Malhamdale Local History Group    




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1950s Crowd

1950 - three ladies on the right in the back row are Nancy and Annis Utley with Daisy Wilkinson, later Mrs Daisy Harrison at the end of the row. On their left, in uniform is Eric Lawson and in front of him in a white open necked shirt is John Lawson. Peter Sharp is third from the left on the back row. The gentleman in the middle row on the right is Walter Heselden. At the left hand end of the front row is Mrs Beckwith with Margaret and Rosamund. Mr And Mrs Carr of Lee Gate are in the middle and at the right hand end are "Uncle Dot and Auntie Madge" Bolland



Secretary's Tent

Mr Rob Taylor, Show Secretary from 1946 to 1968 when he became President, in the secretary's tent with his wife and daughters Ethel, Jean, May and Eileen.



Airton 1952

The old show field at Airton in 1952, Mr. R. D. Wellock on the far right. His children, Brian, Dorothy and David with a friend are on the far left of the picture while Enid, Dorothy's sister is holding the calf in the centre.



Phillip Harrison

Philip Harrison as Winston Churchill-Winner of under 5's fancy dress in 1954.



Prize winners

A group of prize winners from the mid-fifties - back row from left: Ted Laycock, Val Caton, Ethel Taylor, Rob Taylor, Mr. William Sharp (President), Robin Cowperthwaite. Front row: 2nd from left, Mrs Laycock, 2nd from right Bridget Hodgson



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Malhamdale Show 1907 - 2002


The fifties
     During the fifties the Show gained in popularity and the classes and numbers of entries increased year on year. Other attractions were introduced which gave the Show a more general, family appeal.

"...a show neither too small to be of only local interest nor too large to be impersonal"

wrote Marie Hartley and Joan Ingleby, read their other comments in this excerpt from their book The Yorkshire Dales.

     Attested Cattle classes were included in the schedule, as well as Pony Classes (riding) and gymkhana. Gate receipts showed a deficit of about 17 on the show's finances. Dancing in the evening to Ribble Dance Band.

1951 - Mud and merit at Malhamdale Show.
     Rain kept away hundreds of people who had intended a visit in fine weather, but the high standards of the show were upheld. Entries were slightly down on the previous year, but there was no depreciation in quality. Gate receipts were about 30 down on 1950. Dancing to the Ribble Dance Band in Kirkby Malham Church Hall.

     Sheep Dog Trials were dropped from the programme this year due to the foot and mouth restrictions which had recently been removed. Although the removal meant that cloven hoofed classes could be included in the show, there had been no restriction on the movement of sheepdogs which were therefore considered to pose a risk of infection to the sheep. The programme did, however, include a Grand Gymnastic Display by the Saltaire Ladies Gymnastic club. Dancing in Kirkby Malham Church Hall to the Craven Players from 8.30 pm to 11.45 pm.

1953 - Record entries again at Malhamdale Show, BUT : Rain soaked the showfield
     Organisers fear a 60 loss Entries were up by 300, a new record for the Show. Fancy Dress classes and a Parade were added to the Schedule for the first time. Malham W I put on an Old English Market in the marquee. Children's classes included an essay competition - subject - under 11 years My Village or Hamlet, under 15 years - Country Life is better than Town Life. Saltaire Ladies gymnasts perform again. From the Craven Herald's reporter: "Malhamdale Show is really a sort of a cross between an Agricultural Show, and the National Eisteddfod of Wales. There are prize cattle and bonny babies, people in hacking jackets wandering around carrying saddles, and motor cyclists in riding "leathers" and what a national newspaper has termed "skidlids," carrying cans of oil. There are recitations and musical items, sheep dog trials and a fell race; indeed plenty of variety and entertainment." Mr J F Mellin of Hellifield wins the cup for best in show for the cattle classes. He gave the cup in 1946, to become the property of anyone who won it in three successive years. He has now won his own cup outright for the second time! Dancing to the Ribble Dance Band in Kirkby Malham Church Hall in the evening.

1954 - A fine day!
      Horses and poultry were dropped from the Show schedule but the pony jumping and gymkhana retained. Cattle Section all attested. Handwriting was added to the schedule for the first time. The Saltaire Ladies gymnasts performed again. It was proposed at a committee meeting held nine days before the show that the show be cancelled because of the late hay season and fears for the condition of the field. The motion was defeated by 25 votes to 4 and the show went ahead. However the late hay season, caused by unusually heavy rainfall earlier, meant that many farmers stayed away from the show or only came for a short visit. Attendance by the public was better than the previous wet year and the show made a very small surplus. Dancing in Kirkby Malham Church Hall to the Ribble Dance Band.

1955 - Sunshine and a bumper entry in all sections
     From the Craven Herald's reporter: "With entries of anything up to 18 in each class, the sheep section was exceptional, even for a show which has the reputation of being one of the most important gatherings of the Dalesbred and Swaledale breeds.... The large attendance was an eloquent testimony to the charm and individual appeal of the event to farming folk and townspeople alike. To the latter none of the Craven Shows gives a more intimate contact with the life of the countryside; the town dweller has not been on the showfield at Airton more than a few minutes before he is part of the event and his spirit is quietened by its absorption in the easy rhythm of rural life." Dancing in Kirkby Malham Church Hall in the evening to the Ribble Dance Band.

1956 - Record cattle entries - worst weather for many years      This year was notable for the size of the cattle entry which was 25 per cent up on the previous year. Heavy rain through the morning and early afternoon made the field a quagmire. Cars had to park in the road as the car-parking field was waterlogged. The attendance was only a fraction of that expected on a fine day and financially the show suffered a serious blow. Dancing in Kirkby Malham Church Hall to the Ribble Dance Band in the evening.

1957 - Malhamdale Show deserved a better fate
     Largest entry ever. Gale force winds in the morning were followed by torrential rain in the afternoon but according to the Craven Herald's reporter "it takes more than the weather to dampen the spirits of these hardy dalesfolk, and their feelings were adequately summed up by the genial secretary, Mr R Taylor, who remarked "it is disappointing but we cannot do anything about it." Entries totalled almost 1400, with well-filled classes of cattle and sheep and practically every household in Malhamdale was represented in the domestic classes. A tractor handling competition and one-mile foot race were added to the schedule. The President of the show this year was Mr. Robert Foster and to mark the occasion a Special class was added to the schedule. A silver trophy given by the Foster family in memory of their late father and mother, Mr and Mrs T Foster of Newfield Grange, was to be competed for annually and presented for the best farmed holding under 150 acres. Slaidburn Silver Band played at the show and Phillip Harrison won the Fancy Dress competition in the under 5-year-old class. The deficit on the year's finances was 22 12s 8d. Dancing after the show in Kirkby Malham Church Hall to the Craven Players Dance Band. Admission to the dance was increased from 2s (10p equivalent) to 2s 6p.

1958 - Good weather favours Malhamdale Show at last.           The Craven Herald described the 1958 show as "triumphantly successful". The gate was well up on the two previous years and although entries in the sheep classes were slightly down on 1957, the show was well supported overall. Dancing after the show was to the Premier Quintet. The year's finances ended 18 13s 7d up although this was mainly due to a good profit being made on the Annual Ball.

1959 - Good weather again favours Malhamdale show.      This was a good year for the show with good weather, an excellent attendance and entry numbers in cattle and sheep classes breaking previous records. A Landrover handling competition organised by Ribblesdale Motors was added to the programme and the W I put on an exhibition. The dance after the show was held, as usual, in the Kirkby Malham Church Hall, dancing to Hustwicks Dance Band.

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