The History of Medway Dog Training Club
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The club was formed in March 1959. Meetings were held fortnightly in a garden in Strood, classes were 2/6d per dog.
The first progress competition was held on 10th November 1959 and a small silver cup was purchased.
February 1960 there were enough members to split the classes into Beginners or Advanced. Classes were then alternate weeks. Annual membership was 5/-, then members paid 2/- each time they trained. New members could have up to 4 weeks at 2/6d before being required to pay membership.
The first progress award was discussed in February 1960 and awarded in June 1960.
By June 1960 the club had found its first hall, the Conservative Hall in Strood.
The first social trip was organised to Crufts at Olympia in February 1961.
During November 1961 the club moved to St Andrews Church Hall, New Road, Chatham. The hall cost 25/- per evening.
After the Annual General Meeting in April 1962 Ringcraft classes were introduced.
The Club held its first open obedience show on 20th October 1962. Classes were Beginners, Novice, Test A, Test B and Test C.
Prize money for the first three classes were:
In Test B and C the prizes were:
These shows were held annually and in October 1965 the show was held in Maidstone at the Agriculture Hall.
A dinner and dance was held on 9th December 1966 at the Veglio’s Motel, Maidstone. It was a five course dinner with a speaker afterwards – Mr Leonard Pearce – who later went onto a top job with the Kennel Club.
On the 15th May 1967, the club had increased members to require two nights at the church hall and to use room next door in the indoor cricket hall. Club nights where then Monday and Thursday.
In 1969 the club entered a float in the Chatham carnival.
The first of many road safety tests took place in September 1969. This involved a police officer, road safety instructor and a judge from the club. The tests were carried out on the roads with a written Highway code test. Two levels were tested – ordinary and advanced. All dogs had to pass their ordinary level before taking the advanced.
The club moved to the Casino Rooms, Rochester in December 1969. It had the hall from 7.00-10.00pm every Thursday evening. So the Ringcraft class had the centre of the hall all night. Rent was 30/- per hour.
The club’s first talk in took place in January 1970. Again these were held on a regular basis.
Unfortunately the Casino rooms, Rochester were opened by the Council on a four year lease, they were then building a new leisure centre in Chatham and the dogs were not invited, so therefore the club was on the move again, this time March 1972 to R.A.F.A. Hall, Dock Road, Chatham. The cost was £4 per hour and a much smaller hall.
The club moved again to a much bigger hall at the end of 1973. This was the Aurora Hotel, Brompton Road, Gillingham. The rent increased in September 1975 to £7.56 per evening.
Between September and December 1976 we hired the hall on Sundays to run our own instructors course. 18 members took part with an exam on the last Sunday, with outside trainers setting the test. 16 out of 18 members passed.
During 1976 the club entered a dog club league, which involved home and away matches with other clubs. It was decided the next year not to enter due to it being a financial drain on the club funds, as on match nights no other classes could train, so therefore, there was no money coming in on those nights. It also put a lot of pressure on those people in the team to travel quite a distance to the other clubs on another evening in the week.
In 1980 the club entered a team into a smaller league which again involved home and away matches but with more local clubs, Medway Working Trials and Obedience Club, Gravesend Dog Training Club and Kent county Association. We won this league.
The club was on the move again in August 1981 to the Irish Club, Manor Street, Gillingham. It was not a very suitable venue because it was 2 small halls on different levels, upstairs and downstairs, so the club felt split. We had stayed as long as we could at the Aurora, in the end with lots of building work being carried out as the Aurora became the King Charles Hotel.
The summer of 1982 saw the club supply some dogs to do a sponsored stay for the local Wisdom Hospice. The club made the money up to £400, which was presented to them, with all the dogs involved. The following year this amount was £460 and the club presented a shield to the dog which raised the most. In 1984, £610 was raised.
December 1982 enabled the club to move to a more suitable venue allowing the club’s classes to be together again at 41st Medway Scout Hall, Mafeking Road, Walderslade. Club nights were now Wednesdays.
In 1998 the club introduced puppy classes. This was for puppies between 4-6 months, who were fully vaccinated.
Towards the end of 1999, the club organised an evening at the Post House Hotel, Chatham to celebrate its 40 years. Two speakers were invited and photographs involving all aspects of the club from the previous 40 years were displayed.
The club was given three months notice in January 2001 to leave the current hall due to building work, so club nights were moved to Mondays and 19th March 2001 saw the club at DERAC Community Centre, Davis Estate, Chatham.
In 2003 the club decided to join the Kennel Club Good Citizenship Award Scheme. It involved training members towards Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. We held our first Bronze award on 23rd September 2003. The first Silver award was held in August 2004, with Gold another year later in 2005.
January 2006 saw the club on the move again to Chattenden Community Hall, Chattenden, still on Monday evenings, but two halls are available, allowing the puppies and more difficult dogs to be in the smaller hall and three classes being held in the larger hall.