Bosham Chidham and District Horticultural Society Centenary 2021

Horticultural Society


In 1922 the Bognor Regis Observer reported that the second annual show of the Bosham Horticultural Society (as it was then called) took place on 22nd July 1922 in the “charming grounds of the Manor House.” There were “sideshows, the Chichester City Band, dancing in the evening, trips on the moat and penny rides.” It was also reported that the Vice President Lady Barker attended, prizes were distributed by Mrs Davison, and Mr W. Leslie Heaver sent a “magnificent selection of salads and some grapes”. The newspaper stated that the show was a “decided advance on the initial exhibition held last summer” i.e. 1921.

In 1923 a report appeared of the third Annual Show and in 1925 the fifth Annual Show was reported to have been held. These reports lead to the conclusion that what is now called Bosham, Chidham and District Horticultural Society is one hundred years old this year.

By the 20’s and 30’s the Annual show clearly was an important fixture in the Bosham calendar. After being held in a number of venues, including the Manor House, by the 1930s meetings and the annual show were held in the village hall, and in the case of the annual shows also “in the field adjoining”. In 1928 at the July fete there was an exhibit of beehive utensils provided by Mr M Butler of the “Bosham Beehive Works”. Exhibits were sold with the proceeds going to the hospital. In 1935 the flower show was held on July 21st and was followed by “a whist drive, then fireworks and dancing”!

Regular meetings and shows took place throughout the war years, although the 1940 show was cancelled, no doubt because of the German daylight air raids which had been directed at ports and airfields in Southern England in August of that year. Growing fruit and vegetables at home was of great importance, and, since many households did not have a garden large enough to grow food, in 1940 free allotments were offered to Bosham residents by, among others, Mrs Hamblin (North Bosham), Hoe Way (Lady Allen) and Old School (Mrs Minter). Other residents with spare garden space offered others the use of their gardens. In 1941 a show was held in Chichester in which BCDHS participated together with the NFU Growers Branch, poultry growers and beekeepers associations. This show raised £1,000 for the Red Cross. On 8th August 1942 an empty field was “transformed into a gala filled with two large marquees and innumerable sideshows and competitions”. One marquee held a poultry and rabbit show, and a baby show was held in the Village Hall.

RHS show in London for a New Zealand bottle-brush shrub” and in October 1959 Miss Heaver (gardener G. Adsett) Mrs H L Baxendale and Mrs Gosling were congratulated on successes in the RHS Fruit Show at Westminster Hall.

In recent years the Plant Sale and Annual Show have continued to be well attended, although attendance at monthly meetings and membership have been dwindling. Covid 19 has for the time being stopped all shows and meetings but the prospect for 2021 is for the vaccination program and lockdowns to suppress the virus and end the pandemic, so we can get back to normal. Hopefully, the lockdowns have resulted in lots of hard work in members’ gardens producing flowers, fruit and vegetables for the summer show!