The Guild originates from the mid-60’s when a group of Hampshire flytyers, led by the guilds founder Don Haynes decided to form a fly tying club. The club’s first official meeting was held at the Anglers Inn, Bishopstoke, Hampshire in the October of 1967. The Rother Valley Branch of the Fly Dressers Guild now meets in Havant only 16 miles from the birth place of the Guild. We meet at the Bear Hotel in Havant on Tuesday evenings from September to the end March.
The branch started in the September of 1988 and consisted of 12 people meeting at Owen Evans house in Chichester the first branch meeting took place on March 13th 1989 at the Lord Raglan Public House Emsworth, about 20 people attended. The branch was declared active by Donald Downs, Owen Evans was the first branch secretary, Frank Johnson was the first Chairman. The tying programme started in the September of 89 with a membership of around 30 and was originally called the West Sussex and East Hants.
This was shortened in time to the Rother Valley Branch and changed again to the Rother guild to simplify banking .
The branch has changed its meeting place several times over the years from the Lord Raglan to The Ship at Langstone to the Emsworth Conservative Club to the Havant Leisure Centre and to date the Bear Hotel in Havant. The membership increased steadily over the years up to 61 but sadly this has decreased to the current level of 12 with about 50% active attending regularly to branch meeting twice monthly from September to March (Monday's). We have a large catchment area with members coming from Gosport to Midhurst to Arundel.
The Branch welcomes all new members experienced tyers to completed beginners, we run a varied tying program including chalk stream flies, Pike and Salt water patterns, as well as the still water flies , In the 2015 season starting in September we will be starting the fly dresser's guild award scheme for our members.
As well as making flies we enjoy using them and have regular fishing trip and competitions to local waters.