The Derbyshire Agricultural and Horticultural Society came into being amidst a wealth of goodwill at a meeting held at the King’s Head Hotel, Derby, then a well-known posting-house in the Cornmarket, on Friday 29th June 1860.
This is when a group of landowners and farmers led by Dr. John Hitchman, the first medical superintendent of the county asylum, agreed to form the Derbyshire Agricultural Show. There have been 138 shows since that time with breaks due to wartime restrictions and an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 1924 and 2001.
The show has been held at various locations throughout Derbyshire over the years, starting in 1861 at The Cattle Yard and in July 1862 at the new Cattle Market which had been finally completed at a cost of £5,500. The show remained there until 1927 when the Council (the ruling body of the Society) changed show-day from Wednesday to Saturday as being more likely to attract a better gate.
It is interesting to note that for the first time too in 1927, the Council decided to take out an insurance policy against wet weather. This possibility had been debated on many previous occasions, but it was always felt to be hardly worth the relatively high premium. How fortunate it was that the Society did insure since 1927 turned out to be one of the wettest and worst seasons on record. It rained for weeks on end in the summer, hay lay black in the swath and the show was completely spoilt by the weather. A profit of 3 pounds and 12 shillings on the year’s working can be accounted for only because of an insurance payment of £400, which certainly saved the Society from ruin. The wet weather resulted in a claim from the Corporation for payment of £81 towards the repair of damage done to the Sports Ground, but later this was generously settled in the sum of £40. The continuing poor financial position led to a decision to return to the Cattle Market. In 1929 the show moved back to the Municipal Sports Ground and reverted to a two-day show.
In 1935 the Society took the show out of Derby and a site was found at Ilkeston. During the following years it was held at Swadlincote, Markeaton Park, Alfreton Park and in 1939 the show went to Cromford Meadows. Following a break during the war years, the show returned in 1945 when it joined with the Harrington Hunt Show at Elvaston.
After this the show moved to a number of venues throughout the County but eventually moved to Elvaston Castle Country Park where it remained until 2001 when it moved to a larger site opposite the Country Park. For the 2017 and 2018 the show moved to Locko Park by kind invitation of David and Lucy Palmer as the ground at Elvaston rested after a very wet period in 2016 which led to the show being cancelled.
The show is run by a Council of 50 Members with the help of the Section Secretaries and other co-opted and honorary members. The Society is proud to have as Patron of the Show, the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mr. Willie Tucker. The team is completed by Chairman, Mr. Edward Hicklin a local farmer and Vice-Chairman, Mr. Richard Hollis. The officers are completed by Mrs Kerry Oxley the Treasurer and General Secretary Mrs Anne James.
As we approach our 139th Show in June 2019 we are looking forward to seeing our visitors enjoying all that the show has on offer. There are activities all day to cater for every member of the family from vintage cars and tractors, bees, horses, dogs, cattle and sheep and poultry with exhibitors coming from wide and far. We are also looking forward to welcoming the Charnwood Alpacas and the Aldabra Giant Tortoises to this year’s show.
Our main ring attractions are Big Pete’s Monster Trucks, Ridgeside ‘Little Nippers Racing’ and the Oakfield Farm Young Equestrian Display Team.
If you would like to enter the show, you can find further information at derbyshirecountyshow.org.uk.
Pre-show tickets are available through the website and from various outlets around the county and surrounding areas, a list of which can be found on the website.
Ticket prices are Pre-Show Adult £10; Seniors £9; Children (5-16) £7 and on the gate on the day Adults £13; Seniors £11; Children (5-16) £8. Under 5’s free and over 16’s pay adult price.