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The Joe Murphy Column

Firstly belated Christmas Greetings to all readers of my column, unfortunately I did not send down my special greetings for the Christmas edition of the paper in time.

I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my family as now the grandchildren are all starting to grow up.

Old Pigeon Clock

Received a couple of emails from Stewart Lawrie, who wrote, ‘Hi Joe, first of all can I say I was sorry to read that you had suffered a stroke ...hopefully you are well on the road to full recovery and fitness. I mentioned in my mail of about 6 weeks ago that I had contacted the Edinburgh Peoples Museum that I had an old Jundes pigeon timing clock that they may be interested in having as part of Edinburgh's social history with the sport of pigeon racing. They have replied that they have very little artefacts in connection with the sport and would like to see the clock and possibly add it to their collection ...hopefully I may be able to give them an insight into the sport and it's place in our history. I explained by its construction it’s anti tamper mechanism and how it recorded times etc. Plus they had no idea how popular the sport of pigeon racing used to be in Edinburgh. Sometime in the future they may possibly put together information and artefacts of sport in general in Edinburgh and pigeon racing may feature in this exhibition. To give an understanding of the sport and it's place in Edinburgh social history (which is what the Heritage Museum is about) I spent a fascinating quick tour of the museum storage facility when I handed over the clock ...from wooden drainage pipes ...items your granny used to have in the home to the large bronze pigeon statues that used to be located at the end of London Road junction with Leith Walk. They got stolen but are now in storage. Guided tours can be booked online which takes about an hour once a month. Once I get all info together I will let you know; I don't want to saturate it with too much detail so hopefully it will be of interest and use. I agreed to attempt to scribe information on pigeon racing for them. They were also keen to get information on the clocks owner which I have approached the family about. As I advised earlier I would send you a copy of what I sent to the City of Edinburgh Heritage and Arts Division of Museum and Galleries, as a result of them accepting the pigeon clock I had into their collection ?.they only have a few old certificates and a couple of pigeon paintings in their artefacts collection on pigeon racing. Plus a stuffed doo! They had asked me to give them an outline of the sport (which I have not included in this mail as its common knowledge to anyone who knows the sport) they also required some information on the clock and how it functioned and if possible some information on its owner and finally some information / history on the Edinburgh Premier of which the clock owner was a lifelong member. I have tried to keep all this as brief as possible and it has to be understood when reading it, it is for their information and records. Hopefully sometime in the future they will do an exhibition on hobbies / sport in Edinburgh and pigeon racing will be included.

Subject.... Edinburgh Premier Pigeon Club

The club was founded in 1933 and is still in existence with currently 12 plus lofts. The members still compete for trophies from this early era, some trophies being having been donated by the City of Edinburgh Council. Initially the basketting of pigeons and setting clocks for races appears to have been undertaken in the Waverly station. It was not until after the war that the club obtained the use of premises at Huntley Street Canonmills, a basement area that had been used by the Air Raid Wardens during the war. The club remained at these premises until the late 70's. From there they moved to a pavilion in Redbraes Park then to The Polish Club in Great King Street from there to The Mary Allen Community Centre in West Pilton and are now based at The Navy Club in Rodney Street. The club was at its strongest in the 60’s with over 60 members, with a birdage of nearly 1000 pigeons in some races competing in Midlothian Federation. During this period presentation diner dances where held in venues such as the Leith Assembly Rooms to accommodate the attendance numbers. In late 1960's the club held pigeon shows that were open to all members of the British pigeon fancy. As these shows proved popular it was decided in 1971 by the then club officials to found The Edinburgh International Charity Show. These shows continued until 2010 raising many 1000’s for the nominated charity which was ‘The Scottish War Blinded’. The show had 3 venues, The Waverly Market, the Assembly Rooms in George Street and finally The Brunton Halls in Musselburgh. During its history the club has had many members from all walks of life and occupations with many notable pigeon performances being achieved by its members in Federation and open competitions. Finally I would like to wish the members of the Edinburgh Premier all the best for the future ? a club with a long and proud history. 

Subject ... Jundes Pigeon Clock

His model of clock was manufactured in Germany in the 1930's and retailed by R Hudson of Manchester. It was purchased second hand prior to the war by the owner R Jack and used by him until 1993. The clock has a typical design of clock face that is used to set and wind the mechanism, but internally time is recorded more accurately by dials that indicated hours, minutes and seconds. Times are recorded on a paper roll that is threaded between an ink pad and striker plate which is activated by turning the external key. The pigeon’s race ring is inserted into a thimble which is then inserted into a chamber of the chain like drum located on the top of the clock mechanism. Every time the clock is struck the drum revolves by one chamber. The clock and drum mechanism are encased in a wooded box which has an aperture to insert the thimble and the drum turning / striking key. The enclosing wooden box is lined with thin lead to prevent magnetic interference ? when the lid of the box is opened there is a mechanism which punctures the paper indicating that the clock has been opened. There is also a dial on the right hand side of the clock face that moves if the clock receives excessive movement / shaking; all these functions are to indicate if the clock has been tamper with.

Subject ... the clocks owner R (Bobby) Jack

Bobby was born in 1903 and kept pigeons from the early 1930's at a loft in the Canonmills railway goods yard located just off Warriston Road where the family resided. In 1949 the pigeons where moved to the back garden of the new family home in Boswall Terrace. Bobby was one of the founder members of the Edinburgh Premier Pigeon Club which he remained an active member of until his passing in 1993. Bobby worked as a crane driver at Granton harbour for 44 years and during the war years his occupation was classified as reserved, he became an Air Raid Warden. Bobby still kept his pigeons during these dark days supplying pigeons to the National Pigeon Service to be used as messenger pigeons.
Bobby's family recall one instance from the Canonmills era when a pigeon was timed by Bobby’s brother having flown from France in the National Rennes race; Bobby was at work at Granton Harbour and his daughter was sent to advise him the good news much to the cheering of his workmates as they all had a wager on the pigeon. Bobby was of the 'old school' and a gentleman of the sport. Attached is a photo from 1983 depicting Bobby receiving a gift at the Edinburgh Premiers 50th year anniversary. There is no chance of my doing you out a job 'scribing' Joe best regards Stewart Lawrie’.

Bobby Jack recieving his award

Special Thank You

I received a lovely email from John Wiseman who wrote ‘Hi Joe, I've just received a copy of Squills 2019 and would like to thank you for producing an excellent article on my pigeon ‘Balnuith Dreims’ and let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed your company when you visited the ‘Funny Farm’. You are genuinely a true doo man with the best interests of the pigeons at heart and you are welcome back here at any time! I do hope that you are now keeping well as I had heard that you had been unwell recently? All the best for the future yours in sport, John Wiseman’

SNFC Good Birds

Bellside Jeanie

Andy Eadie of Wishaw replied to my request for information on his SNFC Silver Award winner blue bar hen ‘Bellside Jeanie’ (see photograph) SU11L 16515 in 2013 she won 7th section E 106th open from Ypres a distance of 442 miles from an entry of 2356 birds (she also won 4th section 9th open Lanarkshire federation and was 4th Lanarkshire Social Circle) In 2015 she won 4th section E 33rd open SNFC Alencon 563 miles timed at 22 49 hours being 16 hours 4 minutes on the win and recorded a velocity of 979 from an entry of 1416 birds (she also won 1st Lanarkshire Social Circle) This year 2018 she was again sent to Ypres with 433 members sending 2541 birds and she won 27th section E 223rd open recording a velocity of 1100. Andy has kindly also supplied me with some information on her breeding and how she obtained her name. ‘Bellside Jeanie’ was named after Jim Cullen’s wife Jean who like yourself Joe has went through the mill and is well on the road to recovery. I have visited Jim’s home on a number of occasions and each time I have viewed his pigeons I have been of the opinion that they are better than the previous time I saw them. There are not many fanciers who have the ability to get pigeons to reproduce their own like and when I left him yesterday he gifted me with a mate to pair up with ‘Bellside Jeanie’ and I have no doubt it will click. Her breeding details are as follows; she is bred down from the best bloodlines of Jim Cullen and Andrew Deans and Jim Donaldson. Her sire was a blue bar cock Su10L 9091 who is currently our No1 Pre-Potent Cock and his sire blue bar SU98L21117  (old ring) was gifted to myself and George Kelly along with a blue bar hen SU08L 11918 whose parents won 8 SNFC Diplomas between them for Jim Cullen. His family of pigeons go way back to the 1980s with the only introduction from the late Andrew Deans of Bothwell. The dam of ‘Bellside Jeanie" was a late bred direct from Jim Donaldson's double section winner in the SNFC who won 1st section G from Falaise flying 601 miles and 1st section G from Alencon flying 631 miles. This ‘Blue Distance Family’ have been cultivated and tested over the years and are also responsible for ‘Blue Expected’ winner of 13th section E 42nd open Ancenis. 13th section E 60th open Alencon; 13th section E 57th open Alencon, 14th section E  132nd open Alencon; 5th section E 18th open Falaise; 26th section 104th open Falaise; 10th section E 40th open Tours; 89th open Andrezel; 4th section E 27th open Reims; 2nd section E 22nd open Ypres; 6th section 104th open Ypres; 7th section E 106th open Ypres; 13th section E 42nd open Ancenis and finally 4th section E 33rd open Alencon 536 miles timed at 22:48 velocity 979 and the biggest thrill I have every had was timing in "Bellside Jeanie". This year she goes one better and wins her Silver Award for Meritorious Performance and 2nd ‘SILVER’ award for Eadie & Kelly partnership. The adrenalin rush and level of experience I have gained from Jim Cullen is truly outstanding as without his pigeons it wound not have been possible to achieve. When the ‘Going gets Hard’ very rarely do these ‘Cullen Pigeons fail’. You take care now Joe and remember that your family and friends have also had a fright. May I wish you and Kevin all the best with the birds in 2019 yours in sport, Andy Eadie’

Silver Award

Sending Best Wishes

My dear friend Wilf Flockhart of Tranent phoned enquiring about my health and he also informed me that the breeder of his good hen ‘Something Special’ John Davidson of Kilwinning has informed him that his brother Tom has also taken a stoke and is more severe than I. His daughter Loraine comes in and reads the BHW out to him every week and they enjoy my column and Wilf knows it will be a bit of a boost to Tom if I mention him in my article. Wilf was also telling me that he lost his 14 year old dog ‘Bonnie’ this year and he misses her so much as she was such a large part of his life. He remembered how she informed him his National winner was home. Wilf was sitting watching the Gladiators on the TV when he received a phone call from Dennis Dall of Ladybank informing him the birds were in the south section of Scotland and he had better start watching for the Reims birds. No sooner had Dennis gone off the phone and ‘Bonnie’ jumped down from Wilf’s knee and ran over to the back window and started barking. Wilf got up and looked out to see what was bothering her and low and behold there was his national bird was on the loft. He ran out and timed it in and named it his 1st SNRPC Reims 2006 winner ‘Gladiator’. Wilf also won a Gold Award with his pigeons and named his winning cock ‘Coalneuk King’. I was going to add a photograph of Wilf with his ‘Something Special’ hen but it has not arrived as I compile this article however when it does I will add it to my next column.

Wilf with Something Special

Joe’s Joke

Secrets to a long happy marriage?

An old woman was sipping on a glass of wine while sitting on the patio with her husband, and says. ‘I Love you so much, and I don’t know how I could ever live without you’. Her husband asks her ‘Is that YOU or the Wine talking’ She replies ‘Its me ?talking to the wine’.

Please continue to keep the news flowing;

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© Compiled by Joe Murphy