Brief History of the Society
The Society dates from 1918, though at least one show had been held before that. The proceeds went to the Grand Fleet Fund for sailors’ comforts. The cup, now presented for the best single exhibit of fruit at the Summer Show, was presented by the officers and men of the grand fleet in 1919 as a mark of thanks for the Society’s (then called the Land Cultivation Show Society) support.
The decade after 1914-18 was one of grand open-air shows, at first at Stag Lane School, then at Blacketts and then the Cedars. Those were the days of marquees, seed-stalls and Rickmansworth Town brass band. In 1928, for the first time, the show made a loss, which caused much ‘heart searching about the state of the economy’. None the less, in 1930 the Society welcomed the new decade by finishing the show with a fireworks display.
The Depression, however, prevailed. No shows were held in ’32, ’33 and ’34. Indoor shows in the Memorial Hall began in 1935 and continued to 1940 when it was decided, on 16th August ‘That in view of the international situation and serious drought it would be unwise to hold a show this year’.
In 1948 the Society was revived. Bernard Wright, Vice President and until recently Chairman, was present at the ‘inaugural meeting’. The Society now puts on three shows a year, organises coach trips to gardens and tries to encourage local gardeners in as many ways as it can, which includes opportunities of buying cheaper seeds and plants.
Gardening was once described to the press by Ann Nelstrop, our Chairman, ‘as the most rewarding of hobbies’ and it would be difficult to prove her wrong.