Southern Counties SBT Society

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The History of the Society

The aims of the Society which are included in our rules, were and still are:

"To promote all things found to be desirable in the interests of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a breed in the Southern Counties of England by encouraging owners and breeders to attain and maintain a high standard in the breed by organizing shows and other activities to be found desirable or necessary".

In late 1936 the fanciers of the breed in the Southern Area felt that due to the rise in popularity of the breed that a Society should be formed to cater for their needs. After various letters had been written and articles had appeared in Our Dogs newspaper it was agreed that a Society should be formed and in February 1937 the Society was born. The first meeting which was very well attended consisted of Hon.Secretary Mr N.A. Wright (Mulberry), President Mr Tom Walls (Looe), Vice-Presidents Viscountess Harcourt, Mrs C Wright, Mrs E Renton, Mr H Beilby, Mr H Crowther, 

Mr H Melling, Mr M Smith, J Paget and a committee of Mesdames D Epsom & E Havers, Misses M Hill & M Jordan (MRCVS) and Messer’s 

W Boylan, G Epsom, P Dee, G Barfoot-Care, J Naden and Capt. L Wright. All these men and women were well regarded in the Stafford world at the time. It was agreed at this meeting that the Society would hold with KC permission it first show. After securing a venue it was held on the 1st May 1937 and was judged by Mr J Saunders and drew an entry of 82 in 10 classes. Boylan’s “Game Laddie” was BD & BIS with Wright’s “Mulberry Move On” being declared BB. The show was an outstanding success with the only drawback being that the room was not big enough to accommodate all those in attendance.

The membership of the Society grew over the next few years and the Society was in a very strong position, but unfortunately due to the outbreak of war the membership did decrease and it was only with the efforts of the Hon Secretary John Naden, Harry Tomlinson, Mrs J Russell and the Committee that there was still a Society in being when the war ended.

With the ending of the war the dog show scene gradually came to life and in 1946 the Society was granted KC permission to hold the first Breed Club Championship Show for Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The judge for this prestigious event was Mr R.H. Voss who awarded the DCC to Servat’s “Head Lad of Villmar” and BCC to Bowler’s “Jan of Gade” both exhibit’s being owned by Society members.

As with all clubs and societies changes in administration are inevitable and in 1948 Nap Cairns (Constones) became the Hon. Secretary, Jimmy Russ became Hon. Treasurer and John Gordon (Bandits) took up the reins as Asst Secretary and along with rest of the committee another formidable team was formed. 1948 also saw another milestone in the Society’s history, the first publication of the Stafford Magazine. This was the brainchild of Nap Cairns so it was fitting that he should be the first editor. With the help of other members of the committee the magazine went from strength to strength. 1951 saw the retirement, due to business commitments, of Ron Servat and Sid Heywood (interesting to note that Sid never owned or showed a Stafford but had a deep interest in the breed) from their duties with the Stafford Magazine. In Bruce Nicolls, the committee found a willing and able replacement and with Nap still editing, the magazine flourished.

Throughout the early 50’s the officers and committee remained quite constant although the likes of Ken Bailey (Benext), Major Hesketh-Williams and Mr & Mrs Garrett had filled vacated positions and the Society gathered momentum so much so that the membership figure for 1954 topped 400. It was also at this time that Mr Garrett secured Third Party insurance for members at a cost of 2 shillings and sixpence per annum and although this was well received at the time it unfortunately fell by the wayside due to the administration of it after Mr Garrett retired from the committee.