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Foreign Bird League - the First 75 Years

The Foreign Bird League has produced a commemorative issue of Foreign Birds which has been sent to existing members. It is entitled 'Foreign Bird League - the First 75 Years' and presents a history of the Foreign Bird League by reproducing archive material along with a history of the FBL represented by noting lists of Founder Members, Officers and Members of Council and finally a comprehensive list of Awards for First Breedings of birds by FBL members.

There had always been a degree of doubt about the genesis of the FBL. It is now accepted that it started life as the Foreign Bird Exhibitors’ League in December 1932, to become the Foreign Bird League shortly after (the first magazine showing the new name was the May 1934 copy). However, the old Foreign Bird Club, which merged with the Avicultural Society around the time of the end of the First World War, had also started life as the Foreign Bird Exhibitors’ League in the latter years of the nineteenth century. So maybe there was the possibility of a case of rebirth rather than birth with the beginnings of the League. That may be reflected with the reproduction of an article detailing the beginnings of the FBL by the late Harry Underwood.There are 20 many colour illustrations, of two types. A number are of paintings by R.A. (Rex) Vowles who painted a number of illustrations for the magazine and also other birdkeeping journals including Cage Birds in the 1950s and 1960s. Very few, if any, of his original illustrations appear to have survived to this day. The others are photographs taken for the magazine by Dennis Avon.The front cover is a representation of the duo-tone covers of the 1960s using a copy of the engraved plates supplied to the League by an Australian member Mr I.G. Miller and incorporating the four printers’ primary colours which were used on an annual basis.  

Copies are available from the Foreign Bird League Secretary,

Bryan Reed, 4 St. Andrews Drive, Tividale, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 1PR

for GBP 7.00 including P&P.

The medal shown below was recently purchased and if anyone can give us any further information we would be most grateful.The hallmarks on the rear of the medal indicate that it was stamped in Birmingham in 1935 and is made of Sterling Silver. The makers mark is a little indistinct, but it appears to give the initials ACS. This indicates that the silversmith that produced the medal was Alexander Clark Silversmiths of Birmingham. In the March 1937 edition of Foreign Birds there was an advert for this company, who listed themselves as “official silversmiths to the Foreign Bird League”. The centre disc appears to be gold.

In the following year there is a report of 7 silver medals having been awarded to the exhibitors gaining the most points over the 1936/37 season’s Full Patronage Shows. Four of these were awarded to Dr. C.H. Macklin, two to G.E. Whitmore and one to Mrs. H.T. King. The one pictured below may be one of these, but we just are not sure.

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