The last exhibition of the present season of flowers, fruit, vegetables, and agricultural produce, was held in the Park Grounds on Tuesday the 13th instant, when upwards of 230 prizes were offered for competition, nearly the whole of which were awarded. The productions exhibited in each department were unprecedented, and the fine collection of plants from R.T Clarke, Esq., the Rev. T. Green, Sir Charles Knightley, and C. W. Watkins, Esq., claimed general attention. Owing to the heavy rain of the previous evening, the committee judged it prudent to countermand the attendance of the band of the 95th Regiment, which by the kind permission of Colonel Webber Smith was generously granted; but the weather clearing up by eleven o’clock, a messenger was dispatched to Signor Cavallini, who with his unrivalled corps of instrumentalists reached the scene about an hour after the time of opening, and by their admirable performance gave the greatest satisfaction to a very numerous and brilliant assemblage of visitors. The following is the award of prizes by the judges, Mr Batley, of Rugby, and Mr Goode, of Crick:
Class 1. – For Gentlemen and Gardeners. – …
Secretary’s premium to ladies for best device in cut flowers, forming a Crown and Cushion, Mrs J. Castell; 2nd, Miss E. Shaw, Buckby Wharf. For best bouquet of flowers, Miss Bunting, Buckby Wharf; 2nd, Miss M. Shaw, ditto.Northampton Mercury 1853 24 September
A very impressive sounding show, attended by the local landowners. The ‘ordinary’ folk entered the show as well, there was an Amateurs’ Class and Cottagers’ Class for all local people to take part in.
The only prize winners for Long Buckby Wharf were the Misses Shaw and Bunting. Miss E Shaw was Eliza, daughter of James Simcock Shaw and Hannah Adams. I believe that Miss M Shaw may be an misprint, and it is either Anne or Caroline, Eliza’s sisters. Miss Bunting will be either Elizabeth or Lois, sisters and daughters of Edward Bunting and Ann Leeson.
Agricultural and horticultural shows were a regular part of life for the area, mostly attracting the same entrants. Were they community affairs, where everyone encouraged each other, or were they more cut-and-thrust, with serious competition? That I don’t know, but they were important events and were regularly reported on in the local newspapers, with a full list of prize winners.
(Signor Cavallini was the Bandmaster for the 95th Regiment, and a clarinet player. He makes regular appearances in newspapers – The Atlas of 5 October 1850 refers to him as the renowned artiste of La Scala, Milan, being engaged by Her Majesty’s Theatre Grand National Concerts.)