way for each specialist breed club to make their own arrangement; the S.T.B.E.A. opted for a 24 class event in the London Scottish Drill Hall on 14 September. Despite the venue being spacious the lighting was not good, for owing to enemy action most of the roof glass had been destroyed and replaced by opaque material. Dr Conrad Bremer (Ortley), who judged, awarded the Graduate dog, Glenellen Gentleman, ably handle by George Barr BIS, and tumultuous applause broke out when the Puppy bitch, Desert Viscountess, owned by Reg Gadsden, won her qualifying CC. This win gave her the honour of being the first post war champion.
A similar programme consisting of a couple of 12 class Members' and 18 class Open show was planned for 1947 plus the addition of a dinner and social held on Tuesday 11 November, the night preceding the Championship show, at the Reggioris Restaurant, King’s Cross. Tickets cost 8/-, 40p and around 50 people attended. For the quiz George Robson acted as question master and the panel consisted of Betty Bull, Bernard Dittrich, and Walter Metcalf (Medwal), the judge elect for the next day. One might pause to ponder on the atmosphere, being a presumably poignant Armistice evening.
Post war events continued along the same lines with the Club running successful shows and a variety of functions were incorporated into the yearly calendar, being organised to stimulate interest, and be educational as well as giving valuable social opportunities to exchange news and views. Many well known personalities who attended willingly travelled quite a distance even though petrol was still rationed. However, typically there have been some ups and downs through the years and clearly there have been a number of changes in the Club administration.
In 1953 the position of secretary was taken on by Phyllis Drummond (Gregorach) while George Robson (Burmellor) took the post of Chairman, and at this time Open shows were held in conjunction with Brent and Bucks canine societies. Here the committee decorated a tent with breed information along the lines of Discover Dogs.
The suggestion in 1967 to invite champion stud dogs to parade with a short commentary made on each exhibit proved to be a very popular experiment, so the following year bitches were asked to participate and this has been a regular feature of the Championship show ever since.
Sadly by the 1970's the Club was facing discord and following the death of Chairman George Robson in Jan 1972, the President Harold Wright (Woodmansey), and Secretary Phyllis Drummond stood down leaving the three main seats vacant. The turning point came at the AGM when enthusiastic new member Philip Cockerill (Cambeauly) took over the reins and in no time membership had doubled and the club was once again solvent. John Bailes (Glenrae) elected President, Barbara Sedorski Chairman and Laura Nepean Gubbins (Greenmall) took on the new position of Treasurer .
Philip was passionate about raising the profile of the breed and by the following year the programme of events consisted of three shows, two matches against the South of Eng. Airedale Club, a Stripping and Trimming demonstration, a display of puppy handling and a Christmas buffet luncheon. Along with this Philip had instituted the Overseas Newsletter and produced the first of the annual Year Books!
1974 marked the fortieth (Ruby) anniversary of the Club therefore another active calendar of events was undertaken including two matches against the West Highlands. At the championship show, which coincided with the Grand National a sweepstakes was held, ironically the race was won by Red Rum. The celebration dinner held after the summer open show was well supported and included members from Switzerland, Holland and France.
In 1975 Crufts introduced Breed Club Avenue, originally held in the National Hall Gallery, Olympia, and this was the birth of the annual Club stand which is now positioned ringside. Health issues compelled John Bailes to step down and Muriel Owen was elected President, a post she held until her death in 2003.
After five years of solid achievements the Club was flourishing, so it was bad news when Philip had to give way to the demands of his own business and retire from office at the 1977 AGM.
In Novemeber that year the Club joined forces with the West Highlands to organise what were affectionally known as the Black and White Shows. Generous support both financial and products from Buchanan Booth, the Black & White whisky proprietors ensured they were well attended so following nine brilliant shows it was a sad day when the sponsorship came to an end.
In 1978 it was decided the Club would present a trophy to a member making up their first UK Scottie Champion. To date nearly fifty such trophies have been awarded.
Freda Wright, (now President) was secretary at the time of the Golden Jubilee in 1984. The championship venue was decked out with spring flowers, the catalogues were gold and each attending exhibitor received a Golden Jubilee rose bush kindly donated by Pedigree Petfoods. An anniversary cake about a metre situation long, depicting a dog show scene, decorated with over fifty edible Scotties plus all the usual paraphernalia seen at a show was made and presented by Nita Wheeler. The day concluded with over seventy members and friends enjoying an excellent informal celebration home cooked meal. The Jubilee Yearbook, a 296 page edition plus bookmark, was another feature, full of records and other interesting material, and not without humour too.
A fancy dress costume competition was first introduced to the classification in 1987, and over the years a number of Scotties have modelled many ingenious outfits.
The Diamond Jubilee in 1994 was another sparkling occasion, the highlight of the anniversary year being the championship show followed by a celebratory dinner held on the Sunday prior to Crufts. An international audience packed the ringside to watch Stuart Plane (Stuane) who was substitute judge for Freda Wright, go over the 131 exhibits. The dinner was attended by 127 friends from home and seventeen overseas Countries.
The Club staged the first championship show of the new century, and here Pam Pagram (Torcraig) had been elected to judge. Once again a dinner concluded the day and proved a very enjoyable event. A deviation from previous activities was arranged for a Fun Day to be held in the June, this was capably organised by Clair Chapman (Berrybreeze) and her team.
In the early years, handbooks were published in 1936. 1945, and 1950/1. Since 1973 there has been a yearly edition with super deluxe issues for the Golden, Emerald, Diamond and Millennium. Along with educational and informative data these comprehensive volumes provide historical referencefor the future.
By the new Millennium membership had risen to 647 of which over half were from overseas; the Club was riding high. Many of the breed's stalwarts with a wealth of knowledge have steered the Club throughout the history and under their tenure it has thrived and can be justified in feeling proud of their achievements.
Sadly during the next decade divisions began to appear until in May 2011 the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and a Committee member tendered immediate resignation of Office leaving the Club in a dire situation, since the club licences had to be suspended by the K.C. whilst there were no officers in place. All signatories of club accounts had resigned which meant no accounts could be accessed leaving venues unpaid for, catering provision in disarray and it took generous donations and sheer hard work by dedicated members to guide a seemingly sinking ship into safe waters. The many obstacles have been steadily overcome and under the passionately determined leadership of secretary Anne Dauncey (Glenmiar) with invaluable support from Jane Miller (Brio), committee member since 1962 and long-standing breed devotee, have recently achieved a very successful Breed Conference in early March 2017.
Once again the Association has not only weathered the storm, it has remained faithful to its traditional tenets and is standing in a strong position, so hopefully there should also be a bright future ahead.