Dolphin Fencing Club

The Club was founded in 1954 by Bill Gatewood and Captain Gordon Tholen, with Prof. W. M. Zaaloff as maitre de armes.

Zaaloff was an diplomat from Tsarist Russia. After the Russian Revolution he settled in Liverpool and established a fencing salle in the 1920s. He also taught fencing at Liverpool and Manchester Universities for many years. His main enthusiasm was for the sabre, a weapon in which he had been the official instructor of for the Imperial Russian Cavalry. 
After the Second World War, the British Fencing Association introduced a new ‘national training scheme’ to qualify amateur coaches. Zaaloff was strongly opposed to it due to his belief that it would lead to half-trained instructors and a subsequent drop in standards. As a result, his salle became one of the last private establishments in the country and remained independent to the end.

Bill Gatewood (an architect for Sefton Council) initially joined Prof. Zaaloffs’ salle in Liverpool, and with less than a years tuition won the “J.D. Aylward” foil competition in 1954. It was shortly before this that he formed the Dolphin Fencing Club.

When Zaaloff died in 1968, the letter Z was incorporated into the center of the clubs’ crest as a mark of respect.

The club has resided in many locations over the years – including the lawn tennis pavilion in Crosby – with an average membership of 10 and a maximum of 30.