Colonel T S and Mrs O Couper
(by Steve Tillotson 2014)
(article extended/updated Jan 2015)
Left - Mr T S Couper with Greyhound (Empire Williams) on 9th March 1929
beginning of the Greyhound season. Right - Mrs O Couper with three Saluki on 20th April 1929
1. INTRODUCTION TO THE GARRYMHOR KENNEL
"Garrymhor" was a very important Afghan hound kennel. The kennel started in the 1920s with Saluki's and German Shepherd Dogs, Mrs Couper being a foundation breeder in those two breeds. Mrs Couper added Afghan hounds to her kennel with the acquisition of Sheba Of Wyke in December 1930. Sheba was born 5/6/1928, pure Bell Murray breeding, bred by Mrs A M Nicholson. Mrs Couper also acquired Sheba's litter sister Kim Of Wyke and exhibited her from 1931 onwards.
Mrs Couper purchased her foundation Afghan hound bitch from Miss Simmons of Bericote - Garrymhor Souriya. Garrymhor was an active Afghan hound kennel for a relatively brief period of time, spanning the decade of the 30's into the 40's. Garrymhor bred only 3 litters, two in 1935 and one in 1936. (Other litters carrying the Garrymhor affix were also bred in this interval, but they were bred by other people who ,with agreement, used the Garrymhor kennel affix). The kennel name is synonymous with Olive Couper but, we should also be aware that her husband, Colonel Thomas Sidney Couper, took an active/supportive role in his wife's breeds, while simultaneously pursuing his sporting interests, such as Greyhound Racing.
Mrs Couper became involved in the Afghan hound and commenced breeding at a pivotal moment in time - the early 1930's. By this time the two early foundation kennels (Ghazni and Bell Murray) had retired from the scene and the ensuing generation of breeders had blended the two types/lines, so that purebred of either type were almost extinct. A feature of the Garrymhor's was the incorporation of 3 of the 4 post WW1 Import lines (Ardmor Anthony, Shahzada and Afroz) , which, when blended with Ghazni and Bell Murray lineage, effectively introduced a somewhat unique "blend" of bloodlines at Garrymhor. Mrs Couper was fortunate to obtain the only litter sired by the import Ardmor Anthony, which is both a distinction and a unique attribute of the Garrymhor breeding program. (NOTE there was another litter sired by Ardmor Anthony born 5th May 1934, in a breeding to his sister Sheila Beg. However, we only have a record of one hound from this litter and it was exported to the USA. So to all intents and purpose, Garrymhor was the only kennel to incorporate Anthony into the breed in the UK).
The Garrymhor foundation bitch - Garrymhor Souriya (bred by Miss Simmons of Bericote) was a blend of Ghazni and Alfreda (Shahzada x Afroz), so Mrs Couper started out with a blended foudation bitch. As we shall learn later, the incorporation of Ardmor Anthony lineage gives the Garrymhor's a particular uniqueness.
Mrs Couper was secretary of the Afghan Hound Association in 1932. Mrs Couper was also a member of the 1946 AHA breed standards committee. This latter point is particularly interesting - noting that the Garrymhor's had ceased activity by the mid 40's, (perhaps partially due to health problems affecting Mrs Couper -source Margaret Niblock) and the AHA invited Mrs Couper to join the standards making committee. This invitation was perhaps recognition by the AHA of the huge contribution the Garrymhors had made to the breed, plus, Mrs Couper was not apparently aligned particularly to Ghazni or Bell Murray breeding and had developed her own blend involving the aforementioned three import lines (Ardmor Anthony, Shahzada, Afroz) , and thus, Mrs Couper would perhaps provide an alternative and independent viewpoint to the historic Ghazni vs Bell Murray debate?
We will return to the Garrymhor hounds , their achievements and influence a litler later. Meanwhile we move on to discuss Mr and Mrs Couper -
2. BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES RE MR, MRS COUPER
(Temporary narrative from Steve. Lyall Payne continues his research work and we will replace these brief notes with Lyall's more comprhensive writings shortly)
Mr T S Couper was a WW1 veteran and career military officer (Lt Colonel,3D V.B. Royal Highllanders - "The Black Watch") . He became an importer of Jute and a manufacturer of Jute products (just like his Father). He was a Scotsman and married Olive Mary Bassett in Manchester, England, in 1921. He was 14 years her senior, no evidence of any children from the marriage. Incidentally, in 1925 they both went out to India -presumably in connection with Mr Couper's business interests. Mr Couper died in an orthopaedic hospital in Surrey in 1954, Mrs Couper ended her days in a lovely hillside cottage in Exeter in 1964 - which she called Garrymhor.
An announcement of the early promotion of T S Couper, 1905
An announcement of the later promotion of T S Couper, to Lt Colonel, 1922
3. PLACES THE COUPERS LIVED
Garrymhor kennels were located in Broughty Ferry (Dundee), Scotland - the kennels were situatated in the next road - a short walk from their house. The Coupers actually owned two properties in Broughty Ferry. One in Hill St, and a second house, at Glamis Road Duncraig, which was their main residence and was a huge house overlooking the sea. The Coupers employed servants, and also employed a Gardener William Cook (who suddenly dropped dead in Perth Road Dundee on April 1 1931, he was aged 53). When advertising to recruit domestic staff, the Coupers described their home as a "small houehold". The Garrymhor kennels were located at the end of the lane and supervised by the Garrymhor kennel manager. The Coupers did not remain at Broughty Ferry, they moved south to Surrey in England in the mid 1930's, we will learn more as the story unfolds.
"Garrymhor", Glamis Road Duncraig
The house "Duncraig" was designed by architect Charles Ower. in 1892 and was purchased by Mr T S Coupers father., The right hand photo above shows a view of the southern facing front of the house which has a spectacular view of the River Tay which runs east to west below it.
Some press cuttings below about staff and homes and estate sales 1931-1945 -
|Press item re theft by a maid|
at Garrymhor 1931
|Garrymhor House sale 1942 and Estate Sale 1945|
Remembering that the Coupers owned two houses in Dundee, In the above announcements we note that the Hill St house went up for sale in 1932 and may have been a pre-cursor to their move south to England, where they were known to be living in 1936. The larger more impressive Duncraig house in Glamis Road went up for sale a decade later in 1945. .
The Coupers did not exhibit at Crufts 1931-1935 but were back at Crufts again in 1936 and now living in England. Their address being as per the advert below -
The Coupers won the puppy dog class at Crufts in 1936 with their young dog Garrymhor Ghulum Nubi, who also won 2nd in Junior. Molly Sharpe exhibited her Garrymhor Faiz-Bu-Hassid also in Junior class, Molly was placed 4th.
4.. ABOUT BROUGHTY FERRY
Broughty (pronounced "Bruffy"), is part of the town of Dundee and is located on the eastern seaboard of Scotland sitting on the northern bank of the River Tay. In the mid 19th century Dundee was the "jute" capital of the world - here's some Wikipedia comments - Raw jute was imported from Bengal by the British East India Company. English Jute Barons grew rich processing jute and selling manufactured products made from jute. Dundee Jute Barons and the British East India Company began to set up jute mills in Bengal and by 1895 jute industries in Bengal overtook the Scottish jute trade. Many Scots emigrated to Bengal to set up jute factories. More than a billion jute sandbags were exported from Bengal to the trenches during World War I and even more during WWII and also exported to the Americas, especially the United States southern region to bag cotton and coffee. It was used in the fishing, construction, art and in the arms industry. India, China, Thailand, Myanmar also produce Jute in low quantities. India is one of the largest importers of Jute in South Asia and also produces processed jute products in the world, while Bangladesh is the largest producer and exporter of raw jute. Therefore, the local price of raw jute in Bangladesh is the international price. Ironically, the local price of jute goods produced in India set their own price. As an input to the jute manufacturing (goods) industry, the supply for jute is derived from the demand. Nearly 75% of jute goods are used as packaging materials, burlap, gunny cloth, (hessian), and sacks. Carpet Backing Cloth, the third major jute outlet, is fast growing in importance. Currently, it consists of roughly 15% of the world's jute goods consumption. The remaining products are carpet yarn, cordage, felts, padding, twine, ropes, decorative fabrics, and heavy duty miscellaneous items for industrial use.
5. MR COUPERS CAR
A tidbit of fun trivia to end this first page - Mr Couper registered his vehicle on 3 April 1914. The Alldays Midget 8-10 h.p. Two Cylinder, was built by the old established firm of Alldays and Onions Ltd, of Birmingham. The 1056 c.c. water-cooled vertical twin-cylinder engine drove through a 3-speed and reverse gearbox and cone clutch to a worm type differential axle. A Boch magneto and a Zenith carburettor were fitted. It was classed as a cyclecar because of the two cylinder engine and cost £130 in 1914. The 1915 version of the car was considered to be a light car, because it had a four cylinder engine, even though its capacity at 1092 c.c. was similar to the previous model, as was most of the design. It weighed in at 7 cwt, with a 7 ft. wheelbase a 4 ft. track and cost £185 in 1915.
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