Although hundreds of people drove to the Show from east, west, north, and south, undoubtedly the
greater number passed along the route from the railway station through the Market Places across the River Bridge, by the stately fane of SS. Mary and Nicholas, and round the Vicarage corner to the now familiar grounds. Hence, it was this route which “Cross Keys” was set off effectively and in good the Decoration Committee, and the tradesmen along the line of it, set about embellishing.
It was fitting that the thousands of visitors to the town should be met at the Station gates by a “Welcome,” in large green letters, on a white ground, axed on lofty poles, flanked by lesser poles, connected by moss-green festoons, the whole forming a light and graceful vernal gateway through which the long lines of visitors passed, arid the motor cars plied with ceaseless activity. “Success to Agriculture” followed appropriately upon this hearty welcome given by the Urban Council on behalf of the inhabitants of the town, this motto was largely lettered across Mr. A S Jane’s commanding front, and again on Mr. J. T. Atton’s business premises. A few steps forward, and Station-street came full in view.
Then could be formed. Venetian masts of apparently even height were erected on the pavements, festoons of bunting stretched from mast to mast, the colours, in duplicate, changing from section to section. On the masts there were shields, with flags and Union the top poacs banners of bunting were suspended, the mast and flag rods being tipped with gilt lance heads. On the house fronts on both sides there were small flags innumerable; upon the ledges and balconies over the shop windows, flowers and fern were tastefully arranged, the boxes being, as a rule, faced with rustic ” bark ;” aloft, the larger flags fluttered in the brisk south-east wind; across the streets streamers hung, and benevolent mottoes, such as “Success to our Show,” were scattered here and there, the general effect along the whole line of route being a, pleasing blending of the brilliant colours of flag and bunting, and geraniums, with the softer and varied verdant shades in shrub and fern and moss green festoon. From the station gates the decorations began, the business premises on both sides of the arch of “Welcome ” being ornamented with flowers. The shop fronts occupied by Messrs. A ton, Nainby, Starbuck, Gosling, Turner, Chapman, Neal, Steel, Pitts, Green, Murrell, and A. Cole were made the most of, and Mr. F. George had a profusion of flags, Mr. A. L. Seymour’s wealth of flowers, and bunting was noticeable, and across the newly-painted sheep pens Mr. Russell had brightened up his premises, while the corner reserved on Tuesdays for extensive transactions in live pork was for the nonce converted into a miniature shrubbery. Hall Place gave an excellent site for an ornamental ” garden,” or rather amidst the copious sand. There were no palm trees, but five Tuscan pillars formed a ring around a cooling fountain of water and these were surmounted with palms and ferns and connected with each other by festoons of artificial leaves and grasses the fountain played successfully, throwing spray to a height of some feet.
In Hall Place, the ample bay windows of some of the residents enabled effective use to be made of the ledges above. Messrs. B. Kerman and F. Simson, H. Laming and Mrs. Jones decorated with flowers and flags, and were supported at the corner and background by Mr. W. Tomline, Mr. A, Pell, and Mr. Beales, while far away down the New-road streamers and ensigns could be seen. Mr. A. T. Willcox had a novel design in bunting; and the face of the “Cross Keys ” was set off effectively and in good taste with flowers and central ornaments. Messrs. J. C, Harris & Son’s handsome new window was surmounted with flowers and skirted with an ornamental border, while groups of flags were fixed overhead. Messrs. Freeman, Hardy, & Willis, P. J. White, the Spalding Free Press Company, C. M. Allenson, and Mrs. Caudwell used flowers, ferns, and bunting freely. Conspicuous in Hall Place were
Nothing on so systematic and elaborate a scale has previously been attempted in Spalding. The different height of the three fronts suggested three separate designs the loftier section bore the motto in gilt letters, “Success to Agriculture “; pretty groups of house flags, red, white, and blue, looped and fixed upon warlike shields, were scattered over the face of the building, and aloft were two striking bannerettes, ornamented with crown and stars and stripes. The woodwork and metal railing along the front of the central block had been painted a bronze green with lines and rosettes of gilt, with which the decorations blended perfectly. The effect was most pleasing. Robin Hood and his “Merrie men” could not have more admired the glades in Sherwood Forest than did visitors to Spalding triangular “mounds” of moss, centred by gilded wreaths and surmounted by flowers and light green wavy grass were not readily built up, and the bow and plume designs higher up, topped by uva and pampas grass, were extremely pretty, while the parapet above was festooned with moss-green leaves. The lower wing of the establishment was decorated in another style, the Jubilee motto,” god Bless Our Queen,” being as pretty as it is ever appropriate. The entire front was illuminated at night with some hundreds of Vauxhall lamps of many colours, and the effect was charming. The visitor, having reached the Market Place, in spite of striking public decorations, would not fail to note Mr. Geo. Massey’s original triangular design in tri-colour rosettes, the pretty effect of the “Red Lion” flowers and groups of flags, nor the display of flowers from all the windows and along’ the front, of Messrs. Hobson & Co., who were only prevented from wishing ” Success to Agriculture” in blue and white by an untoward accident. The public decorations in the Market Place were novel and striking. There were two groups, one on each side of the White Hotel, and
Each group had its Tuscan pillars of imitation white marble, these columns being topped with palms, ferns, and flowers. Ferns, palms, Oriental foliage, and shrubs of many kinds were placed to group effectively, and sand was freely supplied to the ground floor. The waterfall of several steps at the Exchange end was ingeniously constructed, fountains of various sizes spouting the water which, however, did not exactly roar, cascade fashion to the trough beneath. The general effect was undoubtedly striking and picturesque, the luxuriant foliage and the white columns lifting the thoughts above grey bricks and mortar and cheap barter and sale, while the cool water trickling down the marble steps gave a refreshing sound in the hot noontide. It was generally understood that everyone was to form his own opinion as to what the grouping represented; one travelled person stating that within the lands washed by the blue—Mediterranean, ruins may be seen, with marble columns, standing amidst olive trees and ferns; while another imaginative man said the
was intended to show that agriculture flourishes still, while the masterpieces of the world’s architecture have fallen, and do fall, into decay. By the silver moonlight, the scene inspired holiday yearnings and a desire to read poetry forthwith. The tradesmen in the neighbourhood of the grand display, adapted their decorations to, the general scheme, Messrs. Hallam & Blackbourn, T E Stubbs, A. Porter, Marshall & co., W. H. Marks, and Elston, introducing green and white largely into their floral decorations. Mr. H. L. Enderby used festoons of bunting on a white ground. The gap where the new bank slowly rises, was effectually filled. MIO W. Fletcher had a profusion of flags, shields, and flowers with lilies in the background; and Mr. Fred Driffll and Messrs. Shadford & Co. decorated with flowers and flags. The route now narrows, and, although some gaps are noticeable, the continuity of colour and display was maintained by Mr. W. R. Bar vis, Mr. H. Black, and Mr. A. Preston on the one side, with Mr. Gibson’s rosettes’ opposite, Then the road opens into
ONE OF THE MOST PLEASING SPACES in the whole line. The tradesmen near the High Bridge made a very pretty and effective display, whichever point of view was taken. The ample balconies of E, W. Bell, and Mr. J. Wilkinson were richly stocked with flowers and ferns, relieved by the lilies now in bloom. Mr. T. Cooley’s front was decorated more elaborately with handsome flags, dowers, foliage, and a rustic balcony; Mr. Skinner’s style Was, as usual, original; the corner for which Messrs. Brown and Barker were responsible, was connected by a moss-green festoon with the premises of Mr. R. Williamson, Mr. H Stocks, and the “Ram Skin,” all bright and gay with flowers and bunting. Ample justice was done to the prominent premises occupied by
MESSRS. CASTI & PLOWMAN, whose decorations merit special mention. Above the shop windows a long line of flowers extended, and the upper windows were also furnished with flowers and choice plants. Baskets of ferns and flowers hung from the walls, and groups of flags of many kinds were arranged above shields of varied colours. The general effect was bright and natural, and in harmony with the architecture of a modern and imposing building. The High Bridge was seized upon by the Decoration Committee as
A COIGN OF ADVANTAGE for display purposes. Bridges live in history; and it is well known that they have an attraction for the ‘landscape painter and the photographer, who see their adaptability for scenic effect. So, did the local committee, and the result was a white imitation-marble High Bridge, Tuscan pillars erected at the four corners. and festoons of foliage swinging in graceful curves in every direction from a lofty central ring. The effect was admirable, and it was a pity that the Welland beneath was so sluggish and shallow. The decorations on the Southern side were maintained by Messrs. Wright & Currey, Mr. W. Bland, Messrs. Jennings & Co., and Ye Olde White Horse, while— and this remark applies to Crackpool Lane, Winsover Road, London Road, High Street, —it was observed that inhabitants near to but out of the line of route, considerately put out flags and made a background of bunting which gradually fell away to the lofty single flag on the tower or private house. The Venetian masts continued to the Show Ground, but the festoons of bunting terminated at the end of Church-street, at a point where the dignity of the ancient church, the natural beauty of the fine old sycamores, and the proximity of the Show ground, diverted attention from the brilliant decorations which had captivated the eye all along the route.
Too much credit cannot be given to the leading members of the Decoration Committee, for the taste and labour they had bestowed on their work Their labours extended over months ; and when the crucial period arrived the decorative structure had to rise in the streets as by magic, Mr. F. Pennington, Mr. Symes, and Mr. Burdett were largely responsible for the general design, the colouring of the pillars and bridge, and the preparation of pillars, steps for water-fall, &c. Dr. Lacy Barritt superintended the erection of the great features in the Market Place, and spent the whole of Tuesday night in incessant labour, in order that the design might be completed to time. Mr. H. S. Maples, Mr. G. F. Darrell, Mr. F. Catt, Mr. G. F. Birch, Mr. W. Newton, Mr. W. Wright, Mr. C. E. Bonner, and others were equally whole-hearted, and the result was a series of splendid spectacular effects. It should also be mentioned that Mr. G. F. Birch, jun., superintended the hastily-constructed ” Welcome ” at the Station entrance, which had to atone for the parsimonious negligence of the Railway Company
“WARM, VERY WARM,”
Because it’s warm, very warm,” was one reason given by Canon Bullock, in a charming little speech at the luncheon for not making a longer speech. And, perhaps, the extraordinary right about face of the weather, the three almost cloud. less days, the heat without the thunderstorm, was first in everyone’s thoughts, with the thermometer 90 degrees in the shade, and the sun’s rays streaming upon the light canvas of the sheds and stands, and dispersing a sickening odour around, the oil engine in motion on the grounds. But if the heat were, at mid-day, an element of discomfort, the sunshine was all in all to the decorations and the handsome dress of the ladies, forming no small part of that other show, the human show—the long and the gay procession of men and women in attire, passing to and fro and about the grounds.
WHY THIS UNPARALLED SUCCESS?
Spalding has broken its own record in respect of entries, and in other ways established bold figures for the future. How has this been done? The Chairman of the public luncheon summed up the causes in a few concise sentences “Lovely site, beautiful trees and grounds—Society well assisted by the local committee—between £800 and £900 in subscription money received—very good attendance, and an immense amount of interest taken by everybody in the success of the show.”
A COMPLIMENT TO SPALDING.
The importance of Lincolnshire agriculture was unmistakably shown by the fact that, according to one of the stewards, there was a larger show of implements than on any other County show ground in England. The Royal alone has beaten Lincolnshire in this respect. Mr. GO F. Barrell had an equally frank. and flattering compliment to pay to the town in which he has been in business nearly 30 years. “I don’t think,” he said, “that there is any town in this neighbourhood or county in which a trader would rather carry on his business.
Although not blessed with picturesque views and aristocratic patronage, for that prosaic purpose of getting a living and putting by a few sous for a rainy day there is no tm to beat it.” Thus, with the premier agricultural county and the enterprising fenland town joining hands in a common enterprise, no wonder success was complete.
JULY FOLIAGE, AND RAINBOW COLOURS.
This year there has been to hot sun and dry weather to dull the leaf and foliage. Hence the richer green hues of ash, and elm, and walnut in Mr. Clark’s paddocks, amid the most thickly wooded part of Spalding; and how grateful the shade of those rows and clumps of trees ‘neath which hundreds sat to listen to the band and watch the visitors the passing by the Decoration show! The welcome given to the visitors by the Decoration Committee and the tradesmen of the town was warmly appreciated, the flags unfurled aloft, fluttering streamers and banners the continuous and yet ever-changing folds of bunting marking the route, the striking scenic effects in the open spaces, and all the colours of the rainbow worked into some design, provoked the constant cry, ” How smart Spalding looks to-day
Probably no great public function ever passes without something happening to mark the uncertainty of human affairs, Mid-day Thursday was reached and the success of the show under a blue sky was assured. An imposing company gathered at what might be termed a feast. And where was Earl Carrington? At a funeral or preparing to go to one. He telegraphed to a friend: ” Regret owing to sudden death of my relative, Samuel Smith, shall be unable to be at Spalding. His funeral is fixed for Thursday.” In another communication, his lordship spoke of attending the funeral as ” head of the family.” There could be no answer to such a message beyond an expression of sympathy to Earl Carrington and regret at the painful event which deprived the Society of the presence of its President and the public function of its chairman.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE SHOW.
These were many. The Lincoln long-wool sheep were a great feature of the Show. For the first time the Society had provided a ring for judging and show purposes, and this proved a conspicuous success. When the magnificent shearling rams and hoggets appeared in the ring, with their fleeces parted down the middle, the crowd fell to admiring the famous Lincolnshire breed, whose chief characteristic is wool, next a large-framed good mutton sheep with plenty of bone ” as Mr. J. E. Casswell put it. Nearly all the best Heath and Wold breeders were represented, Mr. Tom Casswell’s 2-shear ram, winner of the first prize at the Royal at York, repeated his success, and Mr. Henry Dudding’s score or so of prize sheep transfixed not a few local shepherds on the third day.
FIRST THE SHIRE HORSE.
In a neighbourhood where hackneys and hunters are necessarily second to shires, those who keep the trolley in view ” were most interested in the cart horse breed. “You see where the interest lies ” said a stranger observing the crowd around ring 2. The show of shires was good throughout, they were all described as prize winning horses. The twenty mares with fouls at foot were a goodly sight. Better fouls have been seen, but the mares were a handsome lot. Unquestionably the district generally owns a cleaner and sounder class of shires than it did in 1887, although in that year the exhibits of MIO. Alfred Clark and Mr. Sutton Nelthorpe, of Scawby, which ‘c swept the decks,” were of a high order. A ring of critics formed round Mr. J. Forshaw’s ” Whaplode Countess,” which has grown into a beautiful mare since she left, the hands of the breeder, Mr. Joseph Ward; and ” Deeping Jewel,” Mr. George Freir’s 2 yearold filly was approved as she walked round with the blue riband. But, perhaps, the most popular feature of the shire judging was
Mr. JOHN DRAKARD’S SUCCESS.
“Willow Holt King ” has always been a favourite on parade, but hitherto he has been a stranger to the Show Ring. Indeed. Mr. Drakard only thought about entering him the week before. His triumph was popular for several reasons. He is a distinctly local horse, bred on one of Lord Carrington’s farms by Mr. Richard Ward, of High Bank, Crowland; there was no dispute as to his right to first place—the judges soon settled that—and, thirdly, Mr. John Drakard is a shire-horse owner, who has risen from the ranks by hard work and straight dealing. After upwards of 30 years’ experience of the business, he has won premier position; and none will more heartily congratulate him on carrying away Mr. Pollock’s challenge cup than brother shire-horse owners in the Peterborough and Spalding districts. “Willow Holt King ” has just; completed his travels in the neighbourhood of Crowland, Deeping, Spalding, and Gosberton. He is five years old and knows how to walk on good legs and sound feet.
AROUND STOCK PENS.
The strong competition from the big studs which the local shire horse brooders experienced, was felt also amongst the beast and pigs. The Prince of Wales’s bull won first prize, but many regarded the winner of the second prize with more favour. The Duddings and Deans wore to the front with short-horned cattle, as with sheep, but the distinctly local men—Messrs. W. J. Atkinson, J.W. Rowland, T. Diggle, J. W. Measures, Henry Casswell, R, M. Mills, and J. S. Patchett—exhibited some very useful cattle, and: gave an earnest that they intend to progress in a direction offering plenty of scope. The pigs were again a very fine lot, the best white boars being exhibited by the well-known breeders, Sir Gilbert Greenall, and Mr. Sanders Spencer. Mr. He Caudwell, of Midville, secured a double first, and Mr. T. Diggle had, in one class, white sows, the pick of the Show. Amongst the poultry there was a lesser entry, on account of the increased fees. The quality was quite an average for a Lincolnshire Show, but in the opinion of some experts, the awards might have been distributed more in accordance with distinctive merit.
On some show grounds, there whispers of big deals and transfers. A red riband or a blue riband will often improvise a satisfactory sale on the spot. No sensational “good round figures” were, however, recorded, although several sales of stock took place. In the meantime, the cake merchant booked an order and, perchance, the manure merchant settled a bill, while the implement makers and agents did a thriving business. The local tradesmen at their stands expressed themselves well pleased with the ledger entries, and one agent declared he had sold 30 self-binders, up to Thursday. “Never had such a day in my life,” he declared, ” carts wiping his perspiring brow and ample face, wagons and stacking machines all sold and If scarcely a thing left on the ground unbooked.” the case, need one wonder how it pays to drag acres of implements from Show to Show.
A critical crowd might always be seen around men. Those in charge had a warm time of it, but they were in the happy position of having more orders on hand than they could execute. So, it was said. The implement shown was lighter, by half a ton, than the previous machine. ” How many acres per day? said one. ” How many horses to pull it? said another. ” Won’t the tops bung her up?” suggested a third. ” What if it rains all October? ” put in a fourth. ” Ye want the land and the weather making for it ” chimed in ganger on the third day. ” Getting on I see,” said quiet man, “would lift an early crop on dry land; you’ll manage it in time, but wet, strong land would block you. A most difficult thing to get to work.” That seemed the general opinion. However, a constant ring of onlookers testified to the genuine interest in the invention; and it was stated that Mr. Wm. Dennis, one of the directors of the new company, intended to use the machine at Kirton.
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF THE SHOW.
The play of the sleek and slender beauties of the paddock, and the jumping in the parade ring were, as always, popular features. On Thursday afternoon, the grand stand was packed, and the crowd, in several thicknesses, lined the enclosure. Within the rectangle, the hackneys, horses, and ponies showed pace and wonderful action, while the fine trees beyond made an ideal back-ground for a remarkable scene. ” Ah,” said a severely practical man, ” this fine stepping, and headlong pace is all very showy, but it doesn’t last. They can’t keep it up for long. True, but the ornamental side of stockbreeding has its advantage—it pleases, at any rate, for everyone, including the utilitarian referred to, likes to see action in carriage horses. The jumping created the customary fun, even excitement. The ladies in saddle were warmly applauded. Never before had such a field entered. The wily horse, the horse with a temper, the old hunter which made little effort but cleared the wall and gate and water easily were all there; and when, towards the finish, amidst, excitement and heat, an ancient looking hack, with stiffened limbs, showed his latent mettle and cleared all obstacles, the oldest man on the Show round (Mr. John Goodale, of Weston) applauded in memory of his hunting days of auld laug syne.
The extent to which artificial products have entered into the cultivation of the soil and the feeding of stock of late years, was fitly illustrated by the immense space which was occupied by manufacturers of feeding stuffs, manures, and the like. Two Spalding firms had prominent and attractively arranged stands—Chamberlain & Co. for their cattle spices, and Osmond & Son for their popular cattle oils, powders, drinks, dips, Messrs. J. H. Milestone & Co., of Hull, had a fine display of their well-known feeding cakes, cattle spices, meals, and manures. One of the most conspicuous, and one of the best arranged stands, was that of Messrs. Sion, Williams, & Co., of Sleaford, where cakes, oils, and manures of various kinds, which are largely in demand in this district, excited considerable interest. Messrs. W. S. White & Co., of Lincoln, who are some sort universal providers for the agriculturist, were well to the fore, and their high reputation ensured their stand considerable attention. Messrs. Tomlinson & Hayward, of Lincoln, with their sheep dip; and Messrs. Battle, Son, & Bower, of Lincoln, with their dips and disinfectant powders; the Canadian Government, with some the productive powders of the land in the Dominion; Messrs. T. Pettifer & Co., with their well-known cattle mixtures ; Mr. T. Mott, of Littleport, with his effective specialties for horses; Messrs. Thorley’s, with their renowned cattle foods ; Simonds, Hunt, & Montgomery, Liverpool, with their “Albion” feeding stuffs ; Mr. Stephen Willson, of Peterborough, whose Canadian Pig Powder are a household word; Tipper & Son, Birmingham, with a panacea for animal aches and pains; Mr. E.Mackinder, of Lincoln, with his lamb food ; Day, Son, & Hewitt, of London, with their varieties of “medicine chests,” etc., for animals of all kinds; Messrs. Sutton & Co., Norwich, with their Norfolk cattle medicines ; Jekyll, Glasier, & Co., of Lincoln with feeding cakes, lamb food, spices, dips, manures; the Waterloo Mills Co., Hull, with their linseed and cotton cakes ; the Permanent Nitrate Committee, London, set forth the advantage of nitrates as fertilisers; Doughty, Son, & Richardson, Lincoln, with their justly celebrated cakes and manures— these are but samples selected from the vast number of well-equipped stands. Messrs. S. & G Kingston, of Spalding, were well in evidence as auctioneers, manure agents, Messrs. Edward Webb & Sons, the famous Queen’s Seedsmen, of Wordsley, Stourbridge, had a splendid stand (75a), well-equipped and artistically arranged. One needed but to inspect this wonderful combination to see what great things are possible where seeds of the highest quality and accessories of undoubted reliability are utilised. Messrs. Garton, Limited, Warrington, exhibited some instructive samples of new breeds ” of farm plants, which had been produced during the past twenty years by the application of their system of plant improvement. Messrs. W. & J. Brown, of Stamford, had a stand of magnificent plants and flowering
Our detailed report of the County Show, with a complete list of the awards, appears on pages 6 and 7 of this date—July 17th, 1900.