The Eighth Annual Flower Show, August 1891

for the parishes of Orwell, Barrington, Shepreth and Foxton

The following article is a marginally edited version taken from the June 1981 edition of the Orwell Bulletin, and relates to July and August 1891. For avoidance of doubt, this is over 120 years ago!

July - A very heavy thunderstorm

“July 1891 – About five o'clock on Friday afternoon last, a very heavy thunderstorm passed over the village. The lightning was very vivid, several trees being struck. The rain and hail which accompanied did a great deal of damage to the

In one house, 37 panes of glass broken

produce of the fields and gardens. New Orwell and Wimpole appear to have been in the centre of the storm and consequently suffered most severely, especially the farms of the Revd. R. Bendyshe and Messrs Meyer and J. Hagger. Hailstones, many of them an inch in diameter, broke a large amount of glass at Wimpole, hardly a house in that village escaping. In one house alone, 37 panes of glass were broken.

horse stunned by the hailstones 

A horse, standing outside the 'Fox and Hounds', was so stunned by the hailstones that it fell down. The beautiful gardens of Messrs Meyer also suffered terribly, much glass being broken and the flowers, plants etc literally cut to pieces. These gardens were just at their best. Indeed, extra trouble had been taken with them this year in view of the coming horticultural show, on which occasion they are to be thrown open to the public. Therefore it must be very disappointing to both owners and gardener to see the fruits of their labour suddenly destroyed. Equally disappointing it must be to those cottagers and amateurs who had made preparations for the coming show.

But look what happened only a fortnight later:

August - the Annual Flower Show

the sun shone brilliantly

August 1891 – On Monday afternoon, the 8th annual flower show for the parishes of Barrington, Shepreth, Foxton and Orwell was held in the spacious grounds of the Revd. R. Bendyshe at Orwell and was attended with much success. As regards the weather, the Society was more fortunate than those whose exhibitions were held during last week. The sun shone brilliantly for the greater part of the time and was only interrupted by a few short showers. These did not prevent the attendance of a large number of persons and there were upwards of a thousand present.

upwards of a thousand present

The show was successful in every way. There was an increase in the number of exhibits and the quality was very good. The entries numbered 558, against 500 last year. The arrangements were under the control of an able committee, of which Mr W.C. Lane of Orwell was the Secretary. The judging was undertaken by Messrs G. White (gardener at Longstowe Hall), Thomas Smith (gardener to Miss Cheere, Papworth Hall), A. Burgess (gardener to the Earl of Hardwicke) and Thomas Hunt (gardener to Mr W. Hurrell, Newton). The competition in the cottagers' classes was very keen and the show of onions, potatoes and beans was specially good.

took first prize with a particularly fine basket of fruit

The amateurs also showed some exceedingly good flowers and fruit and the plants in the open classes were deserving of special praise. Mr Jas. Smith of Orwell took first prize with a particularly fine basket of fruit and Mr J. Miller of the same place was a good second. Bush fruit was a good show and marigolds were deserving of special mention, especially the French varieties. Mr Lane, the Secretary, showed some very fine zinnias and Mr Wm. Johnson of Orwell exhibited a splendid collection of honey in comb.”


The 1981 Editors wrote that 'we have not included the prize list this quarter but feel that it could be of real interest to older members of the village, partly because of the familiar surnames in the various villages; however we would not wish to bore the general public with details and will publish them next time only if we receive a request for them.  The report concludes:'

combatant to 'unhorse' opponent with floured mop 

A Progamme of Sports

“Considerable interest was centred in the programme of sports which was gone through in the afternoon. The mounted combat and the boot race were amusing. In the former, the combatant , mounted on the shoulders of a comrade, endeavoured to 'unhorse' his opponent by lunging at him with a mop which had been previously well dressed with flour. All the available mops were broken in the first round and the prizes were divided between the winners of the two heats. In the 100yards boot race, for boys under 13, the shoes of the competitors were left in a heap in the middle of the course and then each boy, on reaching the course had to find his boots, put them on his feet, lace them properly and then continue the race.” [The 1981 Editors also wrote that 'Names of winners are again available']

pig valued at 15/- for cottagers

“The attractions also included a lottery, open to exhibitors and visitors. A store pig valued at 15/- (for cottagers) fell to Alfred Chapman of Orwell, while, from the open drawings, John Hall of Bassingbourn received a similar pig and Joseph Mead of Foxton was presented with a set of knives and forks.”

See also the separate page concerning "The Cottagers' Horticultural Exhibition, July 1872." This was probably the second Horticultural Show held in Orwell. 

This page was added by Martin Grigor on 13/02/2013.

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