Irish Wolfhound History

The Coval Kennel

The Coval Kennel was neither large nor of major importance in the breed, but the Strohmenger family is of great interest. The family's fortune came from piano manufacture, with the setting up of the company John Strohmenger & Sons, in 1835, in London, England. The Chappell Piano Co. bought out Strohmengers in 1938 but the name continues to the present day.

 Strohmenger 598 piano
 A Strohmenger grand piano

One of the sons, Arthur Percival (Percy) Strohmenger, was born in 1876 in Tottenham, and he invented arc welding and came up with the first coated electrodes, which were patented. He travelled a great deal: New York, Buenos Aires, South Africa. In 1902 he married Matilda Justina Thunling and they had three children - Kenneth Percival Karl [1905-1967], Phyllis Margaret [1906-1999], and Barbara Joyce [1908-1938]. Barbara died from Leukaemia.

In 1923 Percy bought a litterbrother and sister from the Rev. C. H. Hildebrand. These were Gabriel and Josephine, sire Wyke Mark Dan O'Hagarty, dam Sarah; whelped March 9, 1923. At this time the Strohmengers lived in Coval House, Sunningdale, Berkshire.

At the 1925 Coursing Meeting organised by James Nagle, held at Boscombe Down, Amesbury in January, Phyllis and Barbara Strohmenger were photographed with Josephine.

 Phyllis, Barbara and Josephine
 Phyllis, Josephine and Barbara

In 1925 K.P. Strohmenger bought Gerda of Hindhead from Mr. & Mrs. H.L. Crisp; sire, Cragwood Darragh, dam, Lady Clodagh; whelped February 18, 1925. On April 26, 1926, Gerda had a litter by Gabriel and eight puppies were registered.

One of these pups was King of Coval and in 1927 he won the Type Cup for Dogs, the Brabyns Cup and three 1sts at the L.K.A. He also became a Champion.

King of Coval
 King of Coval
King of Coval 

His littersister, Duchess of Coval, was also kept. Another littersister was Princess of Coval. Although sold to a Mr. Clark this photograph of her remained in the possession of the Strohmengers.

 Princess of Coval
 Princess of Coval

In 1926 K.P. Strohmenger was Secretary of the Irish Wolfhound Club and delegate to the Kennel Club Council of Representatives, while Percy was a Vice-President. In 1927 Kenneth was living in New York and his name had been placed on the Club's Judges list. He came back to England - Southampton - in 1928 but still travelled a great deal. By 1935 he had moved to Hon. Treasurer of the Club (Florence Nagle had taken over as Secretary) but was still delegate to the K.C. At this time he lived in Coval Copse, Black Hills, Esher, Surrey. By 1937 Kenneth had joined his dad as a Vice-President. In the 1938-54 Club Report, he was no longer on the Judges List, although still a Vice-President (Percy was no longer on the list, having died in 1943, but there was no mention of his death in the Club Report), and none of the Strohmengers were any longer listed as Members of the Club. He then went out to Durban, South Africa, from which he returned in 1959. He was then living in Coval House, Forest Row, Sussex, which was where he died on September 18th, 1967.

 Coval House
 Coval House, Forest Row, East Sussex

Kenneth was married in 1931 to Ruth Elizabeth Fuld, at which time he was Company Accountant for the family business. He and Ruth had two children - Pamela Anne Strohmenger [1931- 2010] and Anthony Peter Strohmenger [1937-1952]. Kenneth and Ruth were divorced in 1943. Ruth, who was American, moved back to the USA with the two children. Kenneth's second marriage was in 1944 to Alice Mary Elizabeth

 Kenneth Strohmenger
 Kenneth Strohmenger with Knight of Coval
Knight of Coval was from the Sulhamstead Conncara/Gerda of Hindhead litter, 1927
 Knight of Coval
 Painting by Donald Wood of Knight of Coval, 1929
 Kenneth Strohmenger

Kenneth Strohmenger was a Cutler and in 1926 he was granted the Freedom of the City of London. In 2003 the following details were shown on the website of -

 35 THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF CUTLERS, Copy of Freedom - City of London to
Kenneth Percival Karl Strohmenger, Cutler, during the Mayoralty of Sir William Pryke 1926,
with his silver badge of admission to the Livery 21st April 1926 (maker Thomas & Sons) 42 x 50mm, together with a Past-Master's badge, 1953, of the Cutlers Company bearing on the reverse details of
his admission to Livery 21st April 1926 and Assistant 15th November 1944 (maker Spencer)
oval 35 x 45mm, plus a silver gilt and enamel jewel for 1941-42 for the FLETCHERS COMPANY,
with additional bar 1951-52 (maker Spencer) 45 x 55mm. 4 pieces £775

Sympathy of Grevel [Chivalry Boy of Grevel ex Thora of Ifold, wh. 29th April, 1926] was the next hound to have been added to the Kennel. On July 26th, 1927 Gerda of Hindhead had her second litter, this time sired by Sulhamstead Conncara, from which the Strohmengers kept Saturn of Coval.

Sulhamstead Beta [Sulhamstead Conncara ex Sulhamstead Fianna, wh. 7th July, 1926] was the next addition.

 Sulhamstead Beta
 Sulhamstead Beta

August 18th, 1928, Duchess had a litter of six by Jan of Brabyns, and in 1929 a single puppy was registered as having been whelped on April 11th, 1929 also by Jan of Brabyns ex Duchess. On September 18th, 1929 Duchess had a third litter - again of six, this time by Fionn Mac-Cumall of Brabyns, from which was kept Patience of Coval. On 7th October, 1930 Duchess had another litter - by Gilla of Brabyns - with only one puppy being registered.

On the 12th April, 1933 Patience of Coval had a litter by Saturn of Coval, from which one puppy was registered by the Brabyns kennel. On 13rh July, 1934 Patience had another litter by Saturn, from which four puppies were registered, all by the Brabyns kennel. On the 25th March, 1937 Patience had her third litter, this time by Flynn of Holmehill. One puppy - Sallie of Coval - was retained and the other three were also registered by the Brabyns kennel. This was the last of the Coval litters.

It was Phyllis and Barbara who did all the showing of the hounds but they were also notable for many other reasons. Phyllis, especially, took part in many sporting events, including ice skating, alpine skiing, and tobogganing. She also drove fast cars and took part in events such as the Monte Carlo Rally and in Rallies in Brooklands, other British venues, and Nice.

 Phyllis in one of the cars
 Phyllis in one of the cars in which she raced

By 1925 - when Phyllis was 19 and Barbara 17 - they had qualified to play in the English Ladies' Golf Championship. Barbara finished second and Phyllis fourth but they caused a massive stir - and made a slice of golfing history - by wearing socks on the links. They were the first lady golfers to wear rolled wool socks over silk stockings, which they did at a foursome tournament at Ranelagh, Surrey in 1926.

 Phyllis and Barbara
 Phyllis and Barbara making golfing history

They were to continue playing tournament golf for a further eleven years. Barbara died of leukaemia in 1938.

Phyllis with Covey 
 Phyllis with one of the hounds - named on the back of the
photograph simply as "Covey"
 The Ladies Kennel Association Championship Dog Show at Olympia
on the left, Joan Southey with Crewkerne Georgie and Margot of Clonard,
centre Phyllis Strohmenger with Jospehine and on the right Barbara Strohmenger with Gabriel
 On the benches
 Princess of Coval with Phyllis Strohmenger and King of Coval with Barbara Strohmenger
 The Ladies Kennel Club Show with Phyllis Strohmenger on the left with Gabriel
and Barbara Strohmenger on the right with King of Coval

Phyllis married a gentleman farmer and, as Mrs. Millar, moved to her husband's Coryton Estate near Tavistock in Devon in 1941. Here she took up fishing for trout and salmon and by 1950 she and her husband had become successful breeders of a major herd of pedigree Jersey cattle. In the following year Phyllis embarked on breeding racehorses. She not only raced under her own colours but sold bloodstock to numerous leading personalities in the world of racing, including the Aga Khan. One of her horses, Go Slow, won the National Hunt Cup at Cheltenham in March, 1962. Mr. & Mrs. Millar had two children; a son, Tim, and a daughter, Judy.

 Crufts Show
 Phyllis and Barbara at Crufts Show
 Phyllis at Ranelagh
 Phyllis at Ranelagh
 Barbara and Phyllis
 Barbara with King of Coval and Phyllis with Gabriel

Phyllis loved fashion and bought her clothes from all the top fashion designers, such as Christian Dior, Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies, and apparently kept everything, including the gown she wore for her coming out party. Her husband died in 1979 and she continued at Coryton House, filling one room after another with all her clothing purchases, boxes of hats, furs, and so on. She was also into fine art and antiques and collected racing miscellanea and pictures of horses, as well as sporting equipment. Her daughter died in 1987 and Phyllis died in February, 1999, aged 92, having kept up with her driving and other interests to the end.

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