Woolley Moor Show 1911 - Present

The committee that arranged the first show was made up of members;
Messrs W. Pegge, G. Rhodes Snr, T. Cowlishaw, G. Rhodes Jnr, W. Mottershaw,  G. Winson, H. Wood, S. Knowles,J. Flint, A. Winson, C. Bunting, T. Stubbs Snr, T.Bingham and Hon. Sec. G. W. Fox.
After the King George V. Coronation celebrations in the village 13/10d was left over and someone decided ‘Let’s have a show’ and that is how it all began.
The first meeting was called on July 28th 1911. Mr Thomas Bingham was the first Chairperson,  Mr. G. W. Fox Hon. Sec., Mr Mottershaw Hon Treasurer., Mr T. Mycock was the first President.It was decided to call the Show ‘The Woolley Moor Vegetable Society’. The show would be open to members who reside in Handley, Woolley and Woolley Moor. Each member of the committee to subscribe 1/- (5p) towards the society.

Facts About The Show

  • For 37 years (1911 to 1958) the show was held in the grounds of the Old Napoleon public house.
  • This is now covered by Ogston reservoir.
  • Sam Fox, former publican of the New Napoleon served on the show committee for 56 years
  • and was show secretary for 43 of those years.
  • Other long standing members of the show are Keith Broom and Margaret Gill (35 – 40 years service).
  • Both Show marquees were regularly used by Tupton Hall School through the 70’s and 80’s for their
  • Annual camping fortnight to Bridport in Dorset and latterly to Conwy in North Wales.

This year the schedule provides information for 72 classes (an increase of 51 since 1911)  and still maintains the added attractions of Ashover Brass Band and Archery. However it is hoped (weather permitting!) that many more visitors will also be able to enjoy the extra attractions including Air Display, Arena activities, Boules Tournament, Stalls, Children’s Entertainment, Fireworks, Bucking Bronco and Evening Bar and Barn Dance that are planned for this ‘special’  celebratory Woolley Moor Show.


Committee members 2010/2011:

Hon. Chairperson – Mr Ian Cooke    Hon. Treasurer – Mr John Ward     Hon. Secretary – Mrs Kim Hunter

Committee:  Mr Bruce Hunter,  Mrs Liz Cooke,  Mr Brian Towndrow, Mr Andrew Buckley,  Mr  Ernest Fox,  Mrs Jill Fox,  Mr Keith Broom, Mr James Whitworth,  Mr Roger Worthy, Ms Lesley Armstrong,  Mr Wayne Punter ,  Mrs Katie Punter,  Mr Wayne Sanderson.

Two new trophies were donated to the show one by Mrs Vernie Hughes and one by Mrs Lynne Strain in memory of their husbands (both of whom were committee members) – Mr Bertram Hughes  and Mr Colin Strain.

Bruce Hunter,  a committee member engineered a ‘Hog Roast’ machine and used it for the first time at the Woolley Show. It proved to be a huge success and has been organised each year since.

The first village ‘Pensioners Christmas Meal’ was organized by the Show Committee at St Marks Church. Over 50 people enjoyed a Christmas meal provided by David Bown of Ashover and entertainment from Robbie Hague and Ashover Choir. This event proved to be a huge success and has been organised each year since (although 2010 had to be cancelled at the last minute due to severe snowfall).

An U9 & U10’s 5 a-side football competition was advertised however only 3 teams participated. Andrew Cooke refereed and John Ward presented the trophy to the winning Grassmoor team.

The old Woolley bus attended the show and took villagers on a nostalgic trip around the village. The Show Committee agreed to change the name to Woolley Moor Show dropping the ‘Vegetable Society’.

The first Auction Evening was organised by Colin Strain and the show committee at the White Horse Inn raising £1070. A Casino Evening and Race night was also organised at the White Horse Inn to raise funds – evening dress was worn. Following these events a cheque to the amount of £250 was donated to Cancer Research.

The only year the show had to be cancelled! Strong winds and rain on the Friday night before the planned show day ripped through and blew down the marquees.

Mrs Mavis Crofts organised a ladies evening consisting of a meal and flower arranging display at St Marks Church to raise funds for the Show.

First car treasure hunt was organised by Colin Strain and Peter Allsop of the committee to raise funds. The winners were Andrew and Sally Buckley.

Sam Fox stood down as Hon. Secretary after 56 years of service on the committee.  Roger Whittle acted as Secretary for one year and established the Woolley Moor Show website, later substantially updated to its present format by Brian Towndrow.

A photography class was introduced, organised by Andy and Helen Roberts. The Fox family awarded a Memorial Challenge Trophy for the best exhibit in the photography classes in memory of Annie Fox who sadly passed away during this year.

A storage hut was built on the Jubilee Playing Fields to house the show equipment as the Old Chapel was sold.

The show equipment was moved from the New Napoleon and stored in the Old Methodist Chapel by Ogston (now converted to residential accommodation).  Ian Cooke chaired the AGM in the absence of a Chairperson – a title which he still holds to this day!.

The Show was held for the first time on the Jubilee Playing Fields, Badger Lane, Woolley Moor.

The last show to be held at the New Napoleon. After the show Brian Hicklin held a party in the show marquee to celebrate his 40th birthday with friends, family and a ‘special’ guest!

Ernest Fox married Jill who subsequently took over the organisation of show admissions and administration. In later years it became a full family affair with the help of their children Robert and Katy (and latterly Katy’s husband Wayne).

John Ward became Hon. Treasurer at the age of 21 and still retains this position today (37 years on!!).

To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee show a special class of 1 flower and 1 vegetable was arranged. The winner of the £3 prize was 86 yr old Mr M. Bacon a lifelong supporter of the show.

A tug-of-war competition was held with 7 teams competing; Winster and Ashover farmers were the eventual winners. The show had a schedule of 60 classes paying out £72.10s.0d in prize money. There were over 400 entries.

The Committee of 1970:

President – Miss Joan Jackson, Vice Presidents – Mr D. B. Kenning, Miss P. Jackson, Mr J. Nettleship,  Mr C. Riley Snr, Mr W. B. Walters, Mr E. Fletcher, Dr D. Hunt, Mr M. H. Kiddy.

Hon Treasurer: Mr S. Waring    Hon Secretary: Mr C. G. S. Fox

Hon. Members – Mr E. Wright, Mr M. Bacon, Mr J. Birks, Mr E. Hayes.

Committee Members: Messrs G. Fearn, A. Beardsley, H. S. Marshall, H. Large, F. Buckley, B. C. Hughes, R. Fullaway, A. Waite, C. Churm, P. Waldron, K. Broom, A. Heeley, S. Foster, T. Fretwell, E. P. Waite, G. Payton, A. Bacon, T. Waring, M. Turner  and Mrs H. Rhodes, Mrs F. Thompson.

The W. Marshall silver Challenge Cup for most points in the floral art classes was donated by Mr Harold Marshall. Mr R. Leah also donated a new trophy in memory of his late wife, this was given for the competitor gaining the most points overall.

In this year the Committee lost one of its great workers in the passing of Mr Edgar Fox who had loaned the field since 1936.

Mr Edgar Fox refused to have fireworks on the field owing to the accidents last year and insurance problems.

The firework display was abandoned after several slight accidents.

Centre staging was made for the new marquee and a second marquee 40ft x 20ft was purchased at a cost of £192.

Centre staging was made for the new marquee and a second marquee 40ft x 20ft was purchased at a cost of £192.

A new marquee measuring 50ft x 20ft was purchased at a cost of £180.7s.6d.

After a lapse of many years  a pea and pie supper was arranged at which a cheque for £36.3s.1d was received, representing Woolley Moor’s share of the Stretton War Saving Committee which had been closed.

Mr H. Large and Mr Waring organised a Bingo Stall for the first time. This proved to be very popular.

Mr G.W. Fox who had been secretary since the foundation of the show sadly passed away. Sam Fox became Secretary with Harold Large as Assistant Sec. A pipe organ played at the show and this proved to be very successful.

The show moved to the New Napoleon.

The last show was held at the Old Napoleon due to the development of Ogston Reservoir. Miss Joan Jackson became President. Silver forks and trowels were presented to Mr Hayes and Mr Reader in recognition of 34 years faithful service as judges. Mr G. W. Fox was also presented with a silver plaque for 48years service as Hon Sec.

Mr T.A. Skull became Chairperson and Mr D.B. Kenning J.P. became President.

Mr.J. R. Walker donated a Silver Challenge Cup to the show. It was to be awarded to the competitor gaining the most points in the vegetable classes.

The show held its first firework display in the evening attracting a larger than average crowd.

Mr Gordon Fearn, well renowned and respected local farmer first joined the committee. The Show date was brought forward by 1 week but it was not a success and many people turned up to visit the show the week after!

An archery competition was organised for the first time (this then became an annual event and is still run to the present day).

A raffle for a live pig was introduced. Mr H. Towndrow ran this annual event until 1968. The pigs managed to escape on more than one occasion but were always retrieved safely!

The bottled fruit classes were first introduced.

With help from Mr H. Large the Show bought 2 reconditioned army marquees, one 50ft x 16ft for £27 and one 20ft x 16ft for £10. A baby show was introduced. Mr C. Riley started giving a prize of 1 dozen chrysanthemums.

Mr C. G. S. Fox (Sam) returned from the forces and joined the committee. Sam remained a driving force and active member of the committee for the following 60 years.

Mr George Stubbs and Mr Harold Large joined the Committee. They remained highly respected and active members for well over 50 years.

The Show donated 50% of its profits to the Soldiers Comforts Fund and also funds from a dance to provide Christmas gifts for soldiers.

Sir George Kenning J.P. became President of the Society and Major R.B.Turbutt of Ogston Hall Vice President.

Ryland Works donated a spade to the show.

Entertainments at the show now included a Skittle tournament, Bowling at the Wicket and Clay Pigeon shooting. Funds now stood at £19.8s.8d.

The Headmaster of Handley School, Mr Joseph Atkin donated the first Silver Challenge Cup for the most points gained in the flower classes. The winner was Mr J. Hopkinson of Woodhead.

Classes for entry in the show had now increased from 21 to 31. Children from Handley school were invited for the first time to enter a special class for potatoes grown by the children.

The show moved from Mr Mycock’s field to the football field adjoining the Napoleon (public house sited in Woolley now under Ogston Reservoir). It was held there every year until 1959 and the development of Ogston Reservoir which then saw the village of Woolley flooded and the residents re-housed in Woolley Moor.

The first Tug-of-war was held at the show.

The Handley & Woolley WI first catered for the refreshments and continued to do so for the following 80 years!

The first ‘open’ show was held allowing entrants from outside the Woolley Moor and Handley areas. This encouraged more visitors to the show.

A committee meeting held on June 21st 1919 coincided with the signing of the peace treaty and Mr Angus the Chairperson proposed a toast to the health of King and Country for the Victory achieved.

Ashover Band was hired for the first time at a cost of £1.10s.0d. The Show carried on through the war years of 1914 – 1918 and provided funds to buy Christmas parcels for the 18 soldiers who lived in the area covered by the Show.

The date of the show was moved to the last Saturday in August. A cricket match was organised between the the Show Committee and the Woolley Moor Football team.

The first show was held on September 2nd 1911, in Mr Mycock’s field. There were 17 classes of vegetables, 1 class of flowers, 1 class of bread and 2 classes for eggs. The show attracted 108 entries in the vegetable, flowers and egg classes and 26 in the bread baking class. Income from the show totalled £12.7s.2d the total expenditure being £8.1s.2d leaving a profit of £4.6s.0d.

The first Pie Supper for Committee members was held on September 9th 1911. This was an annual event until 1914 when it was abandoned and the cost of the same was donated to the War Fund.