The Chipping and District Agricultural and Horticultural Show History

The first The Chipping and District Agricultural and Horticultural Show History was held on 2nd October 1920 on a field at Dairy Farm, Goose Lane. This field was placed at the disposal of the committee by one of its members and a pioneer of the show, Miss Margaret Knowles. Miss Knowles lived at Radcliffe Cottage and ran the farm and the dairy which at the time produced 100 Lancashire cheeses per week, each weighing 50lb.

The first president was Capt. J Berkeley, Chairman and Treasurer Mr H J Berry and joint secretaries Messrs T Procter and W Forshaw. According to a report in the Preston Guardian, ‘the success that attended this inaugural gathering was remarkable considering that only three weeks had elapsed since the suggestion to form an agricultural society assumed definite shape’. The next three shows were held on the Dairy Farm field, followed by nine years on Wharf Farm field. Other venues since 1933 include Brick House field opposite the Police Station, Talbot Meadow, now the playing field, Clark House and Leagram Park. During the five years from 1940 to 1944 inclusive, the normal show was not held because of the war, however, Chipping, Goosnargh and Longridge Agricultural Societies worked together and ran small shows to raise money for the Red Cross.

Japan surrendered on the 14th August 1945 and on the 1st September 1945 Chipping & District Agricultural Society held their 21st show for war charities. The profit was £174, which was a record at that time. It was customary to hold a dance in the Oddfellows Hall after the show but this was stopped many years ago. Other social events have been held over the years to boost funds. Currently a bingo is held annually and a ‘200 Club’ started in 1984, continues to be well supported. The years 1948 to 1954 do not appear to have been particularly good ones for the Society. In spite of the show dance and the Farmers’ Ball which often saved the treasurer from reporting a loss; losses were recorded on four out of five shows. In 1952 it was decided not to have a show because of Preston Guild; 1953 was Coronation year and again there was no show. In 1954 the Society became Chipping & District Agricultural & Horticultural Society and held the 28th show which made a loss of £12. That year also saw the introduction of the first Show Queen and a sub committee of ladies was formed to oversee all arrangements and events relevant to the Queen; this was a feature of the show for 13 years. This period was the nadir in the history of the society; there were no reserves in the bank and a dispirited committee. Slowly and surely as a result of hard work by the committee, from that time onwards the reputation of Chipping Show has grown and has become established as one of the finest village shows in the region. Since buying the showground the society has been able to establish hard road surfaces, a storage building, a toilet block and water and electricity supplies. Hundreds of trees have been planted, which as times goes by will provide shelter and beauty to enhance the already picturesque setting. It is a valuable asset and with the permission of the society, has been used for events organised by other organisations.

At the present time the show committee meets approximately 8 times a year and hold an annual meeting in winter when the balance sheet is presented and the President, Chairman and other officers are elected. The show is an important community project, held in an idyllic setting, unspoilt by the increasing urbanisation which is threatening the rural idyll in many parts of Britain. It is a ‘window’ on country life and those of us who may have lost touch with many aspects of it can refresh our minds and renew our interest.

As we gaze upon all that has been produced from that vital few inches of soil which covers our lands; let us give thanks and marvel at the wonders of God’s creation.