Know Your Trophies – R W Benningfield Challenge Cup

Benningfield Collection - RNYC Challenge Cup

We are indeed privileged to be members of a historic club which has collected over its long history an impressive array of antiques and other memorabilia all of which contribute to our rich heritage and culture.
In keeping with other historic Royal yacht clubs around the world we have recently researched the history of some of our trophies and will be sharing with members the results of our research in a series of short articles which we hope you will find of interest.
The first trophy to be featured comes from the Benningfield Collection and is the R W Benningfield Challenge Cup.
This ornate and highly decorative sterling silver cup stands at some 50cm including the lid and was presented to the Club in 1901 by Mr Reuben Widdows Benningfield, who was the Commodore of the club 1885-86, and the original deed of gift stated that the trophy was to be contested by all RNYC yachts sailing under a club time allowance.
The trophy was manufactured in 1901 by well known London silversmiths Charles Stuart Harris. This large business of manufacturing silversmiths, C.S. Harris & Sons Ltd, is said to have been commenced by John Mark Harris, a spoon maker, in 1817; he moved c. 1831 to 27 Nelson Street, City Road. It would appear that the firm was continued by John Robert Harris, probably J.M. Harris’s son, who moved c.1842 to 29 Kirby Street, Hatton Garden where he is listed from 1843 until 1852 as a silver spoon and fork manufacturer. The business then passed c.1852 to Charles Stuart Harris, who is listed from 1854 at 29 Kirby Street as an elctro spoon and fork maker, electro plater and gilder and agent for plated wares (1856), electro spoon and fork maker, electro plater and gilder and manufacturer of plated wares and silversmith (1858), and silversmith (1871). In 1885 he purchased the business of D.J. & C. Houle, manufacturing silversmiths, from Charles Houle and the executors of his brother, Daniel John Houle, retaining their workshops at 24 Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell, EC. C.S. Harris opened additional manufacturing premises c.1892 at 41 and 42 Hatton Garden EC. In 1897 the business was converted into a limited liability company under the style of C.S. Harris and Sons, Ltd. described as, ‘manufacturing gold and silversmiths, manufacturers of and dealers in gold and silver plate, wire and lace, dealers in gold and silver, diamonds and other precious metals and stones, electroplaters, silverers and jewellers, etc,’ with premises at 41 and 42 Hatton Garden, EC, 28 & 29 Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, EC, and 23 and 24 Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell, EC, and the directors recorded as Henry Stuart Harris, Walter Stuart Harris, Edwin Stuart Harris, Alfred Stuart Harris, and Frederick Stuart Harris. C.S. Harris & Sons Ltd. were also in possession of premises at 13 & 14 Bateman Street, Soho, acquired, probably in December 1897, from Arthur Stuart Harris and Ernst Stuart Harris, trading as Harris brothers, and maintained until c.1906. C.S. Harris & Sons Ltd continued in business until 1933/34, latterly giving up all their premises except those at 41 & 42 Hatton Garden. They were subsequently incorporated into I Freeman & Sons Ltd. manufacturing silversmiths and dealers in antique silver and plated wares of 23 Hatton Garden, EC.
The Club’s trophy register records that the R W Benningfiled Challenge Cup was won by the “Nipper” in January 1903 sailed by G G Benningfield under a sealed handicap. It is interesting to note that there was no race in 1910-1911, no starters for the race held on 6th February 1926, perhaps due to the weather, and no race held in 1927-1928.
On 4th March 1935 with the consent of the eldest son the Donor the conditions of the deed of gift were amended to read “Open for competition amongst “A” class yachts registered in the Royal Natal Yacht or Point Yacht Club under sealed handicap.”
No contest was held for the trophy for the duration of the Second World War and from the mid 1960’s the trophy has been awarded to dinghy sailors.
According to the trophy register previous winners of this magnificent trophy are recorded as:

21st January 1903 Nipper G G Benningfield
16th April 1904 Schelew G W R Cooke
21st March 1905 Doreen F Chiazzario
9th April 1906 Comet W Gordge
14th January 1907 Osiole H Spradbrow
18th January 1908 Shingana Grice & Co
3rd April 1909 Shingana Grice & Co
11th December 1909 Shingana Grice & Co
17th February 1912 Midget R E Hooper
7th December 1912 Florence H Spradbrow
13th December 1913 Mamba D Fowler
20th March 1920 Patricia R E Brown
22nd January 1921 Patricia R E Brown
29th December 1923 Umtakati H Spradbrow
4th April 1925 Umtakati H Spradbrow
22nd January 1927 My Lady Dainty R E Brown
2nd February 1929 Umtakati H Spradbrow
6th December 1930 Elf G H Goodricke
6th February 1932 Elf G H Goodricke
11th February 1933 Elf G H Goodricke
30th March 1935 Elf L N Horsfield
7th March 1936 My Lady Dainty R E Brown
20th February 1937 Mayfly J Jones & R Stead
8th January 1938 Mayfly R Stead
14th January 1939 White Heather H Hill
31st January 1948 Fleetwood D E Gillan
22nd January 1949 My Lady Dainty D Mathews
5th November 1949 Sirocco W G Gunn
7th October 1950 Sirocco W G Gunn
12th January 1952 Sirocco W G Gunn
6th December 1952 Sigma R D Selfton
8th December 1953 Fleetwood D E Gillan
14th December 1954 Sagaeity H Sefton
5th November 1955 Taefing A A Goudswand
8th December 1956 Latika W B Tip
21st December 1957 Catena F W Wray
20th December 1958 Golatea G Reynolds
19th March 1960 Finatic B Mc Currock
5th November 1960 Funagalore J Whittle
11th November 1961 Sitisi G Goodricke
24th November 1962 Golatea G Reynolds
22nd February 1964 Banshee O B Smith (Finn)
20th March 1965 Faux Pas E Shaw (Finn)
30th April 1966 Vanessa B Smith (Finn)
22nd April 1967 Fame
Figaro J Howard
D Campbell
22nd February 1969 Girl Pat W Marriott
21st March 1970 Girl Pat W Marriott
11th December 1971 Wilfred II C Schmidt (Cadet)
15th April 1973 Dabble N Dibb (Dabchick)
1977 Salu C Butterworth (Paper Tiger)
1982 Mean Machine E R Atherstone (Laser)
1983 M Flack (Laser)
1984 R Clark (Laser)
1985 B Savage (Laser)
1986 E Howard (Laser)
1987 J Swain (Laser)
1988` J Watt (Laser)
1989 J Keogh (Laser)
1995 C Alexander (Laser)
1999 R Bester (Laser)

By Margie