THE CHOW CHOW CLUB HISTORY
The first meeting of The Chow Chow Club took place on July 1st, 1895, at 66 Carlisle Mansions, Victoria Street, SW1. The Chair was taken by Mr W R Temple and inaugural members present were Lady Graville Gordon, Mrs Arthur James, Mrs G Fitzwilliams, Mr and Mrs Janvrin Dickson, Mrs Burgess, Miss Casella, Miss Armyne Gordon (later Lady Faudel Philips) and Mr Onken.
The Club's Early Years
Mr Temple was appointed the first Secretary, Mrs Burgess Treasurer and the Rules adopted were those of the St Hubert Schipperke Club, with whom the Chow Club had a close association, running shows in conjunction for a number of years. Club Specials were to be Silver and Bronze Medals, and many famous dogs are listed as winners over the years. Lady Elena Wickham and Mrs Carlton Cowper were elected to the Club, the total membership thus being 25, and the subscription fixed at 1 guinea (£1.05). For some time the Chairman was elected from those present at the meeting.
The first Chow classes, two only, were at the Autumn 1895 Kennel Club Show : Novice and Open. A move to provide a Puppy Class was resisted because of the great liability of the breed to contract distemper. The first Chow show was held in conjunction with the Schipperke Club in December 1895. Mrs Janvrin Dickson suggested that a “real Chinaman” should be asked to judge, but the meeting came to the conclusion “that the Chinaman would probably judge the dogs from an eating point of view, which would not tend towards the improvement of the breed”. The prize money at the show was a Sweepstake of the entry fees, half of the money awarded to the First prizewinner, the other half divided so that two-thirds went to Second and one-third to Third. From time to time during the early years, the committee were called upon to decide whether dogs were pure bred Chows.
It was no long before Chow classes were being scheduled at a number of other shows, but a request for support by the Secretary of Birmingham Show was turned down as the committee felt that keeping dogs tied on benches for five days was an act of gross cruelty. Mr Temple resigned the Secretaryship in 1898 and was elected President. Miss Manley took over as Secretary, and Chow classes continued to increase all over the country. Many conditions were made, and accepted, for the awarding of the Club Medals. Judges were voted onto a list at the Annual General Meeting, but usually only about 12 names were required. There was no time limit on length of appointments, Sir William Cospatrick Dunbar was President of the Club for a number of years, Mrs Rawson and Mrs Moore following Miss Manley as Secretary.
Meetings were held in Edinburgh as Sir William attended meetings regularly. After this, different areas were used to suit committee members´ convenience and the Annual General Meeting was at Crufts. I seem to recall older Chowists telling me of the first day being the show, the second day meetings and so on.
Gold Medals were Awarded from WWI Onwards
Mr Cruft´s “Royal” Command
In 1965 Mrs Vi Elsworth was elected Secretary. At that time, Mr A E Burrows of the famous Penhow Smooth Chows was President, Dr T Kemp Homer Chairman and the Championship Show was held at Leicester. The Club Newsletter had come into being and after a rather hit-and-miss few years, now appears regularly in June and December. By 1970 the 75th Year, Mr Frank Watkinson had become President and he too continued until his death in 1979, travelling to Banbury for all committee meetings from his Yorkshire home. He was succeeded by Mr G Webster, and Mr A J Ansell was the next one, taking over in 1983 after the death of Mr Webster. The 1970 Championship Show was at the best-ever venue, The Winter gardens, Banbury, Mrs J Jack judged Dogs and Mr G Leatt Bitches. They drew an entry of 359 made by 155 Chows, and Special Prizes of great value were donated by overseas members : Best in Show, the bitch C.C. winner Wyndham Thomas´ Sikong Katy of Shergay. Dog C.C. Claxton and Philips Chanoyu Golden Marcus and best Puppy, Earnshaw´s Oliver of Tymoshan. The 80th Anniversary was the next milestone and the Club´s President, Mr Watkinson, judged Dogs with Mr Joey Natrass from Canada judging Bitches, the entry surpassing the 75th : 172 Chows, 392 entries. Best in Show the bitch C.C. winner Westlake´s Baytor Blue Enchantress, Dog C.C. Joan Bennett´s Kukim Gambler of Perkychow. Best Puppy was Nunn´s Honey´s Boy Gubbonair.
The Club possesses many Trophies
Written by Vi Elsworth (1985) - Reprinted by kind permission of the Kennel Club