Our History

Bartley Horticultural Society is over 100 years old, and still going strong!

Poster from 1909 As far as can be ascertained the first Flower Show was started in 1899. Mr H. Martin was the head gardener for Major Francis Bertram Dalrymple at Bartley Lodge. He approached his employer with the idea that a flower show would be an added attraction in village life.

Between them they decided to stage a show in the park at Bartley Lodge. Mr Martin improvised a tent by joining together two hayrick tarpaulins. Entries were small but it was a beginning.

Later a meeting was called and the Society was formed with Major Dalrymple as the first President. Credit was given to Mr Martin for the formation of the Society and he was later made an Honorary Life Member.

Mr C. Cull became the first Chairman of the Committee with Mr Redford King as Honorary Secretary.

There is an article here from the The Western Gazette from Friday 24th August 1900 Open Gazette Article

From the start the Society flourished and aroused considerable interest in the district. Until the outbreak of World War I it was noted for fine military displays and splendid gymkhanas.

A notable feature was always the consistent high quality of the exhibits of fruit, flowers, vegetables and homecrafts. Each year the judges paid compliment to this and it was recognised to be one of the finest shows in the New Forest as detailed in the Southern Daily Echo in August 1907  Open Southern Daily Echo Article

Classes now included Gentlemen's and Tenant Farmers' Dairies (butter, eggs, poultry) and special classes for the neatest and best cultivated cottage garden, wild flowers and grasses, honey and the largest collection of queen wasps. The Industrial class was for school children and included best dressed doll, pinafore, sampler, knitting and drawing.

No shows were held during either of the wars but interest never waned. On each occasion no time was lost in reviving this popular annual event. Major Sloane-Stanley of Paultons was also a Society President and ardent supporter for many years, followed by his daughter Mrs John Everett. The number of exhibits in horticultural classes have at times exceeded seven hundred with well over one hundred entries for the gymkhana.

During the 1950s Mr Cyril Haysom became Chairman supported by an enthusiastic Committee. Major C. B. Hibbert D.S.O. M.C. was Honorary Treasurer, succeeded by Mr Hubert Thomas of Ower. The show was held at Bartley Lodge Park now by kind permission of Captain P. H. Dodgson. The Honorary Secretary was Mr Cyril Harrison of Lyndhurst. He was recognised as a valuable addition to the Society's officers for setting his heart to the colossal task with such determination.

Committee Picture