Flower Shows

Swillington Bridge.


Leeds Intelligencer, Saturday 11 August 1860.

The thriving and beautiful little villages of Swillington, Preston, Oulton, and Woodlesford, uniting together, succeeded in establishing a floral and horticultural society which promises be of a more than ordinary successful character.

Through the exertions of an enterprising committee of gentlemen, the society held a very attractive exhibition on Monday last, in a field adjoining Swillington Bridge, in the occupation of Mr. Ash, of the Lowther Arms.

The exhibition was held under the patronage of the Right Hon. tbe Earl of Mexborough, Sir J. H. Lowther, Bart., the Hon. and Rev. P. Y. Savile, the Rev. J. Bell, J. T. Leather, Esq., Major Wand, T. Salt, Esq., M.P., H. C. M. Ingram, Esq., John Calverley, Esq., E. Calverley, Esq., R. Harrison, Esq., W. Locke, Esq., J. T. Fenton, Esq., the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford (the president), H. Bentley, Esq., and G. Young, Esq.

Notwithstanding the unsummer-like season and somewhat inclement state of the weather, there were many visitors from Leeds, Normanton, Bradford, and the neighbouring towns and villages, who, in vehicles, or on foot, gave the road an animated and gay appearance.

Rain fell in rapid showers during the early part of the day, and had the effect of rendering the show field swampy, and anything but pleasant for promenading, but towards evening the weather took up, and, though dull, remained fine.

The plants, fruits, and vegetables for exhibition were arranged on tables in a commodious marquee. The centre was occupied with plants of the decorative kind, all in excellent condition, and the tables around the marquee were appropriated to specimens of ferns, cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

The decorative plants formed a source of great attraction and admiration, and were principally lent for exhibition from the greenhouses of John Calverley, Esq., Oulton Hall; R. Harrison, Esq., and B. F. Scott, Esq., Oulton.

The geraniums exhibited by Mr. Harrison were exceedingly fine and beautiful, as were also the specimens of fuschias. The different varieties of ferns, too, and the plants in flower were very beautiful, and attracted considerable attention.

The cut flowers were arranged with great taste on the tables, and were, generally speaking, worthy of commendation. The roses, owing to the backwardness of the season, were in fine bloom, and there was an excellent display of this “Queen of Flowers,” Mr. Clayton, Rothwell, Mr. Green, of the Garforth nursery, and Mr. Pope, of Oulton, amongst others, exhibiting beautiful selections.

Dahlias and hollyhocks were not particularly good, and the show of verbenas and stocks, though far from bad, does not call for any particular notice. Tbe pansies exhibited, however, were very fine, great pride being taken by the inhabitants of neighbourhood in the cultivation and perfection of this most beautiful flower.

A special show of carnations and picotees, competition for prizes in which was to be opened to the West Riding, was announced as one of the principal attractions of the exhibition; but this proved almoat a failure, there being only a few of those flowers exhibited, and the consequently were not awarded. Mr. Schofield, of Knosthorpe, near Leeds, showed, for exhibition only, a small but fine collection. The fruit show was scanty, and, owing to the weather, naturally of inferior quality, though some pretty good currants, raspberries, and gooseberries were exhibited.

Of course it is yet too early for autumn fruits, and these, therefore, were poorly represented. The display of vegetables was abundant and good quality, and altogether the exhibition was a very meritorious one, and was patronized nearly generally by the residents in the neighbourhood.

We must not forget to notice an exceedingly pretty miniature box garden, designed in parti-coloured flowers by the under-gardeners (Messrs. Bramley and Berry) in the employ of J. T. Leather, Esq., Leventhorpe Hall, which showed much ingenuity in its manufacture and taste in its arrangement.

By the kind permission of Sir John Lowther, the delightful grounds, box garden, &c., at Swillington House, were thrown open from four to six o’clock in the evening, to all parties having tickets for the exhibition, and a large number availed themselves of the privilege.

A tea, also, was provided in a tent in the rectory grounds, of which a large number partook. The Rev. A.F.A. Woodford, tbe rector of Swillington, allowed the visitors to the exhibition entrance into the beautiful rectory grounds, where, at five o’clock, a large number had assembled.

Ingledew’s brass band from Leeds was stationed before the rectory, and played a selection of popular airs in excellent style. Dancing was commenced and kept up with great spirit, and rural games in different parts of the grounds tended to heighten the picturesqueness of the scene, and make the time pass in a very pleasant manner. The only drawback to the visitors’ pleasure was the dampness of’ the ground which, however, seemed little to be noticed.

Dancing was continued until nine o’clock, when the company dispersed, apparently highly gratified with their day’s entertainment. The total number of visitors to the exhibition was estimated at about 3000, and the greater part of that number afterwards either viewed the grounds of Swillington House or took tea at the rectory.

Amongst those present we noticed John Calverley, Esq., Oulton Hall; the Hon. and Rev. P. Y. Savile, Methley; the Rev. J. Bell, Oulton Grange; the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, Swillington; the Rev. R. H. Hamilton, Oulton; G. Young, Esq., Oulton; R. Harrison, Esq., Oulton; R. Binney Esq., Woodlesford ; B. F. Scott, Esq., Oulton; R. Bentley, Esq., Oulton ; J. Mawson, Esq., Leeds; Mr. W. Wheelwright, Woodlesford; Mr. D. Newton, Garforth; Mr. R. Fenton, Leeds; Mr. W. Hart, Swillington; Mr. H. Groom, Swillington; Mr. Fligg, Swiliington, Mr. Thomas Bilton, Swillington; Mr. Gill, Preston; Mr. W. Gray, Leeds; Mr. Craven, Woodlesford; Mr. Waite, Oulton; Mr. W. Swale, Leeds; Mr. H. Casson, Woodlesford; Mr. W. Walker, Oulton; Mr. R. P. Smith, tbe hon. secretary; Mr. W. Leuty, Leeds; &c, &C.

The judges were; for plants and fruit, Mr. Fowler, gardener to the Earl of Harewood and Mr. C. Schofield, Knowsthorpe, near Leeds. For cut flowers and vegetables, Mr. J. Stephenson, Leeds ; and Mr. E. Schofield, Wortley.