The 2014 Show was a Special Event being the 150th year since the first Flower Show in 1864 which was held in The Drill Hall of The Leeds Volunteer Rifles – this was sited in Oxford Row at the side of the Town Hall. Sadly the building was demolished in the 50’s.
We aimed to replicate that show on a smaller scale with a Marquee set out in the style of that first show and based on the reports that we have from the Leeds Mercury June 22nd 1864.
. ‘The first exhibition of flowers and fruit in connection with the Leeds Horticultural Society was held in the Drill Room and parade ground of the Leeds Volunteer Rifles.
…….The Society has but recently been organised by gentlemen who are anxious to provide for the public an enjoyment and to encourage a taste for the cultivation of plants and flowers………………..’
The long article goes onto mention how the Drill Hall was dressed with garlands and foliage and seven platforms were erected, showing Geraniums Fuchsias, cut specimens of Roses and Pansies, Fruits, Vegetables, Floral Devices and bouquets, Ferns and Orchids and Hothouse Plants mostly provided by the Gardeners of the Local Wealthy families such as John Hope Shaw, Frank Tetley and Lord Londesborough.
……the event was well attended with 2,500 visitors and the amount taken at the door was £72.00!
Elisabeth Bidgood, retired chairman of the Leeds Horticultural Society, designed the layout and decor of the Marquee .She researched and grew plants which replicated those mentioned in the reports. She enlisted the help of experts and even had a donation of terracotta pots from Naylors Yorkshire Flowerpots at Barnsley to give the plants an authentic appearance.The Marquee was a great success and drew much praise and attention.