History of the Old Basing and Lychpit Village Show


The beginning

The first Old Basing Flower Show was held in 1864.

It was organised by Admiral Booth and described by the Reverend Hessey, Vicar of St Mary's Church, as "the best thing the Admiral ever did". In the beginning the show was held in the garden of Old Basing House which was then the property of Admiral Booth, and later in the "Park" in the ruins, it then moved to the Recreation Ground and became a very large affair, with tents, marquees, and great quantities of bunting. Cottagers entered their prize flowers and vegetables, gardens were judged and special prizes were awarded for the best collections of flowers, fruit and vegetables. There were athletics, bicycle sports, military sports, a band, switchbacks, roundabouts, dancing, and the day ended with a firework display.

The Flower Show went from strength to strength, and by 1886 it was called Old Basing and Mapledurwell Horticultural Show, its Patron was Lord Bolton, the President was the Reverend R. F. Hessey, Vice-President was Lieut. Col. Hardinge, the Treasurer S. J. A. Salter Esq. and it had two Secretaries, Messrs. H. Ingram and E. C. Bond.

The 1887 show was held in Old Basing Park, by kind permission of the Right Hon. Lord Bolton, on Thursday, September 8th . Prizes were awarded to Labourers, Mechanics, and Others, being Residents of Basing or Mapledurwell, for the best specimens of Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers, the produce of their own gardens, and for the best cultivated gardens. Also, for the best pens of Poultry, Ducks, Pigeons and Rabbits; and for Butter and Eggs.

The Vegetable classes had two sections, the 1st class section was for Farm Labourers and the 2nd class for Mechanics and Others. Prizes awarded were, for example, for twelve Round White Potatoes, a 1st class entrant was awarded two shillings and sixpence as first prize whilst a 2nd class entrant was awarded only two shillings! The Fruit, Flowers and Cut Flowers were for all comers, Labourers, Mechanics, and Others. For Poultry, Pigeons, Rabbits, Eggs and Butter the prizes reached the giddy heights of five shillings for the Best Cock and Hen of any pure breed and five shillings for the Best dish of two half-pounds of Butter. Rules and Regulations stated that 'Any Labourer or Mechanic residing in Basing or Mapledurwell, will be allowed to compete on payment of one shilling' and that 'Persons competing for Prizes with Productions not the produce of their own gardens will be excluded from the Society. The Committee may inspect all gardens of those intending to show'.

Suspension and re-starting

The Show was abandoned at the outbreak of war in 1939, but in 1943 Mrs. Carlos Carey, Honorary Secretary, of Park House Farm, wrote to Lord Bolton requesting that the show be revived in view of the great interest taken in gardens and allotments, and in response to the Government's wish that entertainments be arranged locally to keep the residents at home during the holiday month. Mrs Carey asked Lord Bolton to once again become the Show's Patron. His Lordship agreed, and the Show reopened on September 4th 1943 in the midst of war.

By 1955 the Show was called Old Basing, Mapledurwell and Up-Nately Horticultural Society Flower Show and the Patron was Viscount Camrose. It was held in the Recreation Ground, Old Basing and there was a 'comprehensive programme of Sports and Amusements'. By this time Allotments and Gardens were included in the classes. A First and Second Prize was awarded by the President, G. H. Knight, for the Best-kept and Cropped Allotments of not more than 10 rods in each group at Upper and Lower Pyotts Hill, Riley and Regency, and Crown Lane. Judging of Winter Greens, Rotation and Cropping and General Tidiness, took place in July for prizes awarded at the Show in August. Entries had to be in by July 1st and there was an entry fee of one shilling. Competitors were not allowed to be present during the judging! First prize was £1 and 2nd was ten shillings. Similar prizes for the two Best Cottage Gardens in the Parish of Old Basing were awarded. Either one Garden or one Allotment could be entered.

In 1955 the Hampshire County Farm Institute, Sparsholt's, Domestic Food Production Advisory Service, awarded Certificates of Merit to Allotment Holders and Gardeners whose plots reached a sufficiently high standard. Any garden or allotment could be entered provided that the area producing vegetables was not less than five rods, and not more than twenty rods. Judging was carried out by the County Council Horticultural Staff.

In 1977 the appearance of the Show Schedule was very much as we know it today, the Chairman was Major A. C. E. Daniel, the President was Philip Nash and the Treasurer was Mr B. G. Chritchett. The Committee Members were Mr A. J. Gregory, Mr G. E. F. Jones, Mrs H. May-Miller, Mr J. E. Preston, Mrs Pauline Sivier, Miss Heather Stewart and Mrs Ann West. The Show came under the umbrella of the Old Basing and Chineham Residents' Association and was called The Horticultural Show. It was held at the Primary School, Old Basing on Saturday, September 10th.

In 1979 the Show was renamed Old Basing Flower Show and was held at the Junior School. Admission was increased from 20p to 25p for adults, but for children and pensioners it remained at 10p. The President that year was Dr A. M. Smeaton and Major Daniel continued as Chairman.

In 1983, the home for the annual Show moved to the then recently opened Old Basing Village Hall.

Mrs Betty Holmes, M.B.E. took over from Dr Smeaton as President in 1990 and remained so until her death in April 2009.

More recent history

Until April 2001 the Flower Show Committee reported, as a sub-committee, to the AGM of the Resident’s Association. In 2002, the Show committee became an autonomous committee and the Show was renamed the "Old Basing Village Show" to reflect the fact that the entry classes included many sections in addition to the flower and horticultural classes.

In 2009, following his long association with the show and having served on the committee for many years, Alan Gibberd became our new president. Alan remained president and an active show entrant, regularly winning awards for his rose blooms, until his death in 2018. In memory of Alan, his family donated a new cup to the Show, the "Dr Alan Gibberd Rose Trophy", awarded for the best rose bloom to replace the McGredy Shield which Alan had won many times - see the awards page for more information about these and all of the awards that are presented at the Show. In the same year, the show was renamed the "Old Basing and Lychpit Village Show" and it continues to be held every September in Old Basing Village Hall.

2020 - Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional annual show had to be cancelled. However, the committee held a "virtual" where entrants could submit photos that were displayed on our web site (see the 2020 entries here) and a cup was awarded for the winning entry in each of the 4 classes.

The committee intends to return with a full show on 5th September 2021