Richard Cook

Richard Cook of Ilford

The Honorary OEMC Secretary  and probably thé motor of the Anglo-American relationships in regards to Mastiffs may be considered as one of the most successful breeders of the 1880ties . Although he only bred a dozen KCSB* recorded litters , four Ilford specimens were made up out of four different bitches and studs . * KCSB stands for Kennel Club Stud Book .

Richard Cook (presumable) foundation brood was Sylvia I whom , sired by ch Turk’ younger brother Argus [owned by CT Harris of Fenchurch Street London] , gave Sylvia II , dam to Cook’ 1st champion Ilford Baroness [owned by F L Carslake of Bridgwater Somerset] described as ~ ‘Very few faults , looking most blooming in every respect [sic Edgar Hanbury]  , a grand bitch , large skull , small well carried ears , massive and well framed , best of legs and feet ‘ . Richard Cook got her back and  bred from her a litter , born December 1883 , sired by ch Crown Prince’ brother ch Prince Regent which produced Kaiser II , owned by J H Kirk , MRCVS Dog’ Home Cornley Gardens at Edinburgh .

His following litter was out of ch His Majesty King Canute’ & ch Cambrian Princess’ sis Ilford Claudia [bred by Henry G Woolmore out of ch Punch’ grandaughter Modesty x ch Beau] sired by ch Crown Prince which resulted in Ilford Caution [in ‘85 sold to Mr Moore Melrose US] , Imperial Chancellor & Ilford Cambria .

‘Outing’ was an American magazine featuring a/o interesting canine articles also about the Mastiff during the heyday of the breed in the United States , that perhaps enhanced by a number of English imports as a/o Ilford Caution , Imperial Chancellor [Caution’brother] , Ilford Chancellor [Caution’ son] &  Ilford Cambria [Chancellor’ sis] , all bred by Richard Cook of Cranbrook lodge Ilford . ‘Prize Winners of 1887’ by Charles Mason ,  New York , owner of a/o ch Salisbury and Reverend WJ Mellor’ champion Creole , presents a quite extensive description of a/o  Ilford Caution . 

‘Ilford Caution , 31 inches & 175 lbs . Fawn with black points . Color good throughout and well distributed .  Skull deep and wide. Forehead broad , flat , beautifully wrinkled and having an almost perfect stop . Muzzle of great depth and width , with lips well hung. Lower incisors projecting more than we like . Eyes a shade too light in color , but well set . Ears much too large . Expression excellent , being lowering yet not repulsive . Neck short and fairly strong . Chest deep , but should be wider , especially behind the shoulder . Ribs should be more sprung, with the short ones deeper and extending further back . Loin should be wider , deeper and more muscular , and in proportion to size of forequarters . Hindlegs , from hips to hocks , fairly well formed , but very deficient in muscular development . Hocks too straight , rather weak and turning inward more than is desirable . Forelegs straight and set into shoulders which should be more muscular . Tail well carried . Coat excellent . A big , grand fronted dog , showing intense character in his ponderous , magnificent head , and outclassing in muzzle all of his opponents – Minting included . Nothwithstanding this dog’ light quarters and defective hocks , we are prepared to see him head the list of successful Mastiff sires in this country .

Imperial Chancellor was described at the Birmingham Show , December 1885 , as ~ ‘ An immense dog , with plenty of bone , but coarse in the ear , general want of symmetry and little cow hocked .’ ; Mark Beaufoy at Warwick , May 1886 ~ ‘A big dog , with a good body , but his head is very houndy ; in my opinion the worst fault in a Mastiff , and his hind action is very faulty .’ Richard Cook [presumably] named his dog after the ‘Imperial Chancellor’ Otto von Bismarck [1815-1898] following the ‘taste’ of his fellow breeder Reverend WJ Mellor who already named one of his breedings by ch Crown Prince , ‘Bismarck’ !


May ’85 Richard Cook got a litter from Ilford Cambria sired by ch Orlando [owned by Reverend Henry van Doorne] resulting in CC Rice’ Gelert [1st at Portsmouth , Cambridge , Richmond & Glasgow KC] , D L Buchanan’ Chaucer , F Taylor’ Sultan VII & Mrs Cunliffe Lee’ Rosa . Below at left ch Ilford Chancellor .

Other Ilford broods were the sisters Idalia & Brenda Secunda [granddaughters to ch Colonel & ch Nero and halfsisters to Nicholl’ champion Leo VII]  ; the latter mated to his own stud Ilford Caution resulted in Cook’ 2nd  champion , Ilford Chancellor . Champion Ilford Chancellor  was described as ~      ‘ A fine dog , but too troaty , shown in good form , and his body , legs & feet are first-rate ; his head is of the right type , but is oversupplied with loose skin , which gives him a somewhat houndy appearance .’ , Crystal Palace February 1887 , judge Mark Beaufoy  .

November 1885 he bred another litter from Brenda Secunda sired by Ilford Caution’ sire ch Crown Prince which resulted in Fair Rosomond owned by village neighbor John O’Connell who mated her to ch Crown Prince’ son ch Hotspur which produced Coeur de Lion , [presumable] grandsire to the reputed Cleveland Leopold who sired three champions ~ Brompton Duke & Brompton Duchess & Lightning .

Brenda Secunda’ sis Idalia  was mated to Reverend  Van Doorne’ ch Orlando and gave Ilford Coroner and Cook’ 3rd champion , Count Orlando [owned by GW Alcock of Attercliffe] described as ~ ‘ A poor specimen , weak tapering muzzle , good headed and coloured , coarse in the ears , short in couplings , straight in hocks and also not good on the legs .’       He got also a brood bred by Alexander Morrison , called Constance [ch Prince Regent x his sis Queen Liberty]  and  bred in ’87 from her two litters sired by ch Ilford Chancellor , a/o Ilford Cato [1st KC Agricultural Hall & People’ Palace ‘88] , - Chorister , - Conquest , - Christine [owned by WN Higgs] & - Coral  [in ’90 owned by Mssrs WN Higgs & JE White] .

R Cook’ last KCSB recorded litter [November ‘89] was out of  Ilford Cobrey [bred by Captain Piddocke out of ch Toozie sired by ch Beaufort] sired by Reverend Van Doorne’ ch Jack Thyr  resulting in Lady Thyr [owned by Henry Wilkinson of Appleton] , whom became grandam to Robert Leadbetter’ ch Marksman and Cook’ 4th champion , Ilford County Member [in ‘93 owned by WN Higgs] ~ ‘A very fine dog but short in body , good bone and loins , good hindquarters with hocks well let down , very large massive head but rather plain , foreface too long , good nostrils , fine ears and eyes .’

Cook entered the KCSB in ‘82 with Ilford Cromwell [bred in ‘81 by WK Taunton out of ch Cardinal’ daughter Cleopatra sired by ch Cardinal ~ 1st at Alexandra Palace & Frome and later on exported to the States]  & ch His Majesty King Canute [bred in ’82  by Woolmore out of ch Punch’ grandaughter Modesty  sired by ch Beau , son to ch Punch’ niece Belle ] 1st puppy class at Crystal Palace , but in ‘83 sold to Oswald Knott of Ashton under Lyne . He also owned some bitches from whom he never bred a KCSB registered litter ~ Lorna Doone [bred in February ‘82 by F L Carslake out of ch Ilford Baroness  sired by ch Crown Prince] ; Ilford Lady Coleus [bred in August ‘87 by Albert Andrews out of ch Montgomery’ daughter Vistula sired by ch Beaufort] , later on exported to the States ; Ilford Cameo [bred in March ’90 by WN Higgs out of Ilford Christine sired by ch Jack Thyr] ; and Ilford Cader Idris [bred in May ’91 by Rev Van Doorne out of Orlando II’ Weleda sired by ch Jack Thyr] whom got three 1st prizes in ’93 but couldn’t end her show carreer due to her master’ death at the end of the year .

The Kennel Gazette mentioned in a report about his passing away  a/o - ' Mr Cook occasionally , but not ver often , officiated as judge of Mastiffs at some of the leading shows , but the responsabilities of awarding prizes were distasteful to him , and he greatly preferred to support dog shows in the capacity of an exhibitor .'

Some privy matters - Richard Cook was born at Lawshall Suffolk in 1822 and according to the census returns ’61 , ’71 , ’81 & ’91 stated as ‘grocer & merchant’, ‘accountant & auctioneer’ , ‘commercial valuer’  & ‘auctioneer & valuer’. He was married to Jane of Radnorshire of Wales , having five children a/o George stated as a ‘captain seas merchants service’ [maybe some connection to ch Crown Prince' breeder HG Woolmore , ‘cashier steam shipping Co’] . During the 1870/80ties he resided at a historical site called ‘Cranbrook Lodge’, having a domestic housemaid , a cook & a domestic general  servant . Some of his neighbours were a/o John Kent , ‘gardener’ of the lodge and John Norton , ‘drysalter’ of Sidney villa.

It seems the name 'Cook' had an ancient link to the Cranbrook site reading ‘A History of the County of Essex Vol V ’ ~  ‘ The manor of Wyfields in Ilford was a free tenement held of Barking Abbey. Part of it , including the manor house  lay west of Cranbrook Road , adjoining the manor of Cranbrook .

The remainder was to the east of the road , and south of the original Valentines estate . The manor probably took its name from the family of Stansfield, a citizen and skinner of London who died in 1551 , leaving Wyfields to his daughter Isabel, wife of John Cook , for life , with remainder to her son Richard Cook who sold the manor soon after to Edward Randall .'

In 1806 the Cranbrook estate was acquired by John M Grafton Dare and his wife Elizabeth , comprising 180 acres , lying west of Cranbrook Road , which had formerly been part of Wyfields , and which had been acquired between 1773 and 1788, from Sir Charles Raymond .  After John M Grafton Dare' death the estate passed to his widow , Elizabeth Grafton Dare [d. 1823] , and then to her daughter Elizabeth , wife of Robert Westley Hall [Dare] , son of Robert Hall  of Ilford Lodge, to which estate he succeeded on his father' death in 1834 . Hall-Dare died in 1836, leaving Cranbrook to his second son Henry who sold it , some time after 1847, to John Davis . It passed on John Davis' death in 1863 to his son John Coope Davis [b Bloomsbury 1832, colonel of Volunteers  residing in 1881 at South Weald 10 miles NE of Ilford] . J C Davis sold it to George Beasley who sold the estate in 1897 to William Peter Griggs , a well-respected man who was instrumental in building houses to hold the soaring population ; he presented a Clock Tower [see picture] , once a major landmark in the area , to Ilford in 1901 at the Broadway  [4 miles NW of Cranbrook Lodge & 4 miles NE of HG Woolmore’ Wrentham villa  Leyton] and was elected as Ilford' first MP in 1918 . The last occupier of Cranbrook House , A S Walford , gave up his tenancy in 1899 , and by 1901 the house had been demolished and the estate cut up for building.

In 1879 Arthur H Harman of photography company ‘Ilford Limited’ resided at ‘Elmhurst’ house [on the corner with Park Avenue nearly opposite Cranbrook lodge] . where he began manufacturing dry gelatine plates . As business grew he expanded his workplace into the ground floor and employed two men and three boys . In 1880 he moved to Roden Street , half a mile southwards in the centre of Ilford village . His early processes were rudimentary—he applied his emulsion formula with a teapot— but the huge growth in the photography market gave him the revenue he needed to build purpose built premises in 1883 called 'Britannia Works' and was renamed Ilford Limited in 1900 despite objections from Ilford Urban District Council who argued that being the area' largest employer did not give the company the right to assume the town' name.

The site of Cranbrook Lodge was acquired in 1831 by Henry Graves 1804-1888 , ‘silk merchant’ , and son of James Graves of Ilford cottage , ’freeholder’ [note ~ a person in favor to the Queen and worthy of land grants] ; the house , formerly called Cranbrook cottage , was built in 1835 nearly opposite South Park Avenue, running south of Valentines Park .

It is of some interest to note a ‘military link’ , namely that ch Cambrian Princess’ very valuable sis Ilford Claudia bred by HG Woolmore , after having bred an ‘Ilford’ litter sired by ch Crown Prince , a/o containing Ilford Caution & Imperial Chancellor , later on was owned by Captain C Dewar of Vogrie Gorebridge Scotland (as also Ilford Charity - younger sis of ch Crown Prince)  but  Richard Cook beheld Claudia’ sis Ilford Dorothy . Looking at the person at the extreme left on the back row of the ‘Ilford Cricket Club’ group photograph , one easily could consider him a double of Richard Cook [vide Broadway Ilford colour postcard] or is it himself ?

Ilford Cricket Club Grounds were located some hundred yards east of Cranbrook Lodge ; one can see that ‘ the band of the Ilford volunteers by permission of Captain Meggy has been engaged and will play selections during the evening ’. Maybe there was some connection with the Hall’ owner John Coope Davis , ‘colonel of volunteers’  .