National Cat Club - Notice of Meeting (1890)

ArtifactNational Cat Club -Notice of Meeting - to Mr. Charles H.Lane
Date19th December, 1890
ConnectionNational Cat Club
Mr. Charles H. Lane
Cat Licensing
CollectionThe Harrison Weir Collection
DescriptionSmall notarised NCC Postcard, 3.0 x 4.75 inches
Brief HistoryLegislation was promoted in 1890 for the licencing of both cats and dogs. A meeting was called by the Secretary of the National Cat Club for the purpose of reading the proposed legislation and for giving an official response from NCC members back to the legislators.
AcquisitionPurchased 2014, by John Smithson for The Harrison Weir Collection.

National Cat Club - Notice of Meeting - to Mr Charles H. Lane. Postmarked December 19, 1890.
Photos: Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

In many respects, this small postcard is very indicative of the Victorian era, in that it is succinct and seeks to deal with an immediate issue of significance to cat fanciers in an efficient and prompt way.

The issue, which was proposed legislation from the House, for the licencing of both dogs and cats, was, as you would expect, a topic which attracted a huge response from dog and cat owners and fanciers throughout the United Kingdom. It was invariably viewed as not only just another way for the Government to raise yet another tax, but also as an invasion of personal choice and as a slight on the 'services' provided by both dogs and cats, to society in general.

The debate raged openly in the popular press of the day, who invariably lampooned the whole idea with mocking cartoons and images of dogs and cats in the service of mankind, as rescuers, and faithful ratters.

This card is notable in that it divulges the processes followed by the National Cat Club, by the use of a pre-printed card, which the Secretary simply fills in to notify the date and place of meeting, and the topic to be discussed. You will note that the card is postmarked 19th December and that the meeting was called for the 20th December. At that time, postal delivery to all homes was twice daily, so there was never any doubt that a letter posted in the morning of that day would not be delivered that same afternoon. (Oh, how we wish that were the case today!)

The card is signed by the then acting Secretary of the National Cat Club and notifies the recipient that the paper will be read by Mr. J. J. Gardner, who was himself, at one time, an acting Secretary of The National Cat Club. The addressee in this case, Mr. Charles H. Lane, was member of the Club and later served on the Committee. This is the same Charles Lane who was a prominent cat fancier; a cat, cavie, rabbit and dog judge; author of Dogs and Doggy People and Rabbits, Cats & Cavies, the latter of which he dedicated to Harrison Weir.

Although small, this card is the earliest original official documentation in the collection sourced from the National Cat Club.

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