Saturday, 28 June 2014
On a warm summer’s evening just after the war in 1946, two ladies with their dogs returning from Blackpool show were picnicking in a field outside the village of Quatt, just south of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, when a lady on a horse bore down on them and told them in no uncertain terms that they were on private land. She then dismounted and made a tremendous fuss of the dogs; it was love at first sight.
The trespassers were Joyce Hargreaves (Comeytrowe) and Mrs Nutting (Olveston) and the horsewoman was Joan Cottrell. That occasion was the beginning of the Quatt French Bulldogs. That same year (1946) Joan bought her first French Bulldog, a bitch called Northgate (a well-known landmark in Bridgnorth, now a museum) Pippet, bred by the Millner Deightons, a long established Bridgnorth family.
Joan’s daughter, Ann, became just as passionate about the breed as her mother and on leaving school joined her mother in what was, by then, a growing kennel. Visitors to Quatt were always welcomed and entertained by Joan, Ann popped in and out with refreshments and dogs and puppies as requested, while husband John, after initially greeting the visitors, retired to the dining room. Joan reigned over her court; everyone knew their place.
The Quatt kennel remained under Joan’s leadership until her death in 1979 and was continued by her daughter Ann until her death in 2001. A long line of successful dogs emerged, either bred at Quatt or bought in, especially clear pieds and fawns, including many champions worldwide and 31 British champions. The Quatt kennel was the first in Britain to breed champion French Bulldogs in all three colours.
Joan Cottrell had a gold link bracelet and to celebrate a Quatt champion being made up had a French Bulldog head and name tag engraved with the dog’s pet name attached. In total 12 of the 31 British champions are honoured on the bracelet, gold for a fawn and brindle, silver for a pied.
Among those that can be recognised are Ch Quatt Sno’Etta, Ch Snowmaie of Quatt, Ch Snowman of Quatt, Ch Quatt Heirenas Bambi, Ch Quatt Snoanna and Ch Quatt Snow Clown.


The heads were made by Arthur Payton-Smith, a master jeweller in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham, who also produced other French Bulldog pieces of jewellery. He and his family were French Bulldog enthusiasts, he owned three Quatt champions and his mother-in-law one.
Mr Payton-Smith was in dogs for over 40 years. He was a founder member and chairman of Birmingham Kennel Association, a founder member and secretary of the Midland Boxer Club and one time president of the Midland and Northern Counties French Bulldog Club. This club was founded in 1958 by a group of 31 French Bulldog enthusiasts and was the brainchild of Joan who served as its first secretary with daughter Ann as treasurer.
The bracelet appeared at auction recently in Fellows Vintage Jewellery and Accessories sale with expectations of £500-600 but perhaps not surprisingly sold well above, getting away at £1,000 to a commission bid, and yes the commission bid was from Maison  Dog!

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