Tulips to be displayed at Wakefield’s 181st show

Wakefield and the North of England Tulip Society's 177th annual tulip fair-Tulips on show at Horbury's tulip show.

Wakefield and the North of England Tulip Society's 177th annual tulip fair-Tulips on show at Horbury's tulip show.

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The annual tulip show has been a key date on Wakefield’s event calendar since 1836.

It has grown in popularity over 18 decades and the colourful flowers on display at this year’s 181st show are expected to attract people from as far as Holland and Sweden.

Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society secretary Teresa Clements said: “The society grows and shows English Florists’ Tulips which you don’t see anywhere else.

“People come from all over to see these because they are so special.”

The English Florists’ Tulips will be shown alongside Dutch Tulips at the show at Primrose Hall in Horbury tomorrow.

Mrs Clements said: “Anyone who wants to come and visit will see a whole range of colourful tulips. There’s a really good demonstration of tulips presented in a variety of ways.”

During the 19th century, growing tulips was a popular past time and it is thought there were at least 200 societies across the UK.

But since 1936, the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society has been the last of its kind in the country.

Mrs Clements said: “In 1836, being a florist was a really popular past time.

“Most towns had their little societies and everybody took part in the shows.

“It then fell slightly out of fashion and it was shoemakers and miners that kept the tradition going.

“I like to think that if you had a job in a dark workshop or a deep shaft underground it must have been nice to go to the allotments at the end of the day and see all the beautiful colours of the tulips.

“Part of the attraction for the men was that the society was run from the pub so there was a social aspect as well.

“Even today, tulips are often displayed in beer bottles, continuing the tradition.”

Society member James Akers has been researching the history of the group and tulip growing in Wakefield.

The Wakefield Florists Society, which later became the tulip society, held its first ever show in April 1807 in Outwood, for auriculas and polyanthus.

The date of the first tulip-only show is not yet known but records show there has been one every year since 1836.

The Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society’s 181st annual show will take place tomorrow at Primrose Hall in Horbury.

Staging will run from 10am until noon. Classes will then be called at noon, followed immediately by judging.

Members of the public will be able to visit the show and see the tulip displays between 2.30pm and 4pm.

The society will host a smaller second show on Sunday, May 22 at Wrenthorpe Village Hall.