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The Marriots
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The pigeons under consideration is that of the late Fred Marriott of Birmingham, England, who many believe has not received its rightful status amongst the great families of racing pigeons.

Marriott began racing pigeons in 1899 and flew both the North Road and the South Road into England and in due course prior to his clearance sale in January 1956 on the South Road he was Ist Open in both 1924 and 1925 NFC races with Triumph and Repetition, plus 2nd Open 1929 with Nap, to be followed by 6th 1907, 11th 1936, 15th 1937, 1st 1940 (with Premier), 5th 1948, and many other other positions over the years of his involvement. On the North Road Marriott was 1st, 4th and 5th Open Lerwick with the NRCC 1920, 1st, 3rd & 25th in 1921, 3rd 1922, 10th 1923, 2nd 1934, 6th & 7th 1953. Of course there were also many successes at Federation, Combine and Club levels.

The base of the Marriott pigeons was a cock called Dreadnought, who was bred in 1908 containing the bloodlines of Marriott's old Bordeaux Cock and Toft's winner of 1st NFC Bordeaux 1899. The Bordeaux Cock was from an unnamed Belgian source and a full sister to Jumbo who flew and won from Granville, Rennes and Marennes in three consecutive years, plus 6th Open NFC San Sebastian in 1907. W.C. Moore bloodlines were also involved including Barker's Marcia with traces of Gits, Debue and Plentinckx blood. In fact the pedigree contains a mosaic of well known fancier names prominent in the sport of the time. Dreadnought himself was not particularly outstanding as a racer although winning prizes from Ventnor, Granville, Rennes and Marennes. Marriott however as an astute observer saw his potential as a breeder and retired him As a stock bird Dreadnought earned his laurels but Marriott mysteriously disposed of him in 1915 admitting later that he had made a great blunder. He apparently had sired winners with any hen he was ever paired with. Of his many winning offspring perhaps the greatest was the famous Lerwick Hen who in 1920 won 1st Open Lerwick and in the following year won the Kings Cup outright for Marriott by repeating what she accomplished the previous year. This great racer also contained Moss bloodlines.

As the Editor for a time of the British Homing World it has been said that Fred Marriott was in the position of obtaining pigeons from the best fanciers of his day. Whether or not it was his position as the editor of the BHW which helped him in his ambitions as a racer there is no doubt that a perusal of his pigeons pedigrees show an array of the names of the leading fanciers and their outstanding pigeons of the time. This would imply I think an outcross approach to the production of pigeons capable of bringing the bacon home so to speak and a study of the Marriott technique would tend to confirm that he relied more upon outcrossing rather than anything else. That as a fancier the possibility of procuring so many good pigeons led to a situation in which the appearance of good racers was inevitable based upon the concept of luck or fate alone. There is no escaping the truth however that Fred Marriott was one of the elite fanciers of the 20th century but whether one could safely state that what he produced was a strain is questionable according to others. Based upon the 'Marriott phenomenon' however there are those who contend that the traditional concept of a 'strain' and what constitutes one requires to be re- assessed.

Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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