Final flower show after 140 years

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A horticultural society which dates back to 1877 has held its final flower show.

Wakefield Paxton Society held its last spring contest 140 years after gardeners set up the organisation at the Saw Hotel on Little Westgate.

The society, which has its roots in the stately homes of the 19th century, was formed at an informal gathering of gardeners at the public house.

Almost a century and a half later dozens of exhibitors took part in the Wakefield society’s last annual spring show at Outwood Memorial Hall.

Society president Jeff Rhodes said members had been going through memorabilia, trophies and minutes from meetings dating back to the 1800’s after taking the decision to close. He said: “It is surprising what we have found. There is quite a history to it.”

At the spring show at Outwood Memorial Hall, prizes were handed out after exhibitors displayed flower arrangements in 80 separate classes.

Mr Rhodes said: “It was a good show and very well attended.

“It was a good turnout and it was early season for daffodils as well.”

Paxton societies are named after Sir Joseph Paxton, who was born in 1803.

The gardener, architect and member of parliament was best known for designing Crystal Palace in London.

Wakefield Paxton Society was set up when wealthy mill owners and landlords had large houses with grounds and gardens to maintain.

Head gardeners and labourers would lodge near the stately homes where they worked and would meet socially.

More recently amateur gardeners would share expertise and take part in annual competitions through membership of the society.

The Hopkinson Trophy: John Warwick.

The Harry Just Trophy: Alan Robinson

The Markham Trophy: Alan Warwick

The Roy Coupland Memorial Trophy Steve Ryan

The Enid Harrison Trophy Alan Robinson

The Kirby Cup Jackie & Eric Kendall

The Wakefield Cup Ivor Fox

The Betty Eastwood Trophy Jackie & Eric Kendall

The T Mitchell Plate R Gosney

Markets Cup Ian Robinson

Home Produce Rose Bowl Pamela White

Home Produce Trophy Margaret Shield