A group of bulldog enthusiasts got together on October 20th 1897 in the offices of the 'OUR DOGS' paper to form a bulldog club.
This group of like minded people called it the Manchester and District Bulldog Club. The following are extracts taken from the 23rd October 1897 issue of 'OUR DOGS'
On Wednesday evening last a representative meeting of gentlemen residing in Cottonopolis and the district interested in the national breed, was held at Our Dogs offices and as will be seen from a notice amongst "Dog Clubs" in this issue, a new club was formed and officers elected. It is, we understand, the object of the club to foster the well-being of the breed in the limited area over which its jurisdiction extends, and not to interfere with, or encroach upon, the operations of already established Bulldog organisations.
Manchester and District Bulldog Club
A meeting was held at the office of "Our Dogs" on Wednesday the 20th inst., Mr. S Swift in the chair, when the above club was formed. Mr Rylance was elected president, Mr S.H. Deacon hon. Sec. and treasurer, Messrs, Swift, Chesworth, Armstrong, Healeham, Whiley, Vowies and Chevin on the Committee. It was agreed that the annual subscription should be 7s. 6d. A cordial note of thanks was passed to the proprietors of "Our Dogs" for the use of the room. - SIDNEY H. DEACON, Hon. Sec. and Treasurer.
As time went on the club's name was changed to the Manchester and Counties Bulldog Club. We are not certain why this evolved, but, clearly, changes did come about from time to time. For instance one of our old cups is inscribed "The County Palatine of Lancaster and the County of Chester."
The president in our centenary year of 1997 Bob Haydock, feels that one of the reasons for a proliferation of clubs in the early years was the problem of travel - only the very, very rich could afford a motor car. Was this club a plaything of the rich? A story is told that in the old days it was as difficult to get membership of this club as it was to the Freemasons, and if the blackball went in you were not a member of the 'Counties'! In the 'Counties' catchment area, the Oldham and District Bulldog Club and the Liverpool Bulldog Club no longer exist, but the Northern Bulldog Club founded in 1933 and operating from Manchester is still very much with us, as is the Rochdale Bulldog Club, and the 'Counties' has close contacts with them both to this day.
We were, together with the Bulldog Club (Inc.) the British B.C. and the London B.S., a prime status club with a Championship show every year, a privilege we lost due to a communication failure in 1988 with the KC, but we are now back on CC rotation, every other year.
During the period when we had no Championship shows we started to considerably upgrade our Open Shows with the emphasis on treating the exhibitors as valuable members, if you have any suggestions for improving things please forward them to the secretary.