Holmwood Trixie (1892)


Photo: W.Field, Putney, Illustrated London News, 28th October, 1893. Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection


There can be little doubt about the grand reputation that Miss Gertrude Jay built for herself and her blue Persian cats in the decade that she so lovingly devoted her time to this hobby.

The results of her achievements in that short time speak volumes about her personally, including but not limited to her ability to recognise the qualities inherent in bloodlines; how to weave them to her cats pedigrees, all the time taking into account, the layering of phenotypical and genotypical advantages by always having a 'longer term view'. These are qualities rare in breeders even today.

In addition to this, her care and concern for the presentation of her valued pets was paramount, and in her even-handed dealings with other breeders, she retained a wide popularity, standing apart and away from controversy during periods of considerable political strife within the fancy. As a judge of Blues, she was woman of untainted, exemplary repute.

Closer to the end of her involvement in cats and other fancies, the portrait of Miss Jay given here was published in Our Cats magazine, August 11, 1900, accompanied by this snippet about her and her cats, which endorses our statements made of her: -

"One of the most popular appointments to the newly-organised committee of the N.C.C. has been that of Miss Jay, a young lady whose enthusiasm and sympathy for cats is only equal to her capacity in managing them. The Holmwood cats are always well to the fore in the Prize Lists of the principal shows, and although we cannot go to the lengths of an American contemporary and inform our readers that on account of their excellence her cats are debarred from competition, we can safely say that some of Miss Jay's Blues are very near perfection."
Miss Gertrude Jay - Breeder of the 'Holmwood' Blues
Image: 'Our Cats' Magazine, August 11, 1900
Archive of The Harrison Weir Collection

Such is how she and her cats were viewed at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century.

Accordingly, it behoves us to check for references to Miss Jay in the historical writings if Miss Simpson, the first overview of which provides an excellent overall historical context as well as a selection of relevant details of about cats and her abilities.


'Trixie' was born in September of 1892. Her sire being 'Lindfield Bootles' (at one time owned by Miss Frances Simpson), and her dam was Mrs. Foote's 'Fury'. She became the property of Miss Gertrude Jay, who had established a cattery a year earlier in 1891.

        The Friar, Blue
    Lindfield Bootles, Blue
    |   Lily, Blue
Holmwood Trixie, Sep-1892, Blue, F
    |   Unknown

Of her owner, Miss Jay; Frances Simpson makes the following observations:

"Miss Gertrude Jay started cats in 1891 and her name will always be connected with blues. Nothing has ever been exhibited to compare with her wonderful female, 'The Mighty Atom', as regards beauty and shape of head. This cat, now, alas! no more, swept the board wherever it was shown. Twice she carried out the highest honours for Best Cat in the Show at the Crystal Palace. It is true that this grand specimen lacked the orange eyes, but no judge could pass over such a perfect type of cat, despite her one fault, and thus 'The Mighty Atom' reigned supreme. 'Trixie' and 'Doris', two of Miss Jay's noted blues, have also both won Specials for the Best Cat in the Show, at the Crystal Palace. Miss Jay is fortunate in having some descendants of these precious cats in the luxurious catteries at 'Holmwood' (of which an illustration is given). Many lovely blues may be seen revelling in the well-appointed houses set apart at the end of the long terrace for their special use. Miss Jay, about a year ago retired from the cat fancy, and withdrew her name from the two (Ed: national) clubs; but she is still a Vice-President of the Blue Persian Cat Society, and often acts as judge. Her name always draws a good entry, and, as a well-known fancier once remarked to me, 'You can be sure of getting your money's worth, when Miss Jay has the handling of the classes'."

Miss Gertrude Jay's 'Holmwood' cattery.
Photo: W.Field, Putney. From The Book of The Cat (1903) by Frances Simpson
Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection


Miss Jay's first major win with a home-bred cat was with her blue female. 'Holmwood Trixie' who took top honours in Longhairs at the Crystal Palace at show in 1893. The photograph on the previous page and the illustration above are taken from published reports of that show from 'The Illustrated London News' and 'The Graphic' respectively. The first paragraph of the report in 'The Illustrated London News' read as follows:

"CRYSTAL PALACE CAT SHOW - At the twenty-fifth annual cat show, opened at the Crystal Palace on Oct.17, the highest honours were gained by a beautiful blue Persian named 'Trixie,' belonging to Miss Jay, Holmwood, Putney Hill, which gained the Cat Club's gold medal, two silver medals, first prize in its class, and four special prizes."

The following are a selection of excerpts from the report in 'The Graphic':

"CATS AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE - The twenty-fifth of the Crystal Palace Company's National Cat Shows was held this week. It proved to be as successful as any of its predecessors, there being nearly 600 entries. The fixture appears to be becoming exceedingly popular, and it promises too, to become a useful institution, as it has already led to the establishment and formation of a cat stud-book. According to Mr. L. Wain, the President of the National Cat Club, the careful breeding of cats in the future will not only tend to the elimination of weakness of constitution, but will also produce a greater certainty of temperament in our feline domestic pets…..

"The present fashionable colour for cats is blue, and long-haired cats are preferred to short. ..

"We append the names of a few prize-winners, and we may say that the honours of the show were borne off by a beautiful blue Persian named 'Trixie,' belonging to Miss Jay, Holmwood, Putney Hill, which gained the Cat Club's gold medal, two silver medals, first prize in its class, and four special prizes."


Early in 1894, Miss Jay chose as a mate for her 'Trixie' the beautiful 'Blue Boy The Great of Islington', whose pedigree was largely based on a close doubling back on 'Old Jumbo', which she had clearly judged as the strength behind 'Bootles' the sire of her 'Trixie'. This combination also brought into the mix, 'Lady Bloo' behind 'Jumbo II' and the foundation blue lines of 'Mater' which say behind the dam of 'Blue Boy the Great' through 'Farnham Royal Silver'.

It was an astute move, and from this breeding came an exceptionally even litter of quality, born March 18, 1894; containing as it did, the females 'Holmwood Doris' (NCC:1694) and 'Holmwood Trixie II' (NCC:1693); and the males 'Holmwood Yorkshire Lad' (NCC:1695); 'Tovil Boy' (CCR: v1) and 'Birkdale Boy' (NCC:1715).

'Birkdale Boy' was either sold or placed with Miss E. Southam, of Birkdale, Lancashire; 'Tovil Boy' became the property of Mrs. C. Hill, of Tovil House, Maidstone. 'Yorkshire Lad' was retained by Miss Jay and successfully exhibited winning 2nd at Cleckheaton, 1st at Malton, 1st at Pickering, 3rd at Halifax, and 1st and Special at Woodstock in 1894. Miss Jay also retained both females, which were shown as a brace at the Crufts Show in 1895, winning the first in that class and gold medal held in the Harrison Weir Collection, which bears the year and both their names.

'Doris' would ultimately prove herself to be invaluable, firstly as a brood queen, and as dam of the blue male 'Holmwood Kerr' (CCR: v2) by 'Patrick Blue' and the blue female 'Holmwood Minnie' (NCC:3055), by 'Don Juan II; but additionally, as a successful show exhibit.

Her son 'Kerr' in his time, would ultimately sire a fourth generation 'Holmwood' male, named 'Lionel'. 'Doris' in the meantime went on to duplicate her dam's success by taking out best cat in show at the Crystal Palace, cementing her breeder's growing reputation! But more was yet to come.

In 1896, Miss Jay bred her foundation queen 'Trixie' to Mrs. C. Hill's 'Blue Ruin II' and from this union, was born the blue female known as 'Holmwood Mighty Atom' (NCC:3040) a two time winner of best cat in show at the Crystal Palace and considered by many to be the best blue Persian bred to date. Miss Jay had successfully set the benchmark so high, notably with the conformation and presentation of her cats, that few could imagine ever matching it, or even getting close to it.

'Holmwood Mighty Atom' was one of those rare cats who was both top show cat and a brood queen. In due course, she gave birth to 'Holmwood Lionel' (CCR) born November 4, 1898; when bred to her half-sister's son, 'Holmwood Kerr'. This breeding doubled on Mis Jay's foundation queen 'Trixie' while successfully bringing together, the lines of 'Patrick Blue', 'Blue Boy the Great of Islington' and 'Blue Ruin II' in one pedigree.

"Holmwood Lionel' was therefore in many respects the culmination of Miss Jay's breeding career, a fourth generation 'Holmwood' of impeccable lineage, from a cattery with an unmatched show record for Blues.


'Holmwood Trixie'
Photo: W.Field, Putney. Illustrated London News October 28, 1893
Archives of The Harrison Weir Collection


Miss Jay's Blue Persian "TRIXIE" Aged Thirteen Months
Winner of the National Cat Club's gold medal, besides two silver medals and five other prizes.

Illustration that appeared in the October 21, 1893 edition of The Graphic.
Archives of The Harrison Weir Collection
In Summary:

It could be fairly stated that Miss Gertrude Jay was the first recognised celebrity 'superstar' among breeders of Blue Persians. Her astute decision-making and careful matching of pedigrees of gave her results on the show bench that were the envy of most. But no-one could begrudge her, these successes, which everyone knew had been gained fairly and in a spirit of dedication to her cats, unmatched by many. Her dignified character and manner, and her transparent fairness of mind made her one of the most popular judges of Blues, and although she ultimately stopped breeding, she judged for a few more years before retiring from the Fancy. Her example was a model that others then attempted to emulate, and in this regard, she left the fancy a better place than she had found it.


  1. The Graphic October 21, 1893
  2. The Illustrated London News October 28, 1893
  3. The Book of The Cat (1903) by Frances Simpson.
  4. Our Cats Magazine, August 11, 1900.
  5. The Cat Club Register (Vols 1-5)
  6. The National Cat Club Studbook and Register (Vols.1-5)
  7. Text © John G. Smithson
  8. Photos and quotations as per sources quoted.

Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).


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