Malhamdale Local History Group    




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This group, taken at The Old Showground, Airton in the late 1940's includes Mr R Wellock, and Mr J Bolland. The gentleman in the white shirt and braces is Mr Tom Sharp.




The Show catalogue in 1948 cost 2 shillings


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The History of Malhamdale Show


The post-war years
     The Malhamdale show, as we know it today started when the Horticultural Committee met at 7 pm on Wednesday 17th April 1946 in Scosthrop School. Mr W Sharp was appointed chairman and there were present Messrs P Bolland, W Thorpe, G. Lister, and R Taylor. It was the feeling of the committee to have an agricultural section this year and the secretary was asked to write to representatives from Otterburn, Calton, Scosthrop, Airton, Kirkby Malham, Hanlith, and Malham and invite them to serve on the committee.

This resulted in a meeting of an enlarged committee on Tuesday 23rd April 1946. There were present Messrs F.Caton, J.Scarborough, R.Wright, G.Lister, W.Thorpe, T.Fagg, J.Hall, J.Verity, W.Swaine, E.Johnson, J.Thompson, P.Bolland and R.Taylor. Apologies were received from Messrs W.Hudson, J.Robinson, and T.Foster. It was unanimously agreed to have an agricultural section this year. The radius for local entries was limited to the townships of Malham Moor, Malham, Kirkby Malham, Hanlith, Scosthrop & Airton, and Calton. The show was to be held in Mr Joseph Hall's field at Airton and the entrance fee for horses, cattle and sheep was set at 2 shillings (equivalent to 10p), and poultry and pigs 1 shilling.

At the next meeting held on 30th April 1946 Mr Illingworth of Hanlith Hall was appointed President and it was decided to call the show "Malhamdale Show and Sports". A further five meetings were held before the show took place on Saturday 24th August 1946.

After the 1946 show, meetings were generally held in the Council School at Airton.

1946 -  Sports amid Showers.
     Despite showery weather this first show attracted over 700 entries. Admission was 2 shillings for adults, children half price.

The distinction of winning the prize for the best animal in the local classes fell to Mr. J. F. Mellin of Hellifield with a shorthorn heifer. Mr. Mellin also won prizes in the local classes for best fat heifer, best local cow in milk, best local Ayrshire and best Shorthorn as well as in the open classes for best lying-off cows due to calve before the end of November, and for heifers in calf or milk with not more than four broad teeth.

In the sheep classes there was keen rivalry between Mr. J. S. Verity, Kirkby Malham, and Mr. J. R. Thwaite, Winterburn, with Mr. Verity carrying off the special award for the best exhibit in the sheep classes with his pen of six half-bred gimmer shearlings which took precedence over Mr. Thwaites' Dalesbred ram which had been adjudged the best exhibit in the sheep classes at Gargrave the previous week.

The horse section provided some fine exhibits of the heavy type of horse suitable for agricultural purposes and the award for best farmers mare or gelding most suitable for the district was won by a fine light bay belonging to Mr. W. Sharp of Airton. Prize money for these events was around two guineas for a first. The show ended up showing a credit balance of 114 16s. 6d

Sports events included a full programme of races for juveniles as well as 100 yards handicap and hurdle race for men, relay race for women and a tug-of-war, which was won by Coniston Young Farmers. A dance held in the evening at Scosthrop School was attended by upwards of 150 people. .



     Malhamdale's second Annual Show and Sports took place on 23rd August 1947 in fine sunny weather and the showfield presented an attractive picture.

Mr J F Mellin again led the field with eight firsts and a second prize while the entry of Mr Towler of Middle House, Malham Moor after winning its class took the prize for the best mare or gelding most suitable for the district. The Craven Herald's reporter commented that the horses on show "were hard at work in the hayfields a few weeks ago". The sheep section produced the usual duel between Mr Verity and Mr Thwaite with the former repeating his win of last year with 7 firsts, 3 seconds and 2 thirds.

The sports this year included a pillow fight which was won by F. Metcalfe. In the tug-of-war Coniston Young Farmers beat "Malham Old Men" in two straight pulls after having a bye in the semi final in which the "Old Men" beat Cracoe. The show was followed in the evening by a dance in Kirkby Malham village hall.

     The third show on 14th August 1948 was favoured by splendid weather and a record number of entries for the third year in succession. Messrs Thwaite and Mellin were prominent in the cattle classes while Mr. Verity again came out top in the sheep section with Mr Wilson of Kirkby Malham.

A babies beauty contest was held for the first time and attracted a great deal of interest. Sheep dog trials were also added to the programme and attracted 50 entries. Sports were held in the evening with entries from all over the north of England. A Wigan man, R Dawber, won the mile and R Moorhouse of Halton West won the fell race. Prize money for the fell race was 1st - 8, 2nd - 5, 3rd - 2.

Dancing was held after the show at Kirkby Malham village hall, to Bradley's Band.

     Number of entries tops 1100. This year the custom was started whereby entries worth 10s or more would get a free show ticket. The Craven Herald reported "The Malhamdale Agricultural and Horticultural Society had complete confidence in their 1949 show, sports and sheep dog trials which took place in a sylvan setting at Airton" Grass track motorcycle racing was added to the list of events in this year.

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