One of my favourite documents from John Scott’s estate passed to me by his son Dougal, is his breeding register from 1950 to 1968. It is written in a ‘Collins One Day Standard Diary’. The entries are mostly of his Lizard pairings, but there are some Crests and Parisian Frills too. Up until his death in 1957, William Scott was in partnership with his son John, and as I don’t recognise the handwriting in the early entries, I assume they are in William’s hand.
The entry for a particular year starts with the breeding team. They are listed in a double-leaf spread with the cock birds listed on the left page, and the hens on the right. Columns are devoted to ring number (very basic in the 1950s, presumably coloured plastic rings, no standardised colours or code numbers); a description of the bird’s key characteristics; the year and name of the breeder; and finally the bird’s show results. You can see the double page spread for 1950 at the head of this article.
Here is a close up of the details of some of the cock birds. The description for Blue 3 states ‘ Clear cap gold; type.markings, colour. Throws an even spangle. Good feeder’. The description for Red 11 states ‘Clear cap gold; type, colour, spangle a little uneven, but throws good birds, good feeder’.
Here is an enlargement of the show results of what was evidently the best male in the Scott stud. Note that his show results go back to 1945: over 70 years ago.
Here is the equivalent page for hens. Note how there are far fewer show results – the emphasis was very much on males as show birds. The description of Green 15 states ‘Non cap gold; good type & marking, fails colour, good feeder’. The description for Blue 1 states ‘Non cap silver hen; markings, type, VG lacing, across breast, fails colour’. (VG = very good).
A series of pages follow which record the outcome of each pairing. Here is the entry for a pair comprising a clear cap gold cock and a non cap silver hen.
The ‘Remarks’ tell us ‘Hen a very good feeder, young three clear caps, one broken, a good type of Lizard’.
It is a very comprehensive record. Nowadays, many breeders will be using computerised spreadsheets; I still use a card system that I started in 1989; and many people I know use a ledger very similar to the one shown here. The technology may change, but the importance of keeping good records never changes.