Willowbeach Years 1950 - 1959.


Its long been said that Lady Luck plays a major roll in every ones life story, and for myself no truer words could have been spoken And so to the beginning. The name Willowbeach came from the house named the Willows at Boston Road Holbeach, and the house got its name from the two willow trees at the front and rear of the property. In 1952 we moved to the village of Peakirk and this remained the family home till my Mother moved to North Lincolnshire for a short time before moving back to Deeping St James just a few miles from Peakirk.

The Fifties started at Holbeach moved onto Peakirk then Canterbury and Frimley and finally ended back at Peakirk

Peter Left. Don Right

Who became known as the Clifton Boys

Two brothers that have always remained the greatest friends, even when one sometimes pushed the other to the extreme.

My first dog came with my step-dad Chris when my Mother re married after the loss of the father that I never new. It was a racing Greyhound named Johnnie that, when raced always came in second, that was until Chris sold him and then he started winning. The Kennel Willowbeach  came from the home in Boston Road Holbeach named the Willows.
it was also the home that I started my first business. Way back in the fifties knitting was a necessity hobby for most mothers and it resulted in our household have what seemed to me a large unwanted stockpile of surplus cast offs. So I sold it all and this cash flow survived for some considerable time before it was discovered missing.

My parents purchased their first Pembroke the red white Annabella of Rhinog from Miss Blount in 1951. This was followed by the sable Alsatian bred by Mrs Steede, from Norman Cross nr Peterborough. Both Clodagh and Annabella were campainged by me at all the local shows, the very first being Boston Canine Society. In those days Junior handling classes were known as children's handling classes and that is when I decided that this was the life for me. Thankfully my Mother who had not been allowed to follow her dream in life ensured that I had every opportunity to which Chris gave full support.

From Holbeach,

To Willowbeach Kennels, Peakirk.

My Parents decided that in order to have more dogs they would need to move and in 1952 we moved from Holbeach to the lovely village of Peakirk, with its old stone houses, quaint church and village green.
The Peakirk home was originally a pub the Boat Inn and two of the upstairs bedrooms had in those days been the village dance hall.
Peakirk suffered from the infamous late August 1912 floods and the photo shows rather appropriately named Boat Inn on the left. The railway level crossing is in the very far distance on the right.


Photo  URL: https://www.peterboroughimages.co.uk/peakirk-floods-1912/

In 1957 Peakirk became the second home of Sir Peter Scotts Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust, and this backed onto my parent gardens. It was sold in 1990 renamed Peakirk Water Fowl Gds and from 1991 was run by the East of England Agricultural Society until its closure in 2001.

Shortly after moving n my parents purchased what seemed at the time an enormous fridge with an icebox which led me to another business venture. Purchasing from the village shop a couple bottles of different flavour corona pop I entered the lollipop business. A thinly diluted lolly sold at a penny and undiluted 2p and all I had to do was keep the fridge running flat out on super cold and the money rolled in. Well that was until a couple of months later when my mother did not go into business (it was going to work really, but she always referred she was going to business) a little boy knocked at the door and asked her for a penny lolly. Mother replied we do nor sell lollies to which the little boy replied Peter does, and so ended business number two. My Dad was in the fruit and veg business and brought home empty orange boxes that he stored in one of the enormous rooms we had empty in the house, in fact the room ended up full from floor to ceiling. Later on he decided to use them in kennel repairs only to find that upon removing the first few of the first row a large empty space. So ended business number two, yes I had chopped them up and sold firewood around the village. Maybe my inspiration for self employment came from James Arthur Lewin Born to a Peakirk based shoemaker in 1868, James worked the local land before joining a local “sugar boiling” business from where he branched out to make his own confectionery from which he became known as at the “The Rock King” at the princely age of 19, which was the same age that I did.


This was an early connection with a Pembroke breeder of today.

Roseleigh Andromeda purchased by my parents in 1954, from Mr Fred Hooke in Peterborough.

Fred was the father of the well known and most respected Pembroke breeder Sue Harrison prefix Haresfoot.

Peterborough Canine Society dog show 1955 held at St Marys Church Hall, Peterborough. Peter first on right showing the brindle and white Cardigan Lisaye Radium. Lady in white coat Joan Phillips, Secretary of Peterborough was Mrs M Freeman who later became the secretary of the East of England Championship dog show when it moved to the present site.

Photo 2 taken about 1959 at the East Midland Canine Society show held at the Peterborough show grounds Fox Hound Rings Eastfield Road, Peterborough. This was the home of the very first open show run by the present day East of England Ch show in the early 60s. 

Photo are Mrs Stainer from Edith Weston and myself.

School days over and so to work at Kenfield Hall Petham near Canterbury.

On leaving school my parents gave all the help and support in my pursuit of a dream.
This took me to Kenfield Hall, Petham near Canterbiry the country estate of Mrs O'Brian who bred Alsatians, and Bedlingtons. Kenfield Hall can be found in the M.C.C museum at the home of cricket Lords

URL: https://apps.lords.org/lords/tours-and-museum/museum/searchthecollections/ToursMuseumSearchForm?field_name=ObjectName&Search=painting&Category=Museum&start=48&view=gridview


URL: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4966927


It was at this time my intention of becoming a professional handler, so what better place to start than being a junior kennel boy in an Alsatian kennel. Watching Upstairs Downstairs reminded me of my time at Kenfield Hall for living condition and staff that included Kennel maid, kennel manager, cook, housekeeper, maid, gardener/chauffeur and me. Wages five shillings a week (25p) plus keep, Staff quarters did not have TV or radio so one provided ones own entertainment,by doing the two mile walk to the local pub, but with a pint of bitter costing a shilling, two pints a week was my limit. Sadly the promise of handling never materialized until I handed in my notice whereupon they entered a young Alsatian for me to handle at Canterbury show. This young bitch had one ear up and one half up so I turned her to face the other way and let my thumb pull the ear into a upright position and got second place. While they tried to persuade me to stay even Mrs O'Brian drove me to the station hitting two cars without stopping in the Jaguar Mk V11, I decided the time had come to venture on in search of fields of gold and dreams.
Kenfield Hall became a Care Home and today I understand its undergone conversion back to a large country house for a private client including reinstating original features and constructing new Orangery. The Queen Anne period house was renewed to it’s former glory with modern features and additional bathrooms inserted.


In 1956 at Three Counties Championship handling for my parents Lisaye Rachel won the Kennels and my very first Reserve C.C, While Rachel never gained her title she went on at Birmingham National to take a second Res C.C to the great bitch of her time Mrs Roberts Ch Gleghornie Blackthorn in 1957.


Biggin Hall. The Family Seat of the late Mrs Watts-Russell and owner of the Banhaw Pembroke Corgis. Went shooting with Chris a number of times on the Estate. Also took Mrs Watts-Russell to a number of Ch Shows.

Photos  Banhaw Brampton Stud Card. Stud Fee £6 6 Shillings.

winner of two Res C.C's. Owned by Mrs Watts-Russell and sired a litter for my Parents at a stud fee of six pounds six shillings.


Looking back at the decade the country said goodbye in 1950 to petrol rationing, and in 1953 Children rejoiced as sweet rationing ended. This was followed by food rationing ended at midnight on 4 July 1954, and restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were lifted.

The 50s did see another five month period of petrol rationing during the Suez crisis in 1957. Wages rose from £7 pounds a week at the start of the decade ending in 1959 at £13. A new Jaguar was priced at £1800.00, and Harold Macmillan, told the nation, most have never had it so good", which actually was very true.