Our first Herts & Middx Committee 1947

A brief history of the club

In the beginning

The Hertfordshire and Middlesex Cat Club was founded in 1947 by Mrs Lucy Price, aided by a small group of enthusiastic breeders, foremost amongst whom was Miss Kit Wilson. Meetings were held in Committee Members' homes,with one of their primary aims being the welfare of cats. A series of leaflets was produced with this objective, and distributed free of charge to all members.

Funds were raised by holding whist drives and garden parties, and in 1948 the first show was held.

Many trophies were donated, and the club grew steadily.

Into the 21st century

Starting with the leaflets on cat care, the club continued to produce a series of newsletters. In more recent years, the club's "voice" was "Purrchance", edited and largely compiled by Maggie Chitty, who served the club for many years as Honorary Secretary up to her retirement in 2000. On the occasion of the club's golden anniversary, she researched and produced an excellent history of the "Herts and Tarts", as the club has become known. The club newsletter is to be relaunched under the title "The Litter Box" in 2006.

With the new Millennium, the running of the club became increasingly difficult. Several newer clubs had been established in the region, and at the same time there was a shortage of people willing or able to devote their time to serving on the committee. By 2004 the situation had reached the point at which the Herts and Middlesex was on the verge of being disbanded. A Special General Meeting was held to discuss this, and enough members attended to indicate that the club should continue. Several officials resigned shortly afterwards, but a small band of stalwarts struggled on to put the club back on its feet. Although that year's show had to be cancelled, we returned with a successful event in 2005.

Past Shows

Our first show was held as an "open" show at Watford Town Hall in 1948. There were 125 entries, which was considered quite large as the cat fancy had only just started to recover after the War.

The following year, GCCF permitted the club to hold. its first Championship show, on Wednesday 21 September in the Old Drill Hall in Watford. The entry rose to 160, but the show failed to make a profit.

Later shows were held in Cricklewood and the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria before they moved to Alexandra Palace in 1960. By now ours was one of the largest shows in the calendar as it was the first to be held in the show year (June to May), and there were far fewer clubs and shows from which to choose.

Among the 55 shows held up to 2005, there have been a number of disasters. In 1975, at the height of the IRA terrorist campaign, the police received an anonymous warning of a bomb in the show hall. All the exhibitors were evacuated, but the cats had to remain. No police sniffer dogs were allowed in the hall, for obvious reasons, and luckily the call proved to have been a hoax.

the great fire

In 1980 an accident set fire to Alexandra Palace and it was burnt to the ground, just six weeks before the show. Over 1000 entries had already been received, but with great good fortune, an alternative venue was found at Stopsley, Luton, and the show was able to proceed.

For the next 16 years the show was held mostly at Picketts Lock in Enfield. Another near-disaster occurred in 1997, when the show date was named as the day for the funeral of Princess Diana. With only four days warning, the Leisure Centre decided to close, along with most of the country! Luckily Governing Council gave approval for the show to be moved if the manager could find a date which did not clash with any other shows, and a venue. December 21st was found to be suitable, so all exhibitors, judges, traders and vets had to be notified of the change and offered refunds if the new date was not convenient.

The response was mostly favourable, though there were complaints from some who failed to sympathise with the problem.

In December, the show was a great success with an entry of 1005, in a hall decorated in accordance with the festive season.

Our Golden Jubilee

In 1998, the year of our golden jubilee championship show, the venue changed again, to Stevenage Leisure Centre, then back to Stopsley in 2005.