Snape Annual Show – a brief history
The Show was originally called the Thorp Perrow Tenants’ Show and probably first started in 1890. It was first held at Thorp Perrow.
In August 1893 the York Herald records that the “third annual show of flowers, fruits and vegetables grown by the tenants on the Thorp Perrow estates was held at Thorp Perrow”. There were around 1000 people present for the tea; music for dancing was provided by Bedale Band. Prizes were given for the best cottage gardens in the three villages of Snape, Well and Thornton Watlass.
In August 1895 the Northern Echo refers to the “fourth annual flower show and fete for the tenants on the Thorp Perrow estates” being held on the lawn at Thorp Perrow. Entries were up from 73 to 86 in the flower show and “the feature of the show was the splendid show of vegetables”. Sir and Lady Milbank “entertained the whole of the tenantry on their estates to tea in two large marquees .. there being over 1,200 present.” Music was provided by the Catterick Rifle Band, there was a meat tea, a singing contest for children and a cricket match.
The Darlington & Stockton Times records the Sports at Snape on 1st August 1914. “Given fine weather the second annual sports at Snape on Bank Holiday promises to be a huge success. The open events include 100 yards, quarter mile and half mile flat handicaps, high jump, quoit match and musical ride and musical walk. With liberal prizes offered some interesting racing should be witnessed.” As this refers to a “second” annual sports event this may mean the show and sports were being organised separately at that time.
William Appleby, a resident of Snape in the early to mid-20th century, noted that the Snape Feast was held over 2 days at the beginning of August and that donkey racing was a prominent feature. Donkeys were kept at that time by most residents.
Mary Lambert, a past resident, remembered that in the 1920s the schedules were delivered, entry forms returned and then 2 members of the Committee visited the gardens to check that the flowers and vegetables were being grown by the entrant.
The original shows included classes for farmers with classes for cows, other farm animals, and farm crops. The showing of farm animals discontinued in the late 1950s and that of farm crops in 1968.
Some classes aimed at the children would be frowned on now – largest number of sparrow eggs (discontinued in 1963); largest number of white butterflies (discontinued in 1981); and a bunch of wild flowers (discontinued in 1981).
Fair stalls and rides were held on the greens in the early years of 20th century. Generally, at a similar time, there was a social event with music and dancing in the evening in the Institute.
The August Bank Holiday was originally at the beginning of the month and when it moved to the last Monday in the month the type of plants to show had to be reorganised due to the later time of year.