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Medbourne Horticultural Society



The now defunct Medbourne Horticultural Society was formed in 1925 and when studying the old minutes of the Society the reader is left with the feeling that during the years before many properties in the village had such accepted modern conveniences as mains water, electricity (certainly no televisions !), the pace of life was much slower and people had the time to arrange events on a grand scale. In more modern times it is often remarked that the "same old faces" appear on the committees of various organisations in the village and it was no different in those earlier days, with such names as Arthur Warner, Sid Barlow, Robert Blood, Harry Snow, appearing frequently in the minutes of not only the Horticultural Society but also in the records of such other organisations as the Bowls Club and Sick & Dividend Club.

During its existence between 1925 and 1970 the Horticultural Society not only staged fruit, flower and vegetable shows but also arranged a whole series of entertainments, which by all accounts were of a high standard.

Early Records

As an example the records for the years 1931/32 give a fascinating insight into the activities of the Society. At a meeting in 1931 it was agreed that any Band hired by the Society should perform in full dress uniform. In January 1932 Mr Warner hired a Romany Band at a fee of 15 shillings (plus expenses !) to play at a "Bits & Bobs" concert in the village which was to be followed by a dance. Seats cost as follows :- Reserved Front Row – 1s.6d. Second Seats – 1s. Back Seats and Dance – 6d. The results of all this effort was a profit of £1. 19s. 8d. which was added to the proceeds of the 1932 horticultural show.

In connection with the 1932 show a meeting was held in the Village Hall on the 27th June at which it was agreed that one hundred large posters and one thousand hand bills be produced and that a person be employed to go round the villages to put up the posters and deliver the hand bills. Mr Warner and Mr Major were appointed Gate Keepers and the Rector, the Reverend Price seems to have been keen on sports as he proposed that as sum of 5 shillings be allocated to the sports sub-committee to hold various races.

Prize Money


Ladies had their own section and organised competitions such as rug making, home made wine and pastry making. Children were not overlooked and had competitions for best pencil drawing and best hand sewn garment, although the latter was restricted to schoolgirls only ! The men's section met at the Crown Public House and decided that the prize money for the show that year should be £2. 5s. 0d. and in addition to the classes held the previous year three more were to be added in the form of sweet peas, window plant in flower and six heaviest potatoes. The poultry class was however cancelled due to lack of entries in 1931.


The Balance Sheet for 1931 gives a good idea of the activities of the Society and indicates a thriving organisation. The Society had allotments in Hallaton Road where the four bungalows now stand and even today a gatepost forming part of the access to the allotments can still be seen partially hidden in the hedge at the side of the drive to number 29. Other allotments were also situated in the centre of the village opposite the old school grounds.

Final Years

By the 1960's however the pattern of life began to change and the advent of such things as televisions and motor vehicles meant that people had more ways of occupying their spare time, other than attending to the allotments. Coupled with this came the arrival of the early "self service stores" where vegetables were plentiful and relatively cheap to buy. As a result many of the allotments were not taken and became overgrown. Stalwarts such as Bert Stanton and Joe Garfield carried on and could be seen attending their beloved plants on summer evenings, before retiring to the local hostelry for a well earned pint of beer.

Sadly the end came in 1970, when at a Parish Council Meeting the Horticultural Society formed forty five years previously was wound up and the money remaining in the funds was used for the purpose of purchasing trees to be planted in the village. Although therefore the Society no longer exists it can be said that in a way it continues to live on through the trees which enhance the village today.

Balance Sheet 1931

Contributed by Keith Sandars March 2013