Thropton WI’s first speaker of 2017 delved into history to give members an insight into the running of the Glendale Show.
This annual event began in 1896, and although it now takes place on August Bank Holiday Monday, it did not have a fixed date until 1971.
Margaret Brown, from the committee, concentrated on the first 100 years of the show, making use of old records to provide a fascinating glimpse into local history.
She astonished us with the escalating costs of staging what has become a major event in North Northumberland, which costs £80,000 each year.
Competitions are the basis of the show and over the years, from a limited beginning of driving classes for tradesmen, they have grown to cover diverse rural skills, including honey, horses, sheep and poultry classes, which were introduced as ‘something for the ladies’.
Quoits became a competition for farm servants, cattle classes were added, and dogs, butter and eggs joined the list of competitions. A horticultural element became an important part of the show, and hedging, horse-drawn ploughing, poultry plucking and dressing and rabbit classes were added.
Members were glad to learn that the WI has been participating since 1945.
Margaret summed up the committee’s perennial problems as health and safety, car parking, the cost of insuring the cups and the need to break even, which the society does manage to do.
There is also a more recent problem of the river flooding, which has changed the area of the show field. However, with local shows as ‘feeder’ events, a dedicated committee and generous subscribers, the Glendale Show will go on.
Prior to Margaret’s most interesting talk, our business meeting had covered the outline plans for Thropton’s 95th birthday celebrations, a summer trip to Beamish, a coffee morning to support the North Northumberland Hospice and our monthly walk.
Our secretary reported on the Rothbury Hospital campaign, and we voted on the resolutions for the National Federation’s AGM.
Our next meeting will be on February 1, when we shall learn about Harbottle School in the Coquet Valley. New members are welcome.