THE FEATURE IN THE MAGAZINE INCLUDES CLIPPINGS AND PHOTOS FROM THE UK CLUB’S ARCHIVES
from the Clumber Spaniel Club (UK) Archives
with special thanks to archivist Anita Roberts
Mr J.T. Flowers
world famous dog breeder & judge 1870 – 1951
John Thomas Flowers, a well known miller of Ramsey, Huntingdon, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Flowers, was an eminent figure in the Clumber Spaniel and later in the Gordon Setter world. He was truly a devoted admirer of the Clumber Spaniel. For nearly half a century he bred, shot over, and exhibited them with conspicuous success. It was in the year 1900 that Mr Flowers made his first venture with the breed and made the wise acquisition of Beechgrove Podge from the late Mr F Winton-Smith, whose kennel was then predominant in many varieties of gundogs. His first success quickly followed on from this purchase, as Holme Ben was well up in the prize list at Birmingham National Championship show of 1903, to the undisguised delight of this keen enthusiast. The die was now cast, and from that date onwards the �Biggin� kennel (the prefix being granted by the Kennel Club in 1906) became famous for its utility stock. A keen shooting man, Mr Flowers would never breed from stock unless their working abilities were proved to his satisfaction, and it was from constantly selecting the best working bitch pups to breed from that his excellent results were obtained.
A constant stream of winners, both on the bench and at trials, emanated from �Biggin�, the best known being the wonderful dog Biggin Chum, whose show career was outstanding and included challenge certificates at the Kennel Club show, Scottish Gundog, Worcester, The Royal, LKA (Olympia), Manchester and Crufts. No dog could have been more fearlessly shown, and the results proved beyond doubt his outstanding qualities. As a sire, Chum was in great demand, and all the fashionable matrons of his period were numbered amongst his harem, with great success. Many were the winners that claimed Chum as their sire. Eventually, Mr Flowers succumbed to the pleadings of H.H. the Maharaja Dhiraj Patiala, and Chum sailed, with his sister Biggin Susan for India, where he added further lustre to the breed. He was sold for the princely sum of �100, at a time when his stud fee was only 4 guineas. Biggin Susan, litter sister to Chum was also a prominent championship winner, and on innumerable occasions assisted to win the brace class with him, and her record as a winner was only over shadowed by her illustrious brother. Biggin Duke, Floss, Lady Bird, Peg Top, Bouncer, Peter, Tess, Belle Holme Bele, and many others, who were prominent on the majority of the then Clumber pedigrees were all produced by Mr Flowers, whose claim to be one of the oldest and most successful breeders at that time was truly substantiated.
Biggin Chummie, daughter of Shamus Crossac of Gunnery and Biggin Fancy, was in the opinion of her owner the best working Clumber he had owned. A bitch worthy to rank with the best of all times, Biggin Vee of Gunnery, bred by Mrs Jennings, was presented to Mr Flowers by his breeder.
Mr Flowers judged at most of the representative championship shows, and was also frequently called on to make the awards at field trials. He had always been interested in Gordon Setters, although he did not show them until the 1930s, when he quickly attained front rank. His best known Gordon was Peter of Biggin. For more than 50 years Mr Flowers shot over Gordon Setters, and owned some of the finest of the time.
John Flowers died at the age of 81 on December 23 1951, at his residence in Biggin Lane. He had been in failing health for some time. He had spent nearly the whole of his life in Ramsey, being educated at Ramsey Grammar School and Northampton. He joined his father�s milling and corn merchants business on leaving school, and succeeded his father to carry on the corn merchants business. He married Anne Spraggon in October 1896, with whom he had three children, one son and two daughters.
Although he was not in the forefront of public life he was known far and wide in the world of sport. His joys in life were his dogs, his cricket and his pipe.
As a sportsman, he was a great lover of cricket, playing regularly for Ramsey Cricket Club until he was 65, and at the time of his death he was the club�s oldest member. He played in several Smith Barry cup finals and also served on the Cricket Club committee. At one time there were three generations of his family playing in the same team. He also shone in the field of athletics being a good sprinter. =