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The Devon County Agricultural Association staged its first ever Devon County Show in May in 1872 at Victoria Park, Exeter. Despite a torrential downpour, which almost washed the President’s luncheon guests out of his marquee, that first show was a great success. Over 25,000 people attended to admire the 500 livestock on show, and marvel at more than 800 machinery exhibits. Over the years, the show has moved from venue to venue, changed dates and duration and grown to a size almost beyond recognition. But one thing that has always remained a constant is the Show’s enduring commitment to celebrating Devon’s agricultural and farming community.
Livestock competitions have always been at the heart of the Show since the very beginning, and the proof of the pudding is in some of the original stock catalogues, many of which remain in the Devon County Show archive.
To mark the milestone occasion of the 125th Show, The Devon County Show Committee is on the hunt for anyone who has a link to the first ever Devon County Show.
Was one of your ancestors a member of the newly formed Devon County Agricultural Association? Was he or she a stock, poultry or horse steward?
Did any of your distant relatives show at the Devon County Show and do you know if any of your livestock descend directly from one of the original show winners?
Do you have a show trophy at home that was awarded at one of the original Devon County Shows?
We’d love to invite those who have a history in local farming and agriculture as long as Devon County to share in our 125th Show Celebrations so please do make yourselves known to us by e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a pair of free tickets to join us for a champagne reception on the 1st day of the 2020 Show, Thursday, 21st May.
The 1873 stock catalogue and members booklet, the earliest we have in our archives, have been uploaded to the Devon County Show website at https://www.devoncountyshow.co.uk/125th-show-celebrations where you can cross reference names of members and livestock from the show.