The Nether Whitacre and District Flower Show and Horticultural Society was founded in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. In the same year, Doc Holliday, the gambler and gunfighter, died and General ‘Monty’ Montgomery; the horror film star Boris Karloff; and the artist L S Lowry were born. 1887 also saw the first production of the single malt whisky, Glenfiddich.
In May of that year, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show opened in London and 2 months later on 15 July, 6 local men met at Whitacre Hall to found the Horticultural Society. Twelve days later the committee held its second meeting and the new chairman resigned when it was decided not to include the parish of Shustoke in the Society. It later joined in February 1889.
The first show was held on Saturday, 20 August 1887 at Nether Whitacre ‘in a field belonging to Mr John Hale‘. The admission price for the public was one shilling and the rules stated that ‘any intoxicated person will be at once expelled’. The Coleshill Chronicle published an extensive report of the show in its edition of 27 August and included a full list of prize winners. The President of the Society, the Rev B W J Trevaldwyn, was quoted as saying that ‘the Society has been started with the highest and best intentions – that of encouraging the cottagers and others to endeavour to excel in the productions of their gardens and allotments, and to promote a healthy rivalry not only between individuals but between neighbouring parishes’.
Now, 130 years later, the 69th Annual Show will take place on Saturday, 29th July 2017. Over the years it has expanded and developed but it retains many of the traditional values of that first Show. The horticultural theme remains vital of course, but so too is the social aspect of the event, bringing together families from the local area and beyond.
*Minute Book kindly loaned by
Mrs Maureen Hawthorne