Potted History of the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show

2012Probably the wettest year ever, the ground had survived the setting up, the day before show was warm and dry, it all looked good! At 9am on Show morning it started to rain, continuous torrential rain until 2pm. The showground survived quite well but car parks were waterlogged. Those brave visitors all seemed to enjoy the experience.
2009One of the hottest summers the show has had for a long time! What a brilliant turnout.
200713th. Show at Turnpike!! Wettest July on record, horses cancelled because parking area too wet, F&M outbreak announced on Saturday 10 days before Show. The Show went ahead without livestock and it rained! Thanks to the generosity of sponsors a financial catastrophe was averted.
2002Planning application to build a Pavilion on the Showground. The application was eventually rejected in 2008 after complaints from local residents.
2001Show cancelled due to Foot & Mouth Disease
1998Shows now held on the third Wednesday of August, the date was changed to avoid clashing with Melplash
1996A wet Show - the Pluvious insurance funded the building of the barn, in which we store all the show paraphernalia.
1994First Show on our own Turnpike Showground, Motcombe
199396 acres of land, part of Manor Farm, Motcombe was purchased by the Society.
1981First year with a team of three Presidents. Last Show with live pig classes
1980First Show with big main ring
1979Show held on Saturday for the first and ONLY time
1973Show held in Messrs C & R Young's fields at Cannfield Farm, Shaftesbury
1968Show held at Slaughters Gate in fields of Mr R O Light & Mr H T Green
1961Mr A J Gray retires, he had been Secretary since the amalgamation in 1930 and had previously been the Secretary of the Shaftesbury Farmers Club since 1927.
1960Show purchased a Post Driver
1957Show held on Shaftesbury Car Park and Grammar School playing fields
1956Letter from Gillingham Chamber of Trade asking for Showday to be changed to Thursday, the reply - suggest you change Early Closing Day to Wednesday!
1954Show moved to Mr Brain's field at Stock, Mr Sanger's field used for parking
1953AI Classes introduced. Household Cavalry booked, cost £100 plus expenses
1952Show held in Mr Sanger's field at Stock. No cattle or sheep because of Foot & Mouth
1951Show moved to Mr Burton's fields Barton Hill Farm, Shaftesbury
1946Show resumed, this year in Mr Allards field at Gillingham, £155 in the bank
1940Show suspended for the duration of hostilities
1939Show stewards who were also members of the T A had been guarding the railway tunnel at Sandley overnight, before spending the day at the Show.
1932Yeo Bros Paul tender for tentage £33. They were the tentage contractors until 1994 although the bill increased somewhat! Rent for Mr Allards field and the recreation ground £25.
1930Amalgamation eventually agreed after 4 years of discussion. To be called the 'Gillingham & Shaftesbury' Show because Gillingham had been established longer. The first show was held at Gillingham because it had a railway station for moving the cattle. Each Society had a capital of about £600. The last Wednesday in August agreed. This date remained constant until 1998 with only minor changes with Show in even years at Gillingham, odd years in Shaftesbury.
1929Mr Allard agreed to 'provide and erect the Show ground'
1927Mr A G Gray appointed Secretary to the Shaftesbury Farmers Club and an office was rented from W H Smith & Son Mr Gary served as Secretary until 1961
1925Proposal by Shaftesbury, that Shows should be amalgamated, turned down by Shaftesbury
1924Zeals band paid £10 for 10hours performance
1923Secretary's salary increased to £40
1922Mr Allard paid £20 for rent of field at Gillingham
1920Gillingham Show restarted but there was no capital. All members were asked to deposit £5 on long term loan. This was later refunded after a successful show in 1921. Shaftesbury was also broke. Members were asked to produce a float of £4 each. There is no record that this was refunded. The first mention of 'Pitches and Tents for Cattle Cake Merchants and other business firms' 'Tents upto 10' x 10' @ £1 any other sixe at 2 shillings per foot extra'
1919Shaftesbury Show restarted, admission 1s.6d. Shaftesbury Show moved on to land owned by Mr A Burton. The Shaftesbury Committee arranged a 'Promenade Concert with fireworks and illuminations' to be held at Pensbury House the same evening as the Show and to engage the Shaftesbury Comrades band.
1914-1918Show suspended for the duration. Both Societies met regularly to raise funds, Shaftesbury minutes record - £740 sent to Red Cross for the purchase of X Ray appliances to be installed in local Red Cross Hospitals in Mere, Gillingham and at the Westminster Memorial Hospital in Shaftesbury. £25 to the Prince of Wales Belgian fund
1913Gillingham suggested amalgamation of shows or that they should be held alternate years at the two centres. Shaftesbury unanimously turned down the suggestion
1912Complaint about the call-out of the Territorial Army as it was interfering with farming. Foot & Mouth both Shows cancelled
1911Show held from 1pm to 10pm. The Show Dinner & Dance went on till 3am!
1910Show reverted to late Monday in August. This was standard until the amalgamation. Protest about Daylight Saving Bill.
1909Committee complained of an exorbitant bill for £2:10s for the band performance at the Show (30 instruments). Admission 1 shilling. Conveyances 6d per wheel. Show date changed to September
1908Gillingham Show moved to Mr Allard's field in Hardings Lane, where shows were held until 1952. 'Mr Allard to be offered £10 & 2/3rd. of the amount obtained from the Vanity fair people messes Coles. The Show having been previously held in a field belonging to Hudson & Martin, possibly in Station Road between the saw mill and U.D. creamery/egg packing station now underneath the by-pass
1907Introduction of 'Judging for young men under 25 years' thought to refer to 'length of service with one employer' Rent for the Gillingham field £10 but it was too small, a larger one had to be found. The sites to be inspected;- Pottery Field, Chantry Field, Mr Joseph Shutes ground, Mr Roses field, Stones field, Major Jacksons field…
1906Troop Horse & Yeomanry Sports included
1901Shaftesbury Horse Show joined the Farmers Club
1896Balance in hand £21.11s:10d Secretary/Treasurer was paid £10p.a.
1886Balance in hand £9:19s:6d Shaftesbury resisted approach by Gillingham, Melplash and Dorchester that there should be a combined DORSET Show.
1885The band was paid £2 for playing at the show and during dinner, a total of 10 hours and 30 instruments! Dinner was held on the evening of the Show for many years
1883Shaftesbury Show moved from the Market place to 'Mr Upcraft's field called Cockrams' apparently near the Ship Inn
1881Mr Buckland retired as secretary after 19 years, five of them as treasurer
1866Cattle Plague - No Shows
1862Formation of the Shaftesbury Farmers Club 'make application to the Most Hon. Marquess of Westminster for permission to hold the exhibition of flocks in the new market place'
1860Formation of the Gillingham Agricultural Society