Blackpool Over the Decades
Blackpool has always been synonymous with style and fun and we would like to believe that this can be said of the current quality we try to deliver to our customers today.
The inception was way back in 1921 but the first Championship show was held 1934 in the Tram sheds on Hornby Road, Blackpool
The Secretary at that time was a Mr Harold Roberts and he held that post until 1974, preceded by Mr Jack Bennett until 2003 current Secretary is Mr Steve Hall.
The Society had some very notable presidents of yesteryears the likes of Wilson Wiley (Wardrobe Boxers), Major S.W. Somerfield (Panfield Boxers & Editor of Dog World) Fred & Julia Curnow (Tavey Dobermanns also associated with Dog World) Dennis Marples (Our Dogs) Mr W Parkinson (Daviam Pointers) and A D Swann (Swanford Dachshunds).
Harold and Peggy Roberts (Bolivar)
Harold was a great Alsatian enthusiast being one of the earlier Championship judges of the breed and obviously a string of Champion Long-haired Dachshunds.
Harold and his wife Peggy really put their mark on the Blackpool Championship Show it had real class and style with the Pre-show Dinner dance being the highlight of the calendar for many of the UKs top dog enthusiasts of the day.
Remarkably this lasted for over 40 years, in fact other things spring to light as Blackpool & District Canine Society is always at the forefront of trying new ideas and not being afraid to have a go!!
In 1939 it was Blackpool Dog Show that was the first to introduce a ban on dogs remaining on the showground overnight, (even if they were only required for one day) and by the late 1940’s the practice was universally accepted. More recently in the year of the foot & Mouth (2001) the society was the first to announce all show entries would be sent directly to and processed by the printers, this has been adopted by many senior Championship show today.
In the years to come the show moved to The Oval at Stanley Park, Blackpool, a most prestige venue with a running track around what was the oval grass centre with a clock tower that was within the park, as the popularity of the show vastly increased it outgrew the grounds available and was forced to move across the main road, adjacent to Blackpool Zoo which was known as Lawson Road, after many more years it moved again to Lytham St Anne’s, on part of the Royal Guardian Insurance Estate. In 2000 the society purchased its own showground at Westby just 1 mile from the Royal Guardian Estate.
Sadly the society no longer has its lavish pre-show dinner dance nor does it puts its judges up at the five star hotels of bygone days, the Committee feels it is more important to spend any profit on our showground for the benefit of our exhibitors.
Mr Ernest Sharpe:- was without doubt the most successful exhibitor at Blackpool Championship Show over the years, attaining no less than 9 Best in Show wins
Best in show 1970 Champion Alpenden Golden Sand with the famous Best in Show trophy and proud owner
Bobby the wire-haired terrier looks at a picture of himself as ‘Pup of the Year’ in the 1971 at Blackpool Dog show
The society changed drastically when the current Secretary took over, along with the Committee they revamped the showground at Westby with better grass and facilities for the exhibitors, but the transformation was within the administration marquee, Blackpool has the most diverse collection of trophies on display at any dog show in the world, so we thought we should show them off particularly the best in show cup which we retrieved from storage at Blackpool Borough council offices, its as big and more ornate than the Crufts Best in Show Trophy.
The Current chairperson is Mrs Stephanie Bentham the daughter of a past chairman & President Dr Ben Raven who served the society for many years.
The society’s officers were very much involved in the Dachshund breeds from the very early days Harold & Peggy Roberts had Smooth Dachshund before the war and after they bought their first Long-Haired, a string of Bolivar Champions followed, Jack & Jennie Bennett also exhibited Dachshunds under the Benivar affix, so did Dr Ben & Aileen Raven but the most successful must be Margret & Nicky Swann (Swanford ) although very successful with Alsatians pre 1960s but it was Dachshunds that the Swanford name will be remembered, they produced many Champions but the most successful being Champion Swanford Arrador (one time breed record holder).
Sadly Blackpool is the only General Championship show left in existence in the North West of England with the demise of the now defunct Cheshire Championship Show and also the Dumfries Championship show just on the border, alas Manchester Championship Show moving to Staffordshire.
In spite of this the society has gone from strength to strength over the recent years and is extremely proud of the fact that dog people in general feel we are doing a grand job, after our 2005 show we received a personal letter from one of the most prominent persons in the dog game, and this is what they said:-
“ I have attended Blackpool Ch Shows for 50 years and in my opinion this years was the best since the days of the Oval at Stanley Park which was regarded as one of the most prestigious shows in the calendar, particularly for style and quality.
I can see that reputation fast returning.
This is not empty flattery, I have never written to a society before, but I feel proud to be a Northerner with this sort of Show representing the North West
The report in the press for the same show was also quite flattering
DOG WORLD reporter said “this show sets the benchmark for others to follow”
Let’s hope that this can continue with the support of the exhibitors of which we truly value.