The Midland Chow Club was founded on 15th June 1926. A subsequent meeting was held on 5th July 1926 when the Rules were drawn up. The first 'Midland' show of 6 classes was held on 1st November 1926 and the entry fee was one shilling (the equivalent of 5 pence today).
Not many records are held now on the early years, but a few points of interest for the reader : the first few "Midland Shows" were held in the evenings in a Public House in the Bull Ring, Birmingham.
In 1939 the number of Club members was 67. During the War years, shows were held within a 25 mile radius of Birmingham. When eventually this restriction was lifted the next show was held in Sunderland with 20 classes. 13 exhibitors supported this.
In March 1948 the Club held a Championship Show in Moseley, the 5th to be held since its formation and the entry was 68 exhibitors showing 110 dogs and bitches. The judges were Dogs : Mons. Rene Bechet of Tervueren (Belgium) and Bitches : Comtesse R De Changy of Hoeylaert (Belgium). At this time Mr Owen Grindey was the Secretary and Mrs Grindey the Treasurer.
Mr. Grindey will be remembered not only as the Secretary of the Club, but as the designer of the original Club badge and the author of the "Midland Year Books" 1947 (vol. 1) and 1948 (vol. 2) these are invaluable for the Breed History and are much sought after today. These give a complete record of the Chow Shows from 1939. He was very knowledgeable about Chows as well as other breeds, he also wrote the Breed Notes in the "Our Dogs" newspaper for many years.
The "Midland" has many old Trophies and one that is of interest is the Champion Choonam Hung Kwong Trophy, which is given for Best Dog at the Championship Show today. Mr & Mrs Wolstenhome presented this to the Club in memory of the famous winner. He ended his days at their kennel after his breeder Mrs V A Manooch died. He was the winner of 44 CC's. This Trophy was the work of a Birmingham Sculptor Charles M Upton and it was valued then at 60 guineas. This Trophy was formally presented at the Championship Show in December 1946. Over the years through the generosity of exhibitors and members, the Club has a very impressive array of Trophies, at our Championship Shows each year, 38 Trophies are presented to the members of the "Midland".
A lot of people over the years have contributed to the success of the "Midland" and to list the names would be a "whose who" in the Chow World, and I would not like to miss anyone out by listing names.
A new rule book was compiled in 1999 and approved by the K.C. to take into account the many changes over the years.
The present Secretary has been in office since 1981 and the President Mr. L Entwistle from 1974. Continuity has therefore helped the record keeping and it is hoped in future years that these will be looked back on as we are looking back now. In the words of Mr Grindey on the 16th August 1947 in the introduction of the Year Book, "the present owes so much to the past".
Pam Godber, Hon. Secretary
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Picture credits : medieval Warwick Castle, Warwickshire by Ion Mes (Shutterstock)