End of an era as gates close on the last Royal Show

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As the gates close at the Royal Show on Friday 10 July an era comes to an end – as does a piece of British rural history.

In April this year the show organisers – the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) – announced that this year’s show – the 160th – was to be the last.

Although not a major event in the pest control calendar, many from within the industry will, at some time, have enjoyed a day out at ”the Royal”.

But, just like other ‘hallowed’ institutions, even this event was not immune to the winds of change. Many reasons have been cited for its demise – but over recent years the event lost its focus and by trying to appeal to ‘everyone’ it ended up pleasing no-one. Visitors failed to appear and exhibitors deserted their traditional stands.

Chairman of Trustees, Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, said that the decision to close had been a real challenge but the response to the show in recent years left the Society with little option.

“In the aftermath of the Foot and Mouth disaster in 2001 closely followed by very bad weather two years ago and Blue Tongue last year, the event has struggled – both financially and in its ability to attract both farming and non-farming visitors.”

The first show was first held in 1839 in Oxford, followed by Liverpool and Manchester. With a history spanning 170 years, the Royal Show has taken place each year since, with the exception of the World Wars, and when there was cattle plague and Foot and Mouth Disease.

In 1963 Stoneleigh Park hosted its first Royal Show, when 111,916 visitors passed through the gates.  


Royal Show - cattle

 Royal Show - food hall

 Royal Show - pigs

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