The History of STAY

The club, originally known as ‘The Sporting Terrier Club’ has been established since 1925. Records from this date up to the war are not accessible. However, a clearer picture of the club can be created after the war.

In the early years (1947-) it was common practice for breeds to be guarenteed by exhibitors or people involved in that breed. If the entry did not meet the required level (normally four entries per class), the guarantor would be involved in paying the difference and therefore subsidise the missing entries in each class. Today the club is proud to have classes for every registered breed of Terrier, however back in the 1940’s this was not as confirmed. From reading past minutes and entry records during the 1940’s there was a lack of Scottish, West Highland White and Cairn. In 1946 support for these breeds had dwindled so much they were forced to remove them from classification. Breeds such as the Kerry Blue were admitted to the show as a replacement for the Scottish Terriers. According to the minutes, these breeds remained unclassified until the early 1950’s – maybe some exhibitors moved into the area at this stage!

The format, planning and frequency of shows had altered greatly from the way things are done today. The venues used during the 1940-1950’s were the Corn Exchange (Leeds) and St James School Room. The society held 12 shows a year. 6 Limited to members and 6 ‘pay on the day’ shows. This would take major planning for anyone but at this time the committee had 21 members. Meetings to finalise the plans for the shows took place 4 weeks before the propose dates- this just shows how legislation and planning has differed so much over time. There was no computers so all the work had to be done manually. The Secretary would have to write to all Judges and The Kennel Club as well as the show printers not having the capabilities to print catalogues/schedules electronically. Despite this, entries for the shows were accepted up until the saturday of the week before the show. To have the entries received and printed in the catalogues is a great achievement by secretaries and printers in those days. Advertising for the shows was not as exposed as it is now, ‘advertising boards’ were placed outside the St James School Room and the other shows to help attract exhibitors to the shows.

The shows seemed a ‘sociable’ event and a way for people to get out and mix. If you consider most people would start work at 8am, not get home until 6pm and then have a committee meeting or even an evening match night without the ability to travel by car, people really had to work hard to take part in the shows. Tieing in with this sociable feel for the club and its members, whenever a club member’s dog became a Champion, they society would send them a congratulations message, which would have been greatly appreciated by the owner. Personal touches like this have been lost these days and the ‘atmosphere’ around showing seems to have drastically changed since the 1940’s. The shows were very successful and well supported, minutes show orders were placed for 300 catalogues for some shows, this would lead to believe the entries were in excess of this figure. Profits for some shows were in excess of £15, which for this time period is an enormous profit figure.
Another example of how things have changed is the structure and role of Judges. Each breed was to be judged by a breed specialist, this was the policy of the club and according to the meetings was a strict requirement of the committee. The variety Judge would Judge the remaining classes and BIS. After confusion at the conclusion of a show in 1948, The Kennel Club confirmed that the BIS Judge was permitted to call in the breed specialist Judge to contribute in the decision making at the final stage. You can only imagine that if the BIS Judge was considering the winner, they would then call in the breed specialist to talk more in detail about the dog they had sent through as BOB. This is an unusual way of concluding the show, but according to the minutes, was detailed in a reply from the Kennel Club. Another different approach for admitting exhibits for the shows was the examination by a vet. Before a dog would be allowed to enter the show hall, it would have to be passed by a vet as being fit and well to compete. This does not happen in this country, but is still common practice abroad even now.

More recent, the societies name was changed after a vote by committee. Due to the arrival of other, equivalent clubs in different parts of the country, the ‘of Yorkshire’ was added to help maintain the clubs identity and location.

Many thanks to Alf and Milly Jennings for reading through the minutes and helping to gather the information so it can be displayed here.