Home History Windsor, the foundation years
Windsor, the foundation years Print

The first Windsor Championship Show was held in 1951.   It had no connection with the Championship Show held before the war and had no assets of any sort.   Because a Championship Show had to be sponsored by an existing Society the Windsor Gundog Society acted as the parent body, but throughout their joint existence the funds of these two organisations were kept completely separate.

As Windsor Championship Show was starting from nothing, means had to be devised to raise funds and at a general meeting of interested people on 19th October 1950 three forms of membership were outlined:  Life Membership at 5 guineas (£5.25); Foundation Membership at 2 guineas (£2.10) for three years; and Annual Membership at 1 guinea (£1.05).   By this means an initial sum of £450 was raised and in the following year was added to.

The first Show in June 1951, although a tremendous canine success, was not a success financially and there was a loss of £270.   To avoid this happening the following year the committee decided to increase various charges but not the entry fee, which remained at 10s 6d (52½).

1951 Committee
Committee from the first show in 1951 Left to right - Mr Raymond Oppenheimer, Dr Esther Rickards (Secretary), Mrs. P Phillips

Mrs. Edwards, the first chairman, resigned from this office on moving away from the district in 1952.   The chairmanship was taken over by the Earl of Northesk, an office he held until his death in 1964.

The Championship Show continued to prosper and with its lovely setting in the Home Park, with Windsor Castle as a backcloth, it grew in popularity and each year many hundreds of overseas visitors came to the show.   Dr. Rickards, the secretary, had been responsible for its growth and her tireless work on its behalf was in no small measure responsible for the success of the show.

Her Majesty The Queen became the patron in 1956 and she took a great interest in the show with details of the entry being sent to her each year.

In 1962 Dr. Rickards decided that she could no longer continue as secretary.   Her reason for this was the new Kennel Club Regulation compelling show secretaries to provide the exhibit numbers in the judges’ portion of the judging book.   Dr. Rickards was invited to be a vice-president of Windsor Championship Show, a position she accepted with pleasure.   She also remained on the committee.

Catherine Sutton
Catherine Sutton


Mrs. Catherine Sutton was appointed secretary in January 1962 but stressed that she could not be responsible for the Championship Show and the Windsor Gundog Shows.   It was agreed that permission be sought from the Kennel Club for these to become quite separate with their own individual committees and officers.   Lord Northesk took this matter up with the Kennel Club and so Windsor Dog Show Society came into being with its own committee and officers.


Molly Garrish
Molly Garrish (on right)

On the death of Lord Northesk, Mrs M. C. Garrish took over as chairman with Group Captain Sutton as vice-chairman and show manager.   In 1975 Mrs. Molly Garrish resigned as chairman and at a meeting in September the vice-chairman proposed that Dr. Esther Rickards be elected chairman.   This was carried unanimously and Group Captain Sutton remained as vice-chairman.


"Beefy" Sutton

It was a sad day for Windsor and the dog world in general when Dr. Rickards died early in 1977.   She had seen Windsor Championship Show grow from a one-day to a two-day and eventually to a three-day show.



The above extract is adapted from Catherine G. Sutton’s book “Dog Shows and Show Dogs” published in 1980.   Mrs. Sutton was secretary of the Society from 1962 until 1988.