Above: Graham Wellstead photographed with the roller canary record on July 15. He said:
‘I knew of the record but had never had a copy. Often we hear claims of song tours which are simply not there, and all too frequently the quality of the recording is poor. Getting a good reproduction of the song like this is rare’. Photo: Rob Innes


A RARE PIECE of roller canary memorabilia has been returned to its dedicated club. In March this year, a 7in single vinyl record titled A Private Recording was sold back to the British Roller Canary Club (1901) and it has since been bought by club member Graham Wellstead.

The record was created by the Special Recordings Department at EMI Studios Ltd in London, and although there is no date on the record, existing club officials believe it is more than 30 years old.

Speaking to Cage & Aviary Birds, club secretary Steve Barnett said: “I’m making enquiries regarding when the record was recorded, but I do know that members of the British Roller Canary Club (1901) took some roller Canaries to EMI and had them recorded to make the record.”

The description on Track One reads “Naming of Roller canary song tours, by judges A.E Gauden and A. Purkiss.” Track Two reads: “Team song of Roller canaries, from birds loaned by G. Smith, H.A. Plowman, J. Jones, A. Abbott, H.A. Easter, L. Harvey and A. Purkiss.”

Mr Barnett is in possession of the club’s copies, which are not for sale. He said: “The only other copies I know of are the one which I bought for myself from eBay for £27, and the copy that Graham has got.”

He continued: “It would be interesting to find out more about the record’s production, but sadly most if not all of the older members and the members who were involved with the record may have passed away.”

The recently sold record originally belonged to an elderly friend of Philip Neath,  who C&AB put in contact with the British Roller Canary Club (1901).

Mr Neath commented: “We are delighted to have found a ‘proper’ home for the record. It belonged to a Louis Kling, who had moved to East Dorset in 2001 to retire after owning a petshop in north London (Hampstead we think) for many years. Louis came to the UK in the very early 60s from Germany.”

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