Early Days

Thomas Edward Brown’s sentiments must surely have been in the hearts and minds of Congresbury gardeners when, in 1936 they decided to hold their very own Flower Show.

The idea, at first, was an intention to hold a modest little effort in the Memorial Hall in the summer of that year, but such was the interest aroused in the village that like “Topsy” it just growed and growed! Eventually, other village organisations decided that they wanted to join in and it was decided to transfer the whole event to the fair ground beside the river, and to stage the Flower Show in a proper marquee with the local MP Mr Ian Orr-Ewing to open the proceedings in a formal manner.

Judging by the amount of space given to the Show by the local press, and the quite fulsome praise given by the reporters, the show was a considerable success.

In his opening remarks, Mr Orr-Ewing is quoted as “being quite certain that after the magnificent display Congresbury had staged on their first venture that day, they would continue with the show in the future”.

One is tempted to wonder whether Mr Orr-Ewing had the gift of second sight, because in 1989, the Congresbury and District Horticultural Society will stage their 50th Show.

One of the ways in which the occasion is to be celebrated is by the publication of this booklet to put on record some of the more notable events that have occurred in those years.

The officials organising this first show were President - Dr Prance, Chairman - Mr F P Farr, Secretary - Mr C.W. Allen and Treasurer - Mr F. Pincott and theirs were the responsibilities and difficulties involved in staging the village’s first Flower Show. With a total of some 350 individual entries there were many “responsibilities” but the administration appears to have been excellent as the lengthy and enthusiastic press reports confirm. The next year 1937, there was a great demand for a Flower Show again and, in fact, this second show attracted over 600 entries.

The shows continued annually and prospered but the intervention of the Second World War interrupted this happy progression and there were no shows for several years.

From the very start the Society’s objectives were to show to the world what beautiful flowers, fruit and vegetables were produced every year in the gardens of this village.

These organisers had formed themselves into a Society under the name of “Congresbury, Hewish and Puxton Horticultural Society” but some years later this was amended to “Congresbury and District Horticultural Society” which title it retains to the present day. Such a title sounds a bit pompous but the object of the Society remains to form a friendly association of members of the local community in order to share the pleasures of “horticulture” - “the art of garden culture”.

In plain words, the Society is a group of local people who enjoy gardening and they also believe that the word “enjoy” is of at least equal importance to “gardening”.

Early Days