Early history of Midland Counties Cat Club

(taken from the Golden Jubilee Show Souvenir 1902 - 1952 and written by Mrs O M Lamb in 1952)



Show - Dec 2nd and 3rd 1902

Prince of Wales Assembly Rooms, Broad Street, Birmingham

Committee -

Lady Marcus Beresford (President)

Mr C W Witt (Chairman)

Mrs Robinson

Mrs Deakin

Miss Gertrude Cope

Miss Parr

Mr F Howell

Mrs Collingwood

Miss Cartwright

Mrs Spafforth

Mr T Furry

Mrs Walters

Mrs Witts (Hon Treasurer)

Miss Cope (Hon Secretary)

Judges -

Lady Marcus Beresford

Miss Beal

Mr T B Mason

Show - October 25th 1952

Friends' Institute, Moseley Road, Birmingham

Committee -

Mr H Griffiths (President)

Mr S T Herod (Chairman)

Mr W Lamb

Mrs Herod

Mrs Benbow

Miss Purtell

Mrs Matthewson

Mr Foster

Mr A Matthewson (Hon Treasurer)

Mrs O M Lamb (Hon Secretary_

Judges -

Miss Yorke (Chairman, GCCC)

Rev B Rees (Vice-Chairman, GCCC)

Miss Langston

Miss K Wilson

Mrs J Thompson

Mrs Gunn

Miss Beckett

Mrs Hancox

Mr Stirling-Webb

Mr F C Tomlinson

Mr J Martin (Referee)

Show Managers -

Mr & Mrs W Lamb


Dear Friends,

With the planning of this Golden Jubilee Show, a thought creeps into my mind. Why not give the members of the MCCC a little knowledge of the history of the Club in the form of a Souvenir to keep if they so wish and to commemorate the "Golden Jubilee Cat Show" at Birmingham.

With regard to past activities I feel I cannot do better than give the following extracts from the notes of the late Mr Cyril Yeates (Chairman of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) and well-known and greatly loved and respected "Father" of the Cat Fancy, who, on the re-opening of activities after the World War, said:

...." "The Midland" as it is generally called, was founded at Wolverhampton in 1901 with Lady Marcus Beresford as President, Mrs Geo Cadbury as Vice-President, and Miss Cope, a well-known breeder of Silver Tabby Longhairs, as Hon. Secretary. It held its first show at The Prince of Wales Assembly Rooms, Broad Street, Birmingham, on December 2nd and 3rd, 1902, when 259 cats were penned, and the only complaint was that the Hall was too small and some of the pens had to be "topped". The Judges were Lady Marcus Beresford, Miss Beal, and Mr T.B. Mason. A Cat Journal wrote of the Show, "Birmingham is noted for doing things well, whether it is a torch-light procession for Mr Chamberlain or a Cat Show. Certainly Birmingham did the Cat Show well last week. Over 2,000 paid for admission, and between 300 and 400 were anxious and waiting to do so when the doors were closed at 7 p.m. on the last day of the show."

At the show held on November 29th and 30th, 1904, at the Central Hall (next door to the Grand Theatre) in Corporation Street, Birmingham, there were 60 classes, 386 exhibits, and 178 exhibitors. The Judges were Lady Marcus Beresford, Mr T B Mason and Mr T J Ambrose.

To show you how the breeds have changed in popularity there were 19 Chinchilla and 7 Shaded Silver Adults, 15 Smokes and 15 Silver Tabbies, but only 4 Siamese Adults. There were 71 Blue Kittens, but only 1 Siamese.

In 1905 the Club held a two day show at The Victoria Hotel, Aston Six Ways, which drew 300 exhibits. After 1905 no show was held until January 1909, when the Midland joined forces with the Southern Counties and took the Horticultural Hall, Westminster. Miss Twigg was Hon Secretary of the Midland. The reason given for the amalgamation was that the Midland found it impossible to find a hall in Birmingham.

The Midland held no Shows in 1912, 1913 and 1914. In November, 1915, after a year of war, a show was held at The Town Hall, Bedford. Mrs Forsyth Forrest, a well-known breeder of Red Tabbies, was Hon Secretary and Show Manager. One hundred and twenty-eight exhibits was not a bad entry under the circumstances.

After 1915 there was a six years interval and the next Show - also at Bedford - was not held until January 12th, 1922. Miss Ethel Savory, breeder of the famous "Emberton" Blues, was the new Secretary, and the Judges were Mrs Slingsby and Miss Savory (sister of the Hon Secretary); 181 exhibits was a very promising start for the Club's first post-war show. There were no Siamese entered.

In 1924 a Midland show was held for the first time at Worcester, the home town of Mr and Mrs Aubrey, famous breeders of the Langherne Chinchillas and keen supporters of the Midland. They acted as Show Secretary and Manager on this occasion.

For 15 years (1924 to 1938) Midland shows were held without a break. In 1925 Mrs Singleton, the well-known Smoke Breeder, became Secretary of the Club and ran the Show held that year at Bedford, and also the following year at The Drill Hall, Cheltenham, when Mrs Yeend acted as Show Manager. Bedford attracted 205, and Cheltenham 130 cats. In 1927 the Show was held at Leicester. Mrs Hughes, of Nuneaton, was Show Secretary and Mr Aubrey, Show Manager.

The Midland ran two shows in 1928 (the second one in place of the 1929 show). Both were held at Worcester, with Mrs Yeend as Show Secretary, Mr Aubrey as Show Manager, and Mr and Mrs Aubrey ran the Worcester Show of 1930.

The next five shows were all held at The Drill Hall, Cheltenham, and were run by Mr and Mrs Aubrey and Miss Fair, who became Hon Secretary of the Club in 1932, with Mrs Yeend as Show Manager.

In 1936 and 1937 the Shows were held at the Baths Hall, Gloucester, with Miss Fair as Show Secretary and Mrs F H Stevenson as Show Manager, and at the last show in 1938, which was held at The Empire Hall Cheltenham, Miss Fair was again Show Secretary, the Show Manger being Mrs Barbara Stevenson.

For these last 15 shows the average number of cats exhibited works out at 173.

The Midland Counties has been represented on the Governing Council by Mr Singleton, Mr Aubrey, Miss Fair, Miss Yorke and Mrs Cox-Ife.

The Club's Shows have always been very sociable events and old fanciers recall with pleasure the friendly gatherings at the local hotels on the eve of the Shows. Those were indeed happy days, and all who remember them will hope we are all now going to start again where we left off in 1938"



In 1949 Mr Yeates approached Mr S T Herod (present Chairman of the MCCC) and Mr W Lamb (Member of the present Committee) with a view to re-starting "The Midland". After much spade work behind the scenes a General Meeting was called and the Club re-started, with Mr S T Herod (Chairman), Mr W Lamb, Mr Harrington-Harvard, Mr R W Tomlinson, Mrs Herod, Mrs Henn, Mrs Bembow, Miss Clarke, Miss Bidmead and Mrs Palmer as Committee members and myself as Hon Secretary/Treasurer.

"The Midland" is now represented on the Governing Council by my husband and myself.

A small show was held at the Friends' Institute, Birmingham, in October, 1949, when there were 109 cats exhibited.

Shows have been held each year since, with 146 exhibits in 1950, 163 exhibits in 1951, and 199 exhibits in 1952. It is gratifying to see the numbers increasing each year, and they will, I hope, soon reach the figures of pre-war days.

I trust this Golden Jubilee Show has been a joy to all concerned.

May I, in closing, say a special "Thank you" to all exhibitors, Judges, Stewards, members of the Committee, and members of the Club for their kind co-operation. This would not be complete without a special mention of Mr O'Grady, the Curator of the Friends' Institute, who has made so many comforts possible.

Yours sincerely,

O M Lamb

Hon Secretary