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Let's Celebrate the CLUBS!
Long before any permanent Cat Registry or Governing Body existed, there were Clubs. Before Clubs, there were just Cat Show organizing committees, with private sponsors, who donated their time and money and/or prizes, or awards. A leading example of this, is the Crystal Palace Show of 1875, among the Patrons of which were Mr. Charles Darwin and Lady Dorothy Nevill.
The idea of forming a National Club was first informally discussed at in impromptu assemblage of ladies and gentlemen on the second day of a four day Cat Show, at the Alexandra Palace, on June 15th, 1887. This was followed by a formal General Meeting at the Crystal Palace on 18th October, 1887, when the National Cat Club (N.C.C.) was duly instituted, with Mr. Harrison Weir as its first President, and Miss Gresham as its first Secretary. In the words of a later Chairman, Cyril Yeates, "the Cat Fancy, as we know it today, may be said to date from that year." Upon the resignation of Mr. Weir and Miss Gresham in 1890, they were duly succeeded by Mr. Louis Wain and Mr. J.W. Townsend.
The National Cat Club then instituted the first Studbook and Register and thereby became, in fact, the first National Registry to ever exist. The first volume of the Studbook, dates from July 31st, 1890 and was produced in 1893. The cats in it, date from as early as 1876! For approximately 10 years, the National Cat Club ruled the affairs of the Cat Fancy, with little or no dispute, until dissatisfaction arose as to its management, causing a split in its ranks. As a result, an opposition group formed "The Cat Club', under the leadership of Lady Marcus Beresford, in 1898.
It was during this short divisive period, while fanciers wavered between the rival national bodies, both of which managed a Studbook and Register, that there was a period of intense growth in the Cat Fancy, during which numerous Specialist Clubs and Societies were duly formed, between 1898 and 1903.
The Clubs of today are the backbone of the modern Cat Fancy. It is the Clubs that organize the majority of annual or bi-annual shows, it is the clubs which cultivate membership by individual fanciers and which create an opportunity for socializing between their breeder members, and it is the Clubs which seek to educate all cat fanciers on the finer points of the individual breeds.
This list of clubs and their histories celebrates the hard work and successes of those clubs, some of which have already been in existence for well over a century.
A Note from the Editors:
The editors invite submissions of an historic nature in the form of data, photographs or related club ephemera. If you feel you have any information, or an item which would add value to our pages celebrating the history of our Clubs, please check the CONTACTS page and send us an email.
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