National Chow Chow Club

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The National Chow Chow Club was first registered on the 25th April 1933. The founder and first Secretary was Mr Joe Hartley-Baileff who remained Secretary throughout the war years and up to 1959.

Whilst there is no documented evidence to support the legend, it would seem that the Club was first formed as a group of Chowists could not see eye to eye with the committee of one of the other Clubs. As the Club in question held all their committee meetings at the Kennel Club and insisted on ending in time for afternoon tea at The Ritz whilst the newly founded National Chow Chow Club meetings were at a North London pub, there could be just a trace of credence in the story.

As far as can be traced, the National jogged along quietly until post war when on the 26th May 1947, the first Open Show was held at The Memorial Hall, Camden Town, London. This drew an entry of 202 over 20 classes and was judged by Mr Gilbert Kay who awarded Best in Show to Padua's Anton of Kenway, who was still a puppy.

The same year the Club staged it's first Championship Show on October 11th, again in London at Lime Grove Baths. Mr T A Moffatt judged dogs and Mr D J Stobart was appointed to judge bitches. There was an entry of 261 over 30 classes with entry fees being ten shillings and six pence plus an additional three shillings for benching. Prize money was two pounds for first, one pound for second and ten shillings for third place which meant that a second prize more than covered your entry fee! By 1959, Mrs Miriam Simpson had taken over as Secretary of the Club although the tradition of a North London pub as the venue for the committee meetings continued, as presumably did the other Clubs use of the KC and The Ritz! The National Club continued to hold CC status during the nineteen fifties until a change in policy at the KC resulted in CCs being lost until 1972.

The end of 1975 saw the sudden death of Miriam Simpson who had been only the second Secretary in the Club's history. Rodney Oldham, who had joined the committee a few years earlier agreed to take on the post as a temporary measure.

At the AGM it was decided to rename the "Special Beginners" classes as the "Miriam Simpson Memorial Classes" and these continue in the present day.

The 1970s were a turbulent period in the National history with a number of changes in Officers of the Club, however in the early 1980s the Club settled down once more into a regular pattern of two open shows and a championship show each year. Len Quinn was elected as Secretary in 1980, a position he held until becoming Chairman in 1983. At this time, Pauline Quinn was elected as Secretary. This partnership continued for some eleven years.

National Chow Chow Club
Above : Miriam Simpson's Mairim Blue Woo Tu, born 1947

On 2nd July 1995, Jan Lefevre took over as Secretary and successfully steered the Club into the new Millennium. By this time she was also Secretary of two all breed clubs and in March 2005 she moved to the position of Chairman due to the pressure of work, she was after all working full time as well. Gillian Claxton was then elected as Secretary and with Jan still actively involved the Club continued to prosper.

In November 2010 it was the turn of The National Club to sponsor the Chow of the Year Show. An excellent entry was achieved which resulted in a very successful show. Unfortunately Jan Lefevre was taken ill just before the show and unable to attend. She died shortly afterwards which was a great loss for the Club. A memorial trophy in her name has been presented by the Club for Reserve Best Bitch at the Championship Show. The Club was fortunate to have Claire Merrion who was Vice Chairman and she was elected as Chairman at the next AGM and Helen Smith took over the office of Vice Chairman.

The National Chow Chow Club will reach its 80th anniversary in 2013 and celebrations are being planned.

Gillian Claxton, secretary

National Chow Chow Club

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