The history of retrievers from 1903—1950

The history of retrievers compiled from the scrapbooks of H. Reginald Cook

The Flatcoated Retriever Society has the scrapbook journals of H. Reginald Cooke on indefinite loan. We understand that in 1996, Amelia Jessel approached Judi Seall to see if she could prepare collages for a display at Crufts’ “Working Gun Dog Forum’. Subsequently, Reginald Cooke’s Grandson, Randle Cooke, gave permission to edit the journals into a book which was titled “The History of Retrievers 1903 — 1950”. The forward to the book was written also by Randle Cooke.

It is understood that the information in the book was taken from the journals that he compiled, and the book mirrors the journals which commence in 1903. At that time Mr Cooke’s Riverside Kennels were being acclaimed as one of the most outstanding, producing Dual Champions from the start. The final chapter is for 1951, the year of his death, and the intervening years provide a glimpse of the life of an active and successful field trialler.

Part of the Forward to the book read:

“The book will be of much specialised interest both to Field Trial and Show exhibitors of the Flatcoated Retriever breed. More generally, it provides a remarkable picture of contemporary sporting life at the turn of the century — dare one say of a happier bygone age. I doubt if my Grandfather ever imagined that the contents of the journals he kept for so many years of his long life would ever be shared with successive generations of Flatcoat lovers. It would have given him immense pleasure to know that, through Judi Seall’s initiative and efforts, this will now be so.”

The official launch of the book took place at the Game Fair at Shuttleworth Park, Biggleswade in July 2001.

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