The annual Honley Agricultural Show is usually held on the second Saturday in June, in the midst of the “Last of the Summer Wine” countryside. A traditional, yet unique and very popular show, it regularly attracts between 10,000 – 15,000 people every year. It’s a perfect setting for what is a truly great amalgam of all that’s best in British farming and country crafts and it comes to life once a year.
In 1939, newspaper coverage of that year’s Show commented on the individualistic nature of the Honley people and that they should be proud of their own Show, which continued to attract record entries – in fact, over 2000 that year.
Even in those early days, light rain and a cold wind did not deter the Huddersfield and District people from attending their only one day Show. Records indicate an attendance of about 8,000 in 1939, an indication of its early popularity which has not diminished over the years.
In the 1930s, the cattle section was referred to as the ‘Show Window of Agriculture’ and probably is still one of the main attractions of an agricultural show.
Although there is evidence to suggest there were earlier Fancier Shows, which were organised to provide financial support for the many injured soldiers returning from the 1914-1918 war, the first annual Honley Show took place on Saturday, 27th August 1921. Admission was 1/6d (7.5p in today’s decimal coinage). Apart from the usual small livestock, the Show had vegetable classes for local allotment holders, together with a Brass Band Contest and Gala.
Apart from the unavoidable break during the Second World War, the Show has been held in or near Honley on a regular basis since.
The Show’s early rules clearly set out an objective which was ‘to hold an Annual Exhibition in or near Honley of horses, cattle, pigs, dogs, poultry, pigeons, rabbits, horticulture and agriculture; to encourage breeding, rearing and keeping of good stock etc’, principles which have stood the test of time and which are upheld by the existing committee.
The Society is delighted that a number of Honley and Huddersfield area businesses, advertising in our 1930’s catalogues, are still in operation today. Some are still supporting the Show even now and we are grateful for their contribution. We wish all of these old established companies continued success.
For the future, the Honley Show Society recognises that, as an organisation, we need to embrace change, whilst retaining our true heritage. We are conscious of our roots and also prepared to move with the times; we welcome any change that takes the Society forward for the benefit of its members and the community in general.