Barwick-in-Elmet Horticultural Society Part 3 Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page

Barwick-in-Elmet Horticultural Society
Part 3


from The Barwicker No.83
Sept. 2006

At the beginning of the nineteen eighties, the Society had been in existence for a decade and a half and was an established and valued part of life in Barwick and the neighbourhood (see 'The Barwicker' Nos.66 and 75 ). At that time it held a series of monthly speakers' meetings in the Barwick Junior School on Aberford Road and held, in the spring, a popular bring-and buy sale. In the summer, regular outings by coach to local and more distant venues were made. It held a well-supported annual show in September and an autumn show on the evening of the annual general meeting in November. It ran a very successful bulk ordering scheme for fertilisers and seed potatoes with the cricket pavilion used as the distribution point.

Elected officials and a committee met monthly in the village hall and a small sub-committee organised the shows. At the beginning of the decade, the membership was about 250 and the financial situation was sound.

The Society had established contacts with many commercial and other organisations throughout the country and these proved useful when speakers and outings were considered. Those involved in local history must commend the way the Society has preserved its records of the 1980s, including the committee minutes from 1982, show schedules from 1984 and a collection of printed notices for the whole of the decade. The officers of the Society during the decade were;

  • Mr J Stanley Robshaw (1981-84),
  • Mr H Catchpole (1984-87),
  • Rev. Terry Munro (1987-8),
  • Mrs Helen M Lawson (1988-89)
  • Mrs Helen M Lawson (1980-87),
  • Mrs Sadie Healey (1987-90)

  • Mr A Roberts (1980-1986),
  • Mrs Mary Scarlet (1986-90)
Assistant Secretary:
  • Mrs T Harrison (1981-1984)
  • Miss Dorothy M Eades (1980-82)
  • Mr K Ruddleston (1982-1900)

Jim Hannam and GW Stephenson, who had been auditors since the establishment of the Society, continued their valuable work in 1980. In the following two years, the former acted in this capacity with J Burrow and then on his own for the rest of the decade, a most commendable record of service. The Society lost the services of several long standing officers during the decade. Miss Dorothy M Eades, who had been treasurer since the founding of the Society retired in 1982. Mr A. Roberts who had been secretary for over a decade retired in 1986 and was made a vice-president. Mrs Helen Lawson who had been chairman for a decade and a half retired from the post in 1987 after a eye injury but later became president.

Harry Teale who was show manager for many years died in November 1988. After asking the committee to observe a two minutes silence at the meeting on the day he died, the chairman, Mrs Sadie Healey, said about him: "He was one of the longest serving members of the Society and also the 'king pin' in nearly all the events. He ordered the seeds, grew the plants from seedlings, organised us all at the show and knew endless speakers and judges. His wealth of knowledge cannot be replaced."

Most of the speakers during the 1980s kept to the familiar horticultural topics but we have evidence of the popularity of holidays at home and abroad with a number of talks illustrated by holiday photographs. 'Gardeners Question Time' programmes were arranged in December or January during the early part of the decade.

During the 1970s, the society organised many visits by coach to gardens, nurseries and shows during the summer months. This kind of activity seems to have been very infrequent in the first half of the 1980s, perhaps because more people had cars. In the latter half of the decade there were occasional visits to such places as Red Hall, the Harrogate Flower Show, Hazlewood Castle, Harewood House, Golden Acre Park and Mrs Boydell's garden in Aberford. There were few if any long distance trips that had been such a feature of the society's programme in the previous decade.

Each year the Society held a bring-and-buy plant sale at its April speaker's meeting. The philosophy behind the sale is clearly described in the notice for the 1980 sale.

"This (the sale) gives you the opportunity to buy, at little expense, new replacement plants for your garden. We ask you to look round your garden, sort out, and bring along to us your surplus plants, i.e. split perennials, pot plants, rockery plants, etc. and put these up for sale. Members of the committee will price your gifts and offer them for sale in aid of the society's funds."

At the Annual General Meeting of 1980, membership was 241, the subscriptions being: single - 75p, double - 1, senior citizens single - 35p, Double - 50p. These brought in 104 and the profit on fertiliser scheme was a similar sum, these two items being the largest sources of income. Stationery, postage, etc. cost the Society 54 and hire of rooms 65. The Inland Revenue collected 10 in corporation tax. The annual balance was a healthy 456.

Order forms for the bulk buying scheme show that in 1980, 14 solid and one liquid fertiliser, and five other products were available in bulk as well as five varieties of early and three of main crop potatoes. A seed purchasing scheme also operated but few details of this are given in the minutes and notices.

The first annual show schedule for the 1980s which has been preserved is that for the 19th show of September 1984. It lists the officials of the Society, the judges and rules for the show and the sponsors, who were mainly local individuals and businesses. The classes were:

This gives a total of 74 classes compared with 63 in 1970.

There were several new trophies compared with 1970 and some changes in entry requirements for existing trophies. These are here described in full.
There were 20 other prizes, mainly donated by sponsoring companies. The Sedgwick Cup had been donated in 1982 by the British Legion in memory of Mr L Sedgwick.

The Norman Pollard Cup was later presented to the Society by Mrs Sheila Pollard in memory of her husband. It was given for the best children's entry and was first awarded in 1988. The Pollards were keen supporters of the Society and each year before the show the cups and trophies were displayed in their newsagent's window. Mrs Herrington donated a Cookery Cup to replace the Cookery prize she had given for many years. The cup was first awarded in 1989.

A small Autumn show was continued to be held on the evening of the annual general meeting. In 1983 there were 11 classes, one more than the 1975 show. These were:
That year the show "had not proved very successful" with only 35 entries from 7 exhibitors.

The society's speakers meetings, shows and AGMs had been held since its formation in the Junior School, but the committee meetings had been held in the Village Hall since the early 1980s at least. The closing of the school in 1985 necessitated a change in venue and all activities were held in the Village Hall from that time onwards, except the 1985 AGM and autumn show which was held in the Welfare Institute, the Village Hall being unavailable. The 1985 annual show was a great success. The minutes report that: "The 20th annual show was held for the first time in the Village Hall. This proved an ideal setting, all the exhibits being in the same room, thus making an impressive display."

The planning of the annual show took much time and effort. Soon after the AGM, the show secretary, manager and sub-committee were elected. The venue had to be booked and the judges appointed. The number and description of the classes, the entry fees and prizes were considered and any proposed changes classes, the entry fees and prizes were considered and any proposed changes were submitted to the main committee. Publicity was organised through local venues and in the press. From time to time, the trophies needed repair and renovation. Tables had to be borrowed from a variety of locations. Duties on the day were allocated, usually to committee members. The sale of refreshments at the show became a much valued feature. The show schedule had to be prepared for printing well before the show date. The finances of the show were carefully noted and a separate balance sheet was produced every year at the AGM. It was this careful planning that ensured the success of the shows for many years and the officials concerned are to be congratulated on a job well done.

Membership of the Society was 241 in 1980. It fell seriously to 134 in 1985 but then rose until, at the end of the decade, it stood at 162. The annual balance in 1980 was 455. It fell to 315 in 1982 and remained at about this level until the second half of the decade. It then rose steadily until in 1989 it stood at 1424, a total which must have given great satisfaction to the members at the time. The future of Barwick-in-Elmet Horticultural society looked secure.


Back to the top
Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page