The Programme for the 1st Bishop Wilton Show
This is what appears on the front page of the 4-page programme for the very first Bishop Wilton Flower Show
What is displayed here is a copy of a programme that has been safely kept by a Bishop Wilton family to this day.
From an historical point of view it is important to acknowledge those who were involved with this 1st Show. They are identified in this programme (and listed below) and in the press coverage that is separately documented (in the next item). Look at the list of patrons. It immediately poses a question: how did someone from South Africa become involved? Fortunately we have been able to answer this question (in Local History Bulletin 18) and the answer will be disclosed here in due course.
Although it was called a Flower Show in 1897, the programme shows that it included fruit & vegetables, farm & dairy produce and bread, along with classes for children. It was equivalent to what is referred to as the Tent Classes at today's Show.
The prizes were quite substantial in 1897. The common 1st prize of 2 shillings equates to over £9 in today's money. Whilst the special prize of 10 shillings for the best kept cottage equates to over £97!
The rules on the back page are interesting, especially the second which states that "Any member of the Committee may inspect the garden of any exhibitor, either previous to, or after the show"! Also, vegetables and fruit were at the disposal of the committee after the show whereas they are now picked up by those who enter them. Some things haven't changed, all exhibits have to be in the tent classes by 10.30, the judging still starts at 11.00 and the tents open at 1.00.
A copy of the full programme is provided here as a PDF file:
Individuals involved in the 1st Show as listed in the Programme: