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Two Flower Shows

Extract from Wingham: A Kentish Village reproduced by permission of the Wingham Local History Society
 
Extract from The Kent Herald, 
September 26, 1839
 
Wingham Horticultural and Floral Society; the last exhibition in the season was held on Friday in the field usually appointed for the show. Owing to the inclemency of the morning, the attendance was very thin, although the exhibition was considered to have eclipsed that of any past year. Among the very few gentry present were W. Hammond, Esq., and family, J. Godfrey, Esq., and family, Captain Swarm, Rev. C. Oxenden etc., etc. The judges having finished their task by 2 o'clock, the ground was open to subscribers and at 3 o'clock to non-subscribers. Few, however, availed themselves of the opportunity.
(There follows a list of prize-winners, mostly Esq., Lady, Rev., etc Categories included flowers (pots and cut), fruit and veg., e.g. white grapes, cob nuts, best bunch of purple grapes forced with fire, brace of cucumbers, figs, peaches. There follows Cottager Prizes. Categories included basket of herbs, pumpkin cake of wax, and pot of honey).
(There follows a list of prize-winners, mostly Esq., Lady, Rev., etc Categories included flowers (pots and cut), fruit and veg., e.g. white grapes, cob nuts, best bunch of purple grapes forced with fire, brace of cucumbers, figs, peaches. There follows Cottager Prizes. Categories included basket of herbs, pumpkin cake of wax, and pot of honey).
The very excellent band of Wingham was in attendance and played various airs during the afternoon. On the ground several elegant marquees were placed for the accommodation of the ladies and gentlemen who attended. We feel sorry that the inclemency of the weather prevented more from attending. The Cottagers' Prizes were particularly the theme of admiration, and the rustic swains appeared proud in vie-ing with each other in rearing the most useful products of the kitchen garden.
Wingham Flower Show 1932 - 1939  
by Vera Maynard
. The event was the highlight of the summer, the conversation-piece for weeks before 'The Day'
The sophisticated insecticides and weed-killers of the present day were unknown. I remember hearing of such things as Jeyes Fluid, Bordeaux mixture, and saving soapy water from wash-days to spray the roses.
The big day arrives - the final decision has been made - the best six uniform potatoes, the longest runner bean, the largest succulent peas. So all was set out, including jam jars holding bunches of wild flowers schoolchildren had walked miles over fields and marshlands to collect. The beautiful flower arrangements were each allotted a card table, and I recall the afternoon cloths edged with beautiful lace or crochet work that covered the tables.
The show opened at 2 o'clock. I think all the village attended. Margate Silver Band played stirring music; melodies from the round-about organ provided at times a strange discordant harmony. Children's and adult races were run and won, the main event being the tug-of-war, between teams from various local breweries and other organisations.

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The day closed with a dance held at the YMCA hut