150th Anniversary of Bream Summer Show

The Bream Summer Show 2015

A photo taken inside the marquee at the 2015 show.
The annual show 2015.

Bream Gardening Society was founded in 1865 to encourage, improve and extend the members’ knowledge of all branches of horticulture. Our Summer Show started in 1865 and since then has been held every year except 1926, the year of the General Strike, when there was great hardship in the Forest of Dean.

It even continued during the 1914-18 and 1939-45 wars. We were able to hold the show in wartime because until the 1960’s the Forest of Dean was an important mining area. Mining continued during the wars, so a good proportion of the local community were able, and were also very keen, to keep the Show running.

We held special events in 2015 to mark the Society’s 150th anniversary, and have researched the Society’s early years.

Special events held in 2015

June – Bream Open Gardens weekend, and Morris dancing in Bream

June Launch of Ian Hendy’s book  “Unearthed” on the history of Bream Gardening Society.

July to September – Special display about the Society’s history at the Dean Heritage Centre

15th August – Summer Flower and Produce Show on Bream Rugby Field

24th October – Autumn Chrysanthemum and Craft Show

The Anniversary Quilt

See the story of  the special anniversary quilt made for the 2015 150th show.

Banners for the Show Tent

In addition to the quilt and banner, members of the ‘Quilting Bee’ made individual banners showing flowers, vegetables, birds and butterflies to celebrate the joy of gardening using a variety of sewing techniques.   The quilt, name banner, individual banners and bunting were used to decorate the main marquee for the 150th Show in August 2015.

An early show report

This report from the September 1868 Bream Parish Magazine makes interesting reading:

The Fourth Annual Show was held at Colliers’ Beech, on Saturday, August 1st; and was, all things considered, better than any former one. The long drought had parched up the land, and consequently many gardens were unable to produce vegetables which were considered by their owners as worth entering for competition; hence there were only 157 articles this year against 193 last year. On the other hand the onions and potatoes were better, and the baskets and pots of flowers, and designs in grasses and flowers, more tasteful. The attendance was not so large as last year. The Lydney Volunteer Band played during the afternoon, and gave great satisfaction. At 6 o’clock the prizes, all of which were of a useful and substantial sort,—as quilts, sheets, fire-irons, tables, knives and forks, crockery, iron ware, tools, &c., many of them presents from Lady Campbell and Mrs. Noel,—were presented to the winners by Lady Campbell. The judges were the same as last year,— Mr. Collison from Clanna, and Mr. Moysey from Newland House. The following is the list of successful competitors:—

Ornamental Basket of Plants— 1st prize,George Webb; 2nd, George Summers; 3rd, W. Miles.
Basket of Fruit.—lst, Thos. Watkins; 2nd, John Croome; 3rd, Geo. Summers.
Nosegay.—lst, Richard Howell ; 2nd, Richard Brain; 3rd, James Billy.
Basket of Wild Flowers..—lst, Mrs. Nicholls; 2nd, George Webb; 3rd, Richard Brain.
Best Design in Flowers, Grass &c.— lst, George Webb ; 2nd, Rd. Hewlett, Jun.
Collection of Medicinal Herbs,— 1st, Richard Brain.
Cabbage (4).—1st, Charles Brice; 2nd, Wm. Thomas; 3rd, Richard Howell.
Potatoes (half peck).—1st, Thomas Watkins; 2nd, Matthew Kear; 3rd, Thomas Batten; 4th, Tom Kear. Charles Brice, commended.
Winter Onions (6) 1st, Miles; 2nd, Hunt; 3rd, T. Watkins, Richd. Johnson.
Lettuces (4)— Richard Howells.
Celery,—1st, Charles Jones; 2nd, James Thomas.
Kidney Beans,— 1st. Geo. Wintour; 2nd, John Morgan; 3rd. Richard Howells.
Basket of Vegetables. 1st, Thomas Watkins; 2nd, Albert Carey; 3rd, Thomas Batten; 4th, Charles Jones.
Rhubarb (6 sticks).—lst, Miles; 2nd, J. Thomas.
Green Peas (half-peck),—1st, Richard Howells ; 2nd, John Shingles.
Broad Beans (half-peck)—1st, Thomas Watkins; 2nd, William Thomas; 3rd, Richard Howells.
Cucumbers (3)—1st, John Dobbs jun.; 2nd, James Thomas ; 3rd, Richard Johnson.
Carrots (6)— 1st, Richard Howells; 2nd, George Wintour; 3rd, Edward Henderson; 4th, John Kear (Mark).
Turnips 6) —1st, John Hunt; 2nd, Richard Hewlett; 3rd, Charles Jones.
Parsnips—1st, Richard Howells; 2nd, John Morgan; 3rd, Samuel Summers; 4th Richard Hewlett.
Cauliflowers—1st, Richard Johnson; 2nd, Richard Howells.
Spring Onions (24).—1st, Miles; 2nd, S. Summers; 3rd, Richard Dufty ; 4th, J. Baker. Hunt, commended.