International Gloster Breeders Association

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Origins of the Gloster Canary

A germ of an idea 100 years ago led to the world wide following of this diminutive type canary 

Origins of the Gloster Canary

A germ of an idea 100 years ago led to the world wide following of this diminutive type canary 

1919 - The Beginning
Most successful things in life originate in a very humble way, and the GLOSTER CANARY was no exception. The very first steps in the creation of the GLOSTER goes back to the years after the end of the First World War in 1919.
1920 - Mrs Rogerson
In 1920 Mrs Rogerson from Gloucestershire, a lady with a firm belief that “all things that were small were beautiful.” became very interested in canaries and in particular the Crest and Crest bred birds. She very strongly disliked all the excessive amount of long uncontrolled feather that this type of canary had and felt that if she could breed a canary that was only half the size of the existing Crest and which had a much smaller and neater feather, then such a canary would be far more attractive to look at.
J.H. Madagan
After much thought on the subject, she produced a breeding programme to commence her objective, purchased a few crested Roller canaries, and these were paired up to some very small borders obtained from a breeder J. H. Madagan
John McLay
While Mrs Rogerson was making her first attempt to breed a miniature Crested canary; in Scotland, John McLay a well known breeder and judge of Crested canaries, also started to breed a miniature of the popular Crested canary. John McLay’s idea was to use his smallest Crests and pair them up to the smallest borders that he could obtain.
A.W. Smith
While these two dedicated breeders were parenting this new “Type” canary, reports of what they were doing became known to the UK's best known canary fancier at the time, A.W. Smith, and he encouraged Mrs Rogerson and John McLay in their efforts and from time to time they exchanged breeding stock.
1925 - London National Show
Such was the progress made by Mrs Rogerson in her breeding success, she agreed to enter two of her miniature crests at 1925 London National Show. As these two canaries were completely different in appearance to the normal Crests, they were allocated a separate class of their own and were awarded first and second prize. This was the first time that this canary had been exhibited in public, and fanciers were able to see the birth of a completely new “Type” canary the foundation of which consisted of small crested rollers, small crests and the smallest “wee gems” the early border.
1928
These little chaps were shown for the first time at the Palace exhibition….A quote at the time "You will notice that the judge has placed first the bird which has the neatest and best crest, coupled with the best shape of body. Too much size is not wanted in this variety.”
1929
11 cocks and 12 hens were entered at the Palace show with both corona and consort in the same class. Mrs. Rogerson’s winning cock was described as being “wing marked with a dark shapely crest, good wings, and excellent quality with an even crest”. McLay’s runner up was “colour fed of good shape with a nice even crest, but scarcely the tight feather”. The leading hen was of “clear body, dark crest, good shape and quality with neat wings”.

The emphasis in those early days was on lightly marked crested birds and that ethos prevailed for many years.
1932
The Cheltenham based Gloster Fancy Canary Club (GFCC) was formed and provided patronage to the Palace show in the form of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Challenge Cup.
1934
24 Glosters were benched in two classes with Mrs. Rogerson still one of the exhibitors.
1936
The first patronage show of the GFCC was held with 41 entries in six classes. The first rule book was issued to members in 1932 for the sum of 3s. 6d (17p).
1939
The seventy first “Crystal Palace” event held with the Gloster section having 33 exhibits judged by J. McLay, and “every exhibit was a crest, with not a plainhead being benched”. Best cock was Mr. Burden and hen Mr. Langham
Officially Named Gloster Canary
Recognising Mrs Rogerson as the first fancier to create this new type of canary and living in Cheltenham, Gloucester, A. W. Smith advocated the bird be known as the GLOSTER Canary. The Crest variety being called CORONA and its normal head partner called CONSORT.
1946 - Post World War II Revival
Undoubtedly the fanciers who were mostly responsible for reviving the GLOSTER, post the Second World War in 1946 were Fred Bryant and his wife Vera. Today’s GLOSTER breeders owe a debt of gratitude to them for their efforts and skill in setting the early standards and establishing the GLOSTER as one of today’s premier “Type” canaries
1948
Records show that the Midland Gloster Fancy Canary Association (MGFCA) provided specials of 10s/6d (52p) for both best corona and best consort. but the GFCC were offering 10/- (50p) for best Gloster cock and best Gloster hen (I presume coronas) and 10/- for best consort cock and best consort hen
1949
Five classes had been provided - Gloster Corona Cock, Corona Hen, Consort Cock or Hen and 1948 bred Gloster Cock and 1948 bred Gloster Hen. The judge A.E. Huyton (Liverpool) had 66 Glosters in the five classes.

Familiar names exhibited - Bryant, Widdows, Norfield and Peckham. [Charlie Peckham was elected as the first president of the International Gloster Breeders Association (IGBA) in 1966]

The GFCC were offering 10/- (50p) for both Best Gloster Cock and Hen and 10/- for Best Consort Cock and Hen.
1953 - The formation of the S.G.F.C.C
The formation of the Southern Gloster Fancy Canary Club (SGFCC). The first meeting was held in Lewisham Town Hall. President Charlie Peckham, Vice President Fred Bryant, and secretary/treasurer Mr. J. C. Ricketts.
1968 Gloster Convention established
Formation of Gloster Convention – purpose to provide uniformity in the Gloster Fancy for Standard of Excellence and Show Cage, Panel Judges, Show Classification and Exhibitor Status. Comprising 2 Representatives per Gloster Club with 1 vote per club.
1970 - Standardised Cage Design & Colour
Mr Lockstone still had the original show cage designed by Mrs. Rogerson and that until 1940 the cages were painted in a variety of colours. “These looked terrible” he said. It was left to him to select a standard colour. He chose Brolac eau de nil which was still in use in 1970. The show cages in use in those early years had carrying holes (finger holes) in the top of the cages ranged from one hole like the Norwich to two holes; prior to the kidney shape that is now standard.

Rob Innes and Andy Early for providing information which helped in compiling this article.

Ref. Albert William Smith’s The Gloster Fancy Canary – c1958.

Ref. Norman Wallace, Cage & Aviary Birds, May 9th 2012 page 18 – Past Masters

Norman Wallace 31/3/20

Ref. J. A. Bracegirdle. History of the Gloster canary

Glosters 100 Progressive Years

Example 2020 Breed Comparative to Standard
1950 - Print of a Gloster Corona Publication Dorset House
1970 - Standard Gloster Corona Pictorial - MindJoot
2020 - Gloster Corona Variegated Buff - Alessema

Join the International Gloster Breeders Association

Formed in 1966 the world’s largest All-Gloster Society devoted to keeping, breeding, exhibiting and the overall welfare of Gloster Canaries.

Join the International Glosters Breeders Association and become an activate member of our community

Join the International Gloster Breeders Association

Formed in 1966 the world’s largest All-Gloster Society devoted to keeping, breeding, exhibiting and the overall welfare of Gloster Canaries.

Join the International Glosters Breeders Association and become an activate member of our community

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