History Series 1 - The origins of the 145-year-old Shropshire County Show

History Series 1 - The origins of the 145-year-old Shropshire County Show<

History Series 1 - The origins of the 145-year-old Shropshire County Show

2020 marks the 145th anniversary of the West Mid Show - now known under its new guise as the Shropshire County Show. 

But did you know it was not always held at the county showground?

And did you know the Queen has been one of the event’s distinguished guests?

There is a lot of history behind our wonderful show and a special series of blogs - leading us up to the 145th anniversary - will tell you all about it!

The first show

The first official show was held on Thursday, July 29, 1875, and emerged from the growing number of local agricultural organisations in the area. 

Since the early 1800s travelling judges had visited livestock holders across Shropshire and prizes were awarded at annual meetings. 

The notion of organising the competition into one large-scale event was promoted by the editor of the Eddowes Shropshire Journal in December 1873. 

He wrote calling for an annual show of beef and mutton, and in subsequent months the numerous agricultural groups operating in the area joined the movement.

The idea grew and a proposal to include the wider areas of Herefordshire and Montgomeryshire lead to the formation of a West Midlands District event. 

Building up to the proposed July dates, organisers struggled to attract financial support from the ‘leading citizens’ of Shrewsbury and many calls were made in the press to ensure the show could go on… which eventually it did.

Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society

The Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society was formed to preside over the joint West Midland District event and arranged a two-day show that would feature the agriculture, poultry, and horticultural exhibits. 

Despite numerous protests against holding the event in Shrewsbury’s leafy Quarry, it did in fact host the inaugural West Midlands Show, with people travelling from far and wide to attend.

A successful first show

Records show that visitors were treated to four sheds of sheep, two housing pigs, a cattle ring, more than 40 horse boxes, a large tent for wool, butter and cheese, and two refreshment areas - one for first class visitors, and one for second. 

The horticultural exhibits were displayed in a separate arena, and there was also musical entertainment from the Band of the Coldstream Guards, and the Shropshire Militia.

The introductory West Midlands District Show was hailed by the local press for being ‘a brilliant success’.

It brought many of the recent developments in agricultural practices and farming mechanisation to public consciousness.

The Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society became a strong voice in the agricultural domain - and still is today!

 

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