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Malhamdale Show 1907 - 2002

1965 Malhamdale Show Report - Malhamdale Show is the highlight of any year in the dale and this year it was held on Saturday, August 28th, the new August Bank Holiday.

The Showground, which is a meadow by the side of the road south of Malham, is an ideal site to hold a show, for as anyone approaches Malham by the main road up the dale they see the whole show field spread before them. Malham cove, the village and Gordale Scar form the background scenery. Much preparation was done during the summer, but there was little to see until the tents were erected a few days beforehand. How the landscape changed then!! Three large white marquees for the horticultural, produce and handicraft exhibits, and the dining room, several small tents for use by the President, the secretaries and the judges were soon put up.

On the day itself stalls of great variety added to the colourful scene with flowers, balloons and, of course, the inevitable ice cream and sweet stands. Alas! Show Day opened in pouring rain. The entrances to the field became quagmires and bales of straw were hurriedly produced to give a better surface for the cars, Land Rovers, lorries and tractors, the last named gave valuable assistance in pulling out vehicles which became stuck in the mud.

From 8.30 am onwards there was great activity on the show field. Farmers with their dogs were busy getting cows into the area allotted to them or sheep into the pens already marked with class cards. People laden with plants, flowers, cakes, knitted goods, dresses, pictures and handicrafts were hurrying to the tents and arranging their exhibits to the best advantage, in preparation for the judges whose tremendous task started at 10.30 am The rain still poured down and, alas, soaked through the tents in some places so some of the exhibits had to be moved.

Whilst judging was taking place in the tents, the pony and hunter classes were being held in the main ring. Riders looked spick and span as they brought their mounts from the wagons, but before long they looked just as wet and dejected as the farmers and cattle judges, busy in their own sections. This year there were 172 entries in the various pony classes, a record for the Malham Show. The class for local ponies was revived this year. The pony, any height, had to be ridden by a child under sixteen years of age, residing within the Local Radius and age was taken into account. The radius limit for the Local Classes consisted of the townships of Malham Moor, Malham, Kirkby Malham, Hanlith, Scosthrop, Airton, Otterburn, Calton, Winterburn, Bell Busk and Coniston Cold, and including the following farms: Friars Head, Seat House, St. Helens and Throstle Nest.

The Honorary Secretaries, R Taylor esq., and Misses E and E Taylor, our local butcher and his two daughters were having a busy time collecting results and working out which exhibitors had won cups and trophies. By lunchtime the rain had ceased and the sun shone forth giving a clear, bright look to the whole scene. The judging was over and everyone was able once again to go into the tents to see if their names had got into the prize lists and spectators could make their own judgements on the exhibits.

The children's sections were extremely good, with very large entries in all the classes, whether it was handwriting, painting, handicrafts or cooking. A ten year old boy (a Malham Women's Institute member's son) gained the award for the most points in the children's section. Well done, Michael. In these days when teenagers are often criticised, it was refreshing to see that a twenty year old girl had gained very high marks in the culinary section, whilst a twenty year old boy (the son of another Women's Institute member) had won the award for the most points in the horticultural section.

The President, Mrs Ronald Fell of Otterburn, along with guests and ticket holders now went to the Official Luncheon. At the end of the meal the President announced the winner of the Best Farmed Holding, any size, in the Local Radius. This class is almost unique to the Malhamdale Show and the judging takes place a few days before the Show. After lunch the field attractions began with the judging of sheep dogs - for beauty only, not their capabilities. The Babies Beauty Competition, which is always a great attraction had lots of entries, proud mothers and aunties carried babies before judges in the first two classes with a toddler's class following afterwards.

The children's Fancy Dress class drew many entries and a large crowd of parents and friends watched while these little ones braved the stares and laughter and walked round for the judges. Two little tots dressedas "Adam and Eve" complete with rhubarb leaves won first prize and well they deserved it. The class for child and pet brought some charming twosomes. A local auctioneer, Mr. Taylor of Skipton, sold exhibits in the Gift Class and anything else that had not been claimed within a given time.

The Main Ring was occupied throughout the afternoon with Pony Riding, Jumping and Gymkhana. This was followed by the Grand Parade of Prize Winning Cattle and the presentation of the Silver Cups to the winners. Many people sat on straw bales round the ring. Old friends greeted each other after a gap of a year since the last show. Laughter and chatter were heard all around.

The sports events followed as the runners donned their vests and shorts. The One Mile Race drew quite a few entries. It was won by a local lad in under four minutes - fancy running a mile in under four minutes on ground champed up by horses hooves and ruts made by spinning wheels of vehicles - then it was discovered the contestants had only run three times round the course instead of four - still no one grumbled and the next race went on. The Junior Fell Race to the top of Cawdon is always pleasant to watch as one can see the contestants most of the way. The Senior Fell Race is a very gruelling run to the top of Pikedaw, and there is quite a section in the middle of this course, which cannot be seen from the Show ground. Finally the competitors came into view as they came helter - skelter down the hill and over the wall. An excited crowd began to clap and cheer them on as they raced across the show field to the Winning Post, the first man home receiving 5.

Throughout the day a few men had been competing in the Dry Stone Walling competition and had plodded steadily on building their own section of wall 3 yards in length to a height of 5 feet with two rows of "throughs". The job had to be completed by 6 pm The judges had kept an expert eye on the walling throughout the day, but there were many onlookers watching the skill of the Waller to pick a stone which will fit into position out of the many around. The judges no doubt remembered the old saying "Stoans hev ta be yan aboon two aboon yan, an a through ivery few fut". Finally the wall is complete and the judges make out the prize cards.

By now the motorcycles were "warming up" ready for the Scramble. The noise was terrible, what with the actual "bykes" and the echoes sent back from the Cove and Gordale Scar. A great deal of support was given to the scramblers which was obvious by the crowd of spectators round the "pits". As darkness fell and the last motor cycle was pushed onto its transport trailer, the crowd dispersed, some to go home, others to the "local" to have a drink and talk over the days happenings, and the rest, with energy to spare, to the Show Night Dance which was held in the Kirkby Malham Church Hall.

Statistics can be boring but the fact that over 3,000 people attended Malhamdale Show this year shows how popular is this event. It started before 1914 as a children's party and sports at Airton. The show grew and when restarted after the Second World War went on growing until now it has become an established favourite outing for many people. In this year, 1965, the show has lived up to its reputation as a happy, friendly show, full of good humour and friendly rivalry.

Long May It Continue

Back to the 1960s


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