OAKLANDS SHEILA (1910)
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Oaklands Sheila, was yet another of Miss Gladys Cheetham's highly successful Blue females, most of which were campaigned successfully between 1910 and 1914. Like the others from this trail-blazing cattery, Sheila was always shown to perfection by her owner, and competed successfully against blues of her own sex and against the best blue males in the country at that time. But she was also a reliable breeder, one of two show females at Oaklands, to produce a second generation winner and also a litter by the outstanding male, Ch. Oaklands Steadfast(Best Cat in Show, Westminster, 1913).
Haddo Bluebeard, Blue The Gondolier, Blue | Fionnala, Blue Oaklands Sheila, Apr-11-1910, Blue, F | Regal Perseus, Blue The Princess of Orange, Blue Blue Fluff, Blue
From Miss Cheetham's own cattery records, we find that Sheila was born on 11th April, 1910 and was in fact bred by a Miss Hales. Her sire was the Blue Persian male. 'The Gondolier', (c1905) and her dam was a Blue Persian female, 'The Princess of Orange'. She was subsequently purchased by Miss Cheetham for the not inconsiderable sum of £15.15.0! Miss Hales clearly had a good idea of her true value and saw an opportunity for a mutualy beneficial sale. The young Miss Cheetham, who had inherited her father's eye for recognising 'show form potential' in livestock, would have seen this as a double opportunity, to gain both a quality Show prospect, whilst boosting the potential from her breeding program with the addition of another valuable female.
Although there are a number sire-siblings recorded, there is only one record of a full sibling which appears to have come from the same litter, a blue male named 'Lord Delamere of Delamere'.
This grand fellow was owned by Mrs Delamere Bouth, who exhibited him for the following wins: 1st Stud, 2nd Open, 3rd Limit, and the Blue Persian Challenge Cup for the best Blue male, Doncaster; 2nd Open, 2nd Members, and Special, Hounslow; 3rd Open, 2nd Limit, 2nd Members, Westminster; and other prizes.
Of Sheila's show results we have a full and extensive record, maintained by Sheila's owner in her own Cattery records, in which are listed the following shows and wins:
The above wins, denote a consistently good cat, one which could win Best Cat in Show and which was consistently recognised for 'Best Eye Colour'.
But no show record for Sheila would be complete without recording the below amazing commentary by Frances Simpson when she judged the Blue classes at Westminster in 1913, and where she placed 'Sheila' at the head of all the Blue Females, and 2nd in the Open, only against the Best In Show winner, cattery-mate, Ch. Oaklands Steadfast.
"FEMALE, 19: 1, Ch, spls,2,3, Miss Cheetham, we doubt if a trio of better blue queens was ever penned at the same time, by one exhibitor; they were Oaklands Sheila, Sceptre ,and Seabreeze, three wonderful Cats, and penned in magnificent coat and condition; I rather liked Sceptre as leader, though on the day, the leader carried a bit more bloom, whilst those wide-awake eyes are very fascinating. Nevertheless, they are three truly wonderful Cats, and need no further description."2
Upon researching Sheila's breeding history, the cattery records uncovered a previous hidden truth. Sheila's first litter is recorded as being sired by the male 'Big Ben'. The date of birth if given as 11th April, 1912. The number of kittens is 'Two'. One male, and one female. But next to the females name, in brackets, is (Stella). This is 'Oaklands Stella.'1
However, in all databases, 'Stella' is listed as born on that same date, and that same sire, but from a dam named 'Colquhoun'.
The mystery is solved when we then refer to the cattery records for 'Oaklands Stella', which show her date of birth as 11th April, 1912, her sire as 'Big Ben' and her dam as: Colquhoun (Sheila) ! (Sheila in brackets). We are also shown that 'Stella' was not bred by Gladys Cheetham, but by Miss Adams, and that Stella was 'purchased' for £10.10.0 (Ten Guineas).¹
So it appears that a breeding arrangement took place, whereby Sheila was transferred into the temporary care and ownership of Miss Adams in order for this breeding to take place and that there was an arrangement regarding the choice and payment for a kitten back in lieu of stud fee. Perhaps Miss Adams was as keen to get a kitten out of Sheila as Gladys was to get one out of 'Big Ben'. But in any event, the dates and mating 'concur', and now we have provenance that instead of a missing pedigree for Colquhoun in all databases, this can now be completed satisfactorily. (See "Oaklands Stella" for a copy of her Birth and Purchase record!)
This is further backed up by the gap in Sheila's show record, with nothing between December 1910, and November 1912, well after her litter to 'Big Ben' and before her later wins and second litter.
Sheila's second recorded litter, presumably back at Oaklands (given her show records with Gladys Cheetham), was to the sublime Ch. Oaklands Steadfast. The litter is recorded as born 19th May 1913, numbering three kittens, one male and two females. Of the fate of these kittens, there is no record.
Of this second litter, although no registration records exist, we have the following additional information, provided in an article that appeared in 'The Queen - The Ladies Newspaper' on 28th January 1914. (likely written by Miss Frances Simpson). This article is a record of a visit to the Oaklands Cattery, Brighouse and contains a number of valuable observations and about each and every cat, and is clearly written by the hand of an experienced judge, with an eye for the Blue Persian.
"Sheila is another grand blue queen, and in eye and shape is hard to beat. She had a litter, now eight months old, by Steadfast, and two of these, Sybil and Sue, were two lovely snub-faced kittens, with glorious eyes. Miss Cheetham is very proud of this promising pair. Sheila, the mother, has once been the Best in the Show."5
The below image is taken from a full page 'Supplement to Fur and Feather' dated 24th January 1913, in which the celebrated Oakland Blues were featured after their amazing triumph at Westminster that month. 'Sheila' appears at the top of the page, as the highest achieving female, 2nd in the Open Class to 'Steadfast', who was Best Cat in Show. This image of 'Sheila' shows her in a slightly different pose, with head tilted forward, is a charming representation of a truly superb female.
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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