“The Show Window of Agriculture” – trotters and hooves
True to those early objectives of the Show, cattle classes have featured in the schedule throughout the show’s history. In the 1930s, the cattle section was referred to as the ‘Show Window of Agriculture’. The cattle classes feature a range of beef and dairy breeds and it probably is still one of the main attractions of a modern agricultural show.
Somewhat hard to understand is the omission of sheep in that early objectives statement, given that the moors surrounding Honley are very much ‘sheep country’. The sheep classes are now a firmly established part of the Show and the range of breeds exhibited goes beyond that of the hill varieties associated with the area. Goat classes also now feature alongside sheep and are well supported, reflecting the increasing interest in small holding activities.
Pigs though commonly kept on farms and small-holdings were dropped from the schedule in 1956 and didn’t return until the new millennium.
Of the small livestock included in the first and subsequent shows, poultry and rabbit classes are still held as the keeping and showing of these are increasingly popular.
Local pride drives the revival
In the years following the 1921 decision to revive the annual Honley Show, its reputation and popularity continued. Newspaper coverage of the 1939 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 of 3000, and an attendance, despite the light rain and cold, of about 8,000, an indication of its early popularity which has not diminished over the years. At this time, the Honley Show was the only one day show held in the Huddersfield district.
Location, Location, Location
Unfortunately, the Show, along with many other things, was put on hold by the Second World War. As normality returned, so did the Show.
On June 11th 1949, in perfect weather, the 20th Honley Annual Show returned to its home ground at Honley Cricket Club and Recreation Ground.
The Show quickly recovered its popularity and continued to grow. By 1965 the scale of the event, increase in associated traffic, encroaching housing development and the loss of the use of the cricket field meant that a new location would be needed.
From 1966 the Show moved to fields on the outskirts of the village between the Meltham and Bradshaw roads, around Pontey Farm, which served very well for the next 3 decades with one exception. Circumstances brought about a relocation to South Crosland in 1972, taking the Show even further from the heart of the community than the subsequent move to Farnley Tyas. The weather signified its disapproval of the change of scene.
Fortunately, the show returned to Honley the following year, but as to whether the sun gave the return its blessing – who knows?