It's only 136 years since our first show!

johnmac09July 31, 2012

I know it's the time of year when small groups of dedicated volunteers are arranging flower and vegetable shows. We've only just found out that our St Ives Flower and Produce Show, which we restarted in 2010 after a break of 15 years, has an amazing heritage, being a full 136 years since the first show was put on in 1876.

Hosted by the Mayor and Mayoress and ending with a fireworks display, that first show was so popular it quickly established itself as one of the main events in the town's calendar. Many businesses closed at 2pm to allow their staff to attend and there were acrobats, a Montgolfier balloon, fireworks and dancing late into the night for entertainment. The exhibits didn't disappoint, with a section for singing birds and cash prizes of more than �4, equivalent to a month's wages for an agricultural or manual labourer at that time.

I've started to transcribe all the newspaper reports of the events and any other material such as town council minutes. Some of the reports make interesting reading. Additionally, if you have ancestors from Huntingdonshire or Cambridgeshire you can search to see if their name appears as an exhibitor or official, giving a faint echo of what they were doing one Thursday in late July many decades ago. Guidance on how to search is given.

Hope you find the content of interest. Thanks, John

Here is a link that might be useful: Allotment Heaven: St Ives Show since 1876

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