WATS


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Wirral Alsatian Training Society was first registered with the Kennel Club in 1953 having been a branch of the British Alsatian Society. After twelve months the club decided to make a break from the B.A.A. This enabled them to open their doors to all other breeds, run more than one show a year and to take independent control over its own finances.

Mr. Len Moore (President) researched the history and published his "Yesteryear at Wirral A.T.S." in the club magazine in the early months of 1989. Below are some of the things he had to say.

Amongst the founders were two of the Society’s Vice- Presidents- Mr. Ted Wanstall and Mrs. Eileen Wanstall (nee Spencer) who have assisted me in my research. Ted was the Society’s first head trainer, whilst Eileen served the Society as Secretary in our formative years. Another driving force was Muriel Crook, who was also deeply involved in the founding of the Guide Dog movement in Wallasey long prior to its former Chief Constable of Birkenhead, who recognised the value of trained fogs in society. Early committee meetings were held in the Half Way House, Birkenhead over a pint, with dogs lying around the floor. The evening training took place in the Congregational Church, Oxton Road and anybody who has been in the hall would frown on it as suitable venue today.

The Society shortly before breaking from the British Alsatian Association, took tenancy of Shaftsbury Boy’s Club ground, Borough Road, Birkenhead. Parking presented no problem, as most handlers walked or travelled by bus to training: only a few handlers had a car, or a junior handler, complete with three dogs used to arrive in a motorcycle and sidecar, which caused a stir when it caught fire one Sunday afternoon!

Training was held on a Sunday afternoon and a training fee of 1 shilling (five pence) was charged. The treasurer had no real bank balance problem: indeed, the assets of the society would hardly have purchased a round of drinks at today’s prices! Catering was carried out by a few stalwarts (as today) and our few cups and saucer were kept in a small locked box in the pavilion.


Early Club History