Barwick-in-Elmet Horticultural Society Part 2 Back to the Main Historical Society page
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Barwick-in-Elmet Horticultural Society Part 2


from The Barwicker No.75
Sept. 2004


After only five years of existence (see 'The Barwicker' No.66), the society in 1970 was engaged in most of the activities that take place today. The committee met every month in Barwick School (from 1971 called Barwick Junior School). The programme for the year was planned with much care, and correspondence and the state of the finances were discussed. The minutes of the committee and general meetings were carefully and comprehensively recorded in longhand in three exercise books up to the annual general meeting of November 1976. The running of the society involved a lot of work by the officials and the committee was always careful to re-imburse the secretary in particular for the considerable expenses involved in correspondence and travel. One and later two assistant secretaries were elected to help to spread the load.

During the winter, the society met monthly in the school for talks, usually by guest speakers and often with slides, on all aspects of the growing of flowers, pot plants, bulbs, shrubs, vegetables, fruit, etc. Other related topics discussed were floral art (a particular favourite), bee-keeping, pickles and preserves, wine making. At some meetings, films hired from commercial organisations were shown using the society's projector.

Each year the society held a spring bulb and plant show but the minutes give few details. The small-scale nature of this event is shown when in 1971 there were only 11 entrants with 18 entries at 5p each, but in the following years this increased markedly. In 1975 it was reported that there were nine classes: hyancinths, tulips, daffodils or narcissi, any other bulb or corm, pot plant (flowers), pot plant (foliage), trailing or climbing plant, cacti or succulents, tree or shrub. Entries however slumped and it was suggested that the show should be cancelled but in fact it continued until 1976.

Also in the spring, a bring-and-buy plant sale was held at a speaker's or film show meeting, and usually made a small profit. A local gardens competition was considered but abandoned because of lack of support.

Outings by coach were arranged in the summer months, some to local venues such as to Red Hall, Golden Acre Park, Harlow Carr, Bramham Park and Lotherton Hall, but others of a longer distance including Chatsworth House, Trentham Gardens, Ness Botanical Gardens and Alton Towers. It was on a trip to the last venue that the coach had a puncture on the return journey and did not get back to Barwick until after midnight. An ambitious outing to Syon Park in Middesex involving an overnight stay was considered, as was a weekend trip to Holland, but there was not sufficient support.

The society continued to organise a successful bulk buying scheme for fertilisers and other chemical products, usually supplied by Woodheads. In 1970, 8 tons were ordered at cost of 271 and a profit of almost 30 was made. Later the scheme was extended to include seed potatoes. There were difficulties in securing a regular distribution point until the cricket pavilion was used.

An annual show was held at Barwick Junior School usually in early September. The printed schedule for only one year in the 1970s has been retained. This is the fifth annual show held on 29 August 1970. The schedule lists the officers and committee of the Society and the show judges and rules. The classes were:

  • Open - Flowers (6 classes),
  • Open - Vegetables (4 ),
  • Members - Flowers (15),
  • Members - Vegetables (16),
  • Members - Novice Section (7),
  • Open - Floral Art (3),
  • Open - Cookery (5),
  • Open - Wine (4),
  • Open - Children (3)
  • Total of 63 classes.

  • With the introduction of more trophies, some alteration in the awarding was made :

  • The Brett Cup - Highest number of points in the Members sections
  • The Elmet Shield - Highest number of points in the Members Flowers and Novice Roses sections.
  • The Scargill Cup - Best exhibit in the Members sections
  • The Williams Cup - Best exhibit in the Members and Novices Vegetable classes.
  • The President's Vase - Best exhibit submitted by an amateur in the Members and Novices Rose classes.

  • Reports of this and later shows were given in the Skyrack Express and include the details which are listed in the table below. There were 18 more prizes donated by business sponsors and this number was maintained or increased in subsequent years. Each year the committee considered altering the number and definitions of the show classes to take into account previous experience.

    Financial particulars of the show were adjusted from time to time as when at the 1970 Annual General Meeting, the fee was raised to 1/- per entry. Also in that year because of the imminent change to decimal currency, membership fees were adjusted to: single - 5s. (25p), double - 7s. (35p), pensioners' single - 2s. (10p), pensioners' double - 3s. (15p). From time to time it was suggested at committee meetings that small replicas of the trophies should be made for the winners to keep but this was turned down because of the cost.

    In 1971, Mr Teale presented to the society a cup, the origin of which was not revealed in the minutes. It was professionally renovated and named 'The Barwick Cup'. It was to be presented for the best exhibit in the members vegetable section, which involved some changes in the criteria for the awarding of the other trophies. In 1973, following a number of incidents at past annual shows, the committee took out public liability insurance but not personal accident cover for the officials. The annual general meetings were held in early November. The secretary, show secretary and treasurer presented their reports. The membership rose to about 250 in the mid 1970s and the finances were generally sound, the balance in 1974 being 290. Most activities made a profit. Officers were elected for the year but previous office holders were usually re-elected if they wished to continue.

    In July 1970, Mr FD Johnston, an orthopaedic consultant at Pontefract Hospital and the new owner of Potterton Hall, accepted the office of president, which had been vacant since the resignation of Mr Edward Horner in November 1969. A few weeks later he asked if the society or any individual would be willing to take over the walled garden and greenhouses at Potterton Hall, in return supplying the family with fruit and vegetables. This was considered and eventually turned down for reasons not stated.

    The last entry covered by the minute books is the AGM of 1976, at which officials were elected for the year 1976-7. The unavailablity of the minutes after November 1976 produces some gaps in our information regarding the officials in the years to the end of the decade. The list is::

    President Mr FD Johnston (1970-79)
    Chairman Mr Joseph Henry Sutcliffe (1969-71)
    Mr Horace George Ward (1971-73)
    Mrs Helen M Lawson (1973-80)
    Secretary Mr Donald F Wormald (1969-1971)
    Mr Joseph H Sutcliffe (1971-1975)
    Mr A Roberts (1975-80)
    Assistant Secretary (1) Mr Robert E Redman (1969-1970)
    Mrs Olive Gray (1970-1978)
    Assistant Secretary (2) Mr D Roberts (1975-79)
    Treasurer Miss Dorothy M Eades (1969-80)

    Messrs George Stephenson and Jim Hannam had acted as auditors from the beginning of the society and continued in this invaluable task during the whole of the 1970s. The Society had established links with other organisations both in the neighbourhood and beyond. Through Mr Wormald and Mr CG (Charlie) Naylor, the Headmaster, a school gardening club had been established and the children involved had been given associate membership status in the Society.

    The School Gardening Club. c.1970. l. to r.: Ian Coulthard, Philip Perkins,Ian Proctor, Sara Pamenter, Donald Wormald, Karen Burks, Rod Hewitt, Janet Roberts, Charlie Naylor.

    In 1971 after several years as Secretary, Mr Wormald resigned because of ill-health. The committee sent him a letter of thanks for all his work for the society, together with floral tributes and a pewter tankard, and he was made a Vice-President. He died in early 1972.

    In the early 1970s, in association with the Barwick parish council, a 'Scheme for Beautifying the Village' was started. Using a grant of money from the council, the society planted shrubs in Main Street. It was later reported that there was a lot of rubbish on the shrub planting site and we are told that "some members of the council had personally moved the rubbish into one heap" and this was later removed. 18 shrubs did not survive the winter and had to be replaced. A year or so later it was found that many of the shrubs had died and it was decided that only wall-growing varieties were practical.

    At this time, Barwick Council also proposed a scheme for the planting of trees in Jack Heaps' Field and asked for help. Although the Society supported the aims of the scheme, they were reluctant to be involved and suggested that the matter should be referred to the West Riding CC horticultural advisers. The disappointments of the shrub planting scheme might have been the reason for the Society's reluctance to assist this tree planting, although individual members did help.

    The Society was an affiliate member of the Ainsty Institute of Further Education at Askham Bryan which provided lectures and speakers on horticulture, and later the use of their premises for meetings, etc. The Society displayed its trophies and some plants at an exhibition there. The committee worked in close association with the institute when its courses were being planned. This asociation became closer when Mr Naylor was appointed community activities officer for the Institute in 1974. The Society became an affiliate member of the National Vegetable Society which provided literature and other information. They also provided a certificate for the "most meritorious vegetable exhibit" in the society's show. The secretary must have been on the mailing list of many gardens, nurseries, etc., as correspondence from them was frequently discussed at committee meetings.

    1970 ended with a successful 'Gardeners' Question Time' with a panel of invited guests. This was repeated in Decembers 1971 and 1973 but the attendance at the latter meeting was disappointing. The event was not held for several years but it was re-introduced in 1979. In December 1972, there was a well-attended BBC Gardeners' Question Time at Scholes Village Hall and sponsored by Sherburn High School PTA. A question from Mr Teale was included in the radio broadcast. Applications for the society to host its own BBC show were not successful.

    From 1970 onwards, the newsagents, Mr and Mrs Norman Pollard, gave the use of their window for display of trophies and prizes. In 1971, a leek growing competition was organised, when plants were supplied by a grower to the entrants, who could buy not more than three. Cultivation instructions were provided and the grown vegetables were judged at the annual show. Relations with the school continued to be good and in 1972 the rector, Revd. Norman Butcher, who was chairman of the school governers, was made a vice-president, as was Mr Ward, the retiring chairman a year later.

    One of the committee members, Mr Donald Rushton offered to supply 100 fuschia cuttings for cultivation by members to be judged in a special class at the 1973 show. These were available in May at 5p each, all monies to be returned as prize money. This class was in addition to the special leek and celery classes. There were some problems regarding space at the school for the show and it was suggested that they should look into the possibility of hiring a marquee but the problem was aleviated in future years by using three classrooms and the annexe in addition to the hall to house the exhibits.

    In late 1973, Plantland Ltd. offered discounts on plants and other products to society members. Discounts from Woodheads, the fertiliser supplier, were also available to members.

    In 1974 it was reported that attendance at meetings was not as high as it had been earlier in the decade so at the AGM the society decided to hold an autumn show which attracted more members. That year there were 15 pot plants and 15 chrysanthemums displayed. This autumn show was continued in future years.

    From 1975 onwards, for the rest of the decade and beyond, the society has preserved copies of the typed and duplicated notices sent out to members. These give additional details of meetings, etc. In this year, a scheme by which members could order seeds from Samuel Dobie and Sons, Sutton and Sons, and J Unwin was considered but there is no report of it being implimented. Also in 1975 Mr V Herrington presented a trophy, 'The Herrington Cup', for the exhibitor with the most points in the chrysanthemum sections at the autumn show.

    The notices include the annual balance sheets of the society and the show. For the year 1974-75, the society ended with a balance of 377. The biggest source of income were membership subscriptions for 273 members and from the sale of fertilisers. (Subscriptions were raised the following year to : single - 30p, double - 45p, pensioners' single - 15p, double - 25p.) The biggest items of expenditure were stationery, postage, etc. and the officials' car allowance and honoraria. The annual show made a small loss. That year Mr Sutcliffe was made a vice-president.
    Horticutural Society Worthies - late 1960s.
    (Photo by Skyrack Express)
    Left to right. Back row; Jim Hannam, Horace Ward, Harry Teale, Mark Keats, Mrs Williams, Fred Scargill.
    Front Row : Joe Sutcliffe, Dorothy Eades, Edward Horner, Donald Wormald.

    The notices also gave details of the autumn shows which were held on the night of the AGM. The ten classes in 1975 were:

    1. three chrysanthemums (incurved)
    2. three chrysanthemums (reflexed),
    3. three spray crysanthemums
    4. one specimen bloom
    5. pot plant (flowers)
    6. pot plant (foliage)
    7. trailing or climbing plant
    8. pot of cacti or succulents
    9. collection of cacti or succulents
    10. three apples.

    In 1976, the January notice to members included details of the bulk fertiliser scheme. 14 solid and one liquid fertiliser were included as well as three other products, and two early and three main crop seed potatoes. There was no report of a seed ordering scheme. In 1976, Mr and Mrs Butcher presented a rose-bowl to be called 'The Rector's Trophy' to be presented at the annual show to a member who had never won a trophy before and awarded on the over-all number of points gained in the show. Also that year Miss Eades donated a trophy for pot plants named 'The Lily Kitching Trophy' in memory of her friend.

    The last entry in the minute book was a report on the AGM of November 1976. For the rest of the 1970s, the only sources of information are the meeting notices and newpaper articles. These show that the regular speakers' meetings, outings, the annual and autumn shows, and the bring-and-buy sale continued as before. After 1976, there was no spring show during the rest of the decade. Membership rose to almost 300 in the mid 1970s but sank to below 250 at the end of the decade, although the finances remained in a healthy state. Two new less welcome features of the accounts were the payment to the Inland Revenue of corporation tax to the value of about 30 for the three years 1976-79 and the cost of the hire of the school hall, which rose from nothing in 1974-5 to 60 in 1978-9.

    The society seems to have done nothing itself to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee in the summer of 1977 except to arrange a visit to Leeds to see the preparations made by the parks department to brighten the city in readiness for the Queen's visit on 13 July. Despite this, the society could look back over the decade with great satisfaction at their regular programmes of talks, visits and shows.


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