The following extracts are taken from an article written by John Scott that was published in Cage and Aviary Birds on 18 February 1995.
“It may be difficult for younger canary fanciers to appreciate that until some 20-25 years ago, a high proportion of the entries at larger shows were carried to and from events by rail, unaccompanied by their owners. This was inevitable, because before the creation of the motorway system, it was not practicable to make long journeys by car within a reasonable time, so unless they used the railways, exhibitors were generally restricted to showing their birds locally.
. . . As north east England fanciers showing Roller and Lizard canaries, my father and later myself had to send our exhibits to shows by rail, and over a period of sixty years, only once was a problem encountered. Indeed, the very few incidents reported served to confirm the reliability of the system.
Even in rare instances when cases went astray, the inmates did not suffer. There was one occasion in the mid 1960s when London fancier, Fred Snelling*, despatched his Lizard Canaries to the Scottish National, and became worried when they did not return as expected, four days later. Enquiries revealed that his birds had never reached Edinburgh, and they were eventually located in their boxes at Newcastle-upon-Tyne where, after being given a drink of water by a porter, they were sent back to London, none the worse, though doubtless disappointed at having missed the show.”
* Fred Snelling holds the record for the number of times any breeder has won Best Lizard at the National Exhibition (no less than eight times between 1951 and 1969).