The Formation of the
National Council for Aviculture
A number of Specialist Club
delegates, representing all branches of the Fancy, met on Thursday March 8th 1945 at the
Waldorf Hotel in London to discuss the formation of a National Association to foster the
interests of the Cage Bird Fancy. Mr W Watmough, the famous budgerigar breeder and author
of the seminal Cult of the Budgerigar took the Chair for this meeting, and Mr
E R W Lincoln, Editor of Cage Birds, agreed to be Secretary, assisted by his secretary
Miss E W Kirby.
Delegates attending the Inaurgural Meeting:
Mr W Watmough Budgerigar Society
Mr J Hylton Blythe British Bird Keepers Association
Mr A A Collier South Midland BS
Mr P W Beauchamp National British Softbill Society
Mr W Hinkins Southern Border Fancy Canary Club
Mr W Dixon Midland Counties Norwich Plainhead Club
Mr F Derry Midland Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr W K Cox Budgerigar Society
Mr G C Lynch National British Hardbill Assocn.
Mr J Hamblett West Midland Roller Canary Fanciers
Mr H Garland Wells Southern Norwich Plainhead Club
Mr R Frayn Foreign Bird League
Mr H G Golder Cinnamon Canary Club
Mr W P Inggs Western Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr W E Berry Midland Budgerigar and Foreign Bird Assocn.
M W Trotter Northern Ireland Clubs
Mr A Wilson Scottish BS
Mr E Brown Midland B & FBA
Mr W A Fitch Midland B & FBA
Mr H Hill Yorkshire Union of CBSs
Mr C Cockerton Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr E R W Lincoln Editor, Cage Birds
Miss E W Kirby Secretary to Mr Lincoln
later recalled that during the morning session a flying bomb made a direct hit on
Smithfield Market not far away from the hotel! It was agreed to form a National Society,
and the name National Society of Aviculture - was chosen from a short list by
ballot of the delegates (this was changed to the National Society for Aviculture in the
The aims and targets of the
newly formed Council were then discussed, and 6 areas were agreed:
A. To keep under close
scrutiny legislation and parliamentary proposals affecting, or likely to affect,
B. To counter
anti-birdkeeping propaganda, no matter what its form.
C. To secure nation-wide
representation of birdkeepers interests.
D. To accelerate the
importation of seed into this country.
E. To ensure the
best possible support in Parliament and local government.
F. To secure, by
contacts and press notices, publicity favourable to the Birdkeeping hobby.
Of these, the
importation of seed was the most immediately important because seed supplies had become
extremely limited during the war, and many people had been compelled to give up the hobby
through this shortage. Estimates of birdkeepers before the war was put at 560,000, and by
the end of hostilities in Europe this had shrunk to about 140,000. Interestingly, some
senior delegates from the meeting had pre-arranged a meeting on this subject later that
day with the Minister of Food, and it was to their advantage to be able to say that they
were a National body representing all birdkeepers! A relatively short time later another
sub-committee was in discussion with the railway companies concerning the shipment of
birds in show cages to and from shows, and their care in the hands of the railway
Naturally the meeting also
had to decide what the subscription rates should be, and the proposal was accepted that
CBSs should affiliate at 10/6 (52p), and Specialist Societies at one guinea
(£1.05). The first President elected was Mr Haddon (probably better known to readers from
the Haddon Trophy for Best-in-Show at the old National Exhibition).
Over its 70-year life the NCA
has had its ups and downs, but has stayed true to the principles and objectives of that
first Council. It has tried to help birdkeepers wherever it can, and at one stage used to
hold seminars at the old National, with both national and foreign speakers
over the 3-day show. It would be difficult to do that with the current one-day event, but
the dialogue with Government is just as necessary and maybe even more important now
as it ever was. And the threats to Birdkeeping never entirely disappear.