A Brief History of the National Bengalese Fanciers Association 1954-2014
    This brief history was compiled from the little I could find in my magazines.

                                                                                       Taken from the NBFA 40th Anniversary magazine
                                                                                          Compiled by Eric Barlow & Ted Hounslow
          The first AGM of the NBFA took place in 1954 at the National Exhibition of Cage & Aviary Birds , Olympia, London. Founder Members were;

                  W. Bain, P. Dangerfield, Mr. & Mrs. G. Fiveash, H.B.Smith, Mr. & Mrs. N. Tolmaer, Mr. & Mrs. S. Wilkinson and Mrs.. Webb.
          The first President of the Association was Sir Godfrey Davis. He resided in Boughton Monchelsea nr Maidstone Kent. The first Hon. Secretary
          was Norman Tolmaer....
          In 1955 the Association first issued closed coded rings. The first issue was Red followed by Gold and Violet. They were sold at 3/6d per 10
          plus 3d postage.  (17and a half pence per 10 in todays money...)
          By 1957 the Association had a standard show cage. It was designed by G.Fiveash and drawn by W. Bains, both founder members.

          A year book was issued up to and including 1964, but after that date NBFA publications are something of a Grey area. The next year book to be
          issued were in 1971 and 1972, the last to date. However newsletters and latterly Magazines have been issued on a regular basis ever since.
         During the mid 60's to the early 70's the Association saw a change in fortune. A state of decline occurred with constant changes in officers and in some        
          cases no Officers at all. During this difficult period John Knowles took the office of Secretary and kept the Association going through troubled times

         In 1972 Ted Hounslow became Hon Secretary and aided by a succession of Chairman notably Jim Shepherd and Tom Lockhart, began the process  of
revitalizing the Association. Regular Committee meetings discussing the sometimes thorny question of Colour Standards and Classifications were held
         and at the end of the day formed the foundation of the General Show and Colour Definitions we have today.
                     (When Ted Hounslow had held the post for 25 years he was presented with a Westmin
ster Chiming Clock for his services to the NBFA)
                       1979 marked the Associations 25th Jubilee Year and to celebrate the event the first ever NBFA All Bengalese Show was held.    
        The venue was in Bracknell, Berks. The show was held on Sunday 4th November 1979. The Judges were : W, Gemmell, T. Hemmings,
        E.J. Hounslow and N. Tolmaer. The response from Members was phenomenal, with members travelling from as far as Scotland, Wales, Devon
        and Essex. The entry was a magnificent 527 cages.

        The judges could not agree on the overall winner of the show, and so an independent judge was bought in to decide the outcome. it proved to be winner
        for Mr. & Mrs. N. Cox with a pair of Chocolate & Whites.

                                                                                                             VOICES FROM THE PAST
         From THE BENGALESE 1984
                                                                                                           by the Late Norman Tolmaer
        In the 1920's and early 1930's Bengalese were always shown in the Class for Mannikins and Munias as a result they seldom won prizes because they had
        to compete with all the other types of Mannikins and were at a disadvantage for both colour and shape. Most of them were very small and almost all were
        Chocolate and White pieds.
        As we still had to show our birds in the Mannikin classes a few us started to put on our own little shows, just one or two little classes which we exhibited
        wherever we could, as a result interest in the Bengalese increased until finally enough people were interested to enable us to form a club of fellow
        Bengalese breeders.
        So in the Autumn of 1954 about a dozen of us meet in a cinema in Tooting London to see if we could form a specialist club devoted to our favorite bird
        First we had to think of a name for the club. This may seem an easy task but first we had to start with the name of the bird, as at the time it was known as   
        the Bengellae, the Benglee and the Bengalese, the name Bengalese was finally accepted. Then a simple schedule and standard was drawn up.
        We then went on to design a show cage. It was noted there was a tendency to stand one cage on top of another often with disastrous results, so we
        decided to adopt the desk type cage as used by most foreign exhibitors.
        In the 1950's it was common for fanciers to make their own cages, so we decided all parts of  our cage should be easy to make.  

                                                                                           CONTINUING THE 60's WITH BILL BUTTERFIELD
                                                                                     From The London & Southern Bengalese Finch Club 1985
                                                                                                               News Letter June 1997
                                                                                                            By the Late Bill Butterfield

       In the mid 1960's Bengalese were mainly being shown to make up more numbers of birds in a show, and as such they became somewhat the poor relations
       of the show bird world, at about this time John Knowles gave up the Secretary's position in the NBFA. He had done his best to keep the NBFA in existence
       which was about all it was doing.
       At the AGM at Alexandra Palace Norman Cox was prepared to take on the job as Secretary which he did. He was in office for a couple of years but nothing
       changed, the NBFA still went on it's negative way, and no new fanciers took interest in Bengalese.
       The next Secretary was Ted Hounslow. At the same AGM  he was elected, I asked why did the Bengalese not have the same colour closed rings as the rest of
       the bird fancy who used closed rings, we had the colour which the ring manufacturer nominated for the year. We all agreed to change this situation by having
       the same colours as the rest of the fancy.
       The next thing at this same meeting I pushed the situation of the NBFA not having any panel judges. In true Ted Hounslow form he said we had no format for
       electing judges, so to start off with we should take those members in attendance who had a reasonable amount of years keeping Bengalese and these would
       be the first panel of judges for the NBFA. The names I recall are, Norman Tolmaer, Tim Hemmings, Harry Biggs, Eric Barlow, John Knowles, Ted Hounslow and
       Also at this meeting the Patronage Secretary resigned and my wife and I took on the job, which also included gathering the points for publication in future
       news sheets.
       It was not long before we had a few judges in Scotland, Willie Gemmel, Jimmy Kidd, Charlie Dick and a few others which was a step in the right direction.
       We still did not have any colour specification or standards to judge to. I sat down on day in my home and wrote down my thoughts on what the Bengalese colours
       should be.  We had Chocolate & Whites, Fawn & Whites, Self Chocolate, Self Fawn and Self White. All other colours we called Dilutes and we had the Crest.
       The specifications of colours was published in a news sheet, produced on a type of duplicating process by Jimmy Kidd who took on the job as a sort of news editor
       When my ideas of colours were read, some of our fellow fanciers had things to say and some ideas of their own, which was good. it got something done about
       getting the standard to show and judge to. One thing I wanted was Chocolate & White and Fawn & White to be 50% of each colour We discussed it and decided
       that if we said 50/50 fanciers with birds that only had a small amount of White feather would not show them and of course we wanted Bengalese on the show
       bench. So we left it that they should be matched as near as possible.
       Self's were being shown with White bibs and ticks so we changed that. The Self's were of two types , one had flecking and the other was plainer and all the Self's
       were in one class. We did not want to make too many classes for fear Clubs & Society's would not put Bengalese in their shows.
       Quite a lot of we did for the show standards and colours still stands today with the test of time.
       Having my own business in the early days of the NBFA  was handy because we used my works for the committee meetings, and this was a good help for the small
       funds of the NBFA.
                                                                                                    INTO THE 70's WITH BILL BUTTERFIELD
                                                                                       From The London & Southern Bengalese Finch Club 1985
                                                                                                             News Letter July 1998
                                                                                                          By the late Bill Butterfield

     With the NBFA getting's it's act together and more organised, more people were taking an interest in Bengalese, people like, Jim Shepherd, Tom Lockhart the
     Luxton brothers, Trevor Ottaway, John Fendle and Ted Rivers to name but a few. Most of them eventually became NBFS panel judges, obviously I cannot name all
     the members here.
     What did happen is most clubs and society's seeking NBFA patronage did not want to engage both a Zebra Finch panel judge and a Bengalese panel judge.
     They wanted one judge who could judge both, so we had Zebra Finch judges joining the NBFA and taking on Bengalese breeding , some took a real interest in
     Bengalese, while others I suspected just wanted to get on the NBFA panel. In retrospect this was probably a good thing for the Bengalese, helping it on it's way to
     were it is today in it's own right.
     Ted Hounslow continued to be the NBFA Secretary throughout the 70's. Jim Shepherd and Tom Lockhart were Chairmen during these years, and the AGM was still
     being held at the National Exhibition in Alexandra Palace.
     We still held our meetings at my place of business and a few times we all met at Harry Biggs home. We still had to watch the finances of the NBFA, but always managed
     to pay our way and never get into any debt.
                                An interesting Fact from the 1980/81 handbook. "The Committee has now accepted the Chestnut as a separate mutation"
                               At the 2002 National Exhibition The NBFA launched their publication "The Bengalese" it has had worldwide sales.



 NBFA President Willie Gemmell made the presentation
          Ted Hounslow on the Left in the picture