Southend Leigh & District Aquarist Society is 82 years old !
Southend, Leigh and District Aquarist Society was formed as far back as 1935, prior to World War II it was known as Southend Aquarist Society with the secretary E.A. Clarke and we know that it held a Show in 1938 at the Kursaal Southend. We have only been able to trace the Society back that far; it is possible it existed before that date but we have so far been unable to find any documentary evidence, apart from in “Water Life” Volume 8 No 3 (new issue) June 1953 p 153, in an article entitled “Growth of the hobby in Six Reigns”
At the out break of World War II the Society had to be disbanded as the Southend area became a militarised area as it lies on the Thames estuary and offered a direct route to London for any invading enemy. With the whole area under military control it became impracticable to hold our meetings as movement was severely restricted especially after dark. In addition many of our members were conscripted into the armed forces. Imagine trying to explain to a sentry that the box that you were carrying so carefully under your coat was just a jar of tropical fishes!
After the hostilities four members of the old committee met and reformed the Society March 17th 1946 and decided to call it Leigh and District Aquarist Society. On October 29th 1947 the name was broadened to Southend, Leigh and District. The first Monthly Journal was published on April 30th 1948 under the editorship of Edgar C. Day. In 1948 Edgar was also the club secretary.
The Society held it`s first post War Show in conjunction with a Fur and Feather Display.
The Journal was then published for a number of years, It was resurrected in the early 1960 `s by J. H. Preston, who is better known as Howard today. Howard, incidently, was one of the first English aquarists to travel to Mexico to collect livebearing fishes in 1960 `s. He first flew to New York and thence by Greyhound bus all the way to Mexico City where he and Chris Lyons hired a car to explore for fish.
The Journal was then published in 1948 in either a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly form until 1985.
The issue, Volume 2 of 1949-50 , was the start of an attempt to save copies of the Journal for posterity in both printed and digital form on CD. The issue has been copied in OCR form but because of the nature of duplication and the type of paper it was written on the result has had to be partially re-written but no alteration has been made to the format nor the content so that some pages are not filled completely, but the original page number has been retained throughout. No attempt has been made to update the nomenclature so many fish names may be strange to a modern audience. We have also resisted the temptation to change any information that doesn't agree with present day thinking.
All the available issues have now been scanned and are on the home page but not all issues are still in existence although we do understand that Volume One has been scanned by the British Library.
Although today the Society no longer publishes a Journal the Society is one of only two clubs remaining in Essex if one includes Ilford club in what is now Greater London. The Society is still able to hold an Annual Show every May with entrants from as far as Port Talbot in Wales & Corby in Northamptonshire. SLADAS members visit other clubs shows to return with prizes in many instances.
Any one with any information on the club, particularly from when it was known as Southend Aquarist Society before World War II we would be pleased to hear from you
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Aquarium History of Southend, Leigh & District aquarist Society
Thanks to the kindness of the late Horace Giles, who was kind enough to give his file of old
JOURNALS, letters etc, to the late Dave Cheswright we now know far more than we did about the earlier days of S.L.A.D.A.S.
Our area had an aquarist society before the war, it was known as the SOUTHEND AND DISTRICT AQUARIST SOCIETY http://www.facebook.com/southend fish club. This Society held a show at the Kursaal in 1938, so it is probable that the Society existed before 1935
The club was apparently disbanded at the outbreak of hostilities when Southend became virtually a military base owing to it's position on the Thames estuary, but the club was re-formed as
soon as the war was over, by four of the original committee members. This society was named the
Leigh and District Aquarist Society.
On October the 29th the name of the club was changed to SOUTHEND, LEIGH, AND DISTRICT AQUARIST SOCIETY.
We believe that we can claim to be related to the old SOUTHEND SOCIETY through Horace Giles
membership and the other members of the old Society who formed the new committee
MILESTONES OF S.L.A.D.AS.
March 17 1946 .
Society reformed as the Leigh and District Aquarists Society.
July 14 1946
First outing - to the London Zoo (only five turned up )
July 20 1946.
Library started with three books
December 11 1946
First monthly Newsletter
October 18 1947
First post war show with Fur & Feather display
October 29 1947.
Name changed to SOUTHEND, LEIGH AND DISTRICT AQUARIST SOCIETY
April 30 1948;