1913 – Seventy Fourth Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition

The Society’s seventy-fourth annual exhibition was held on the Clifton and Durdham Downs, Bristol from Tuesday 1st July to Saturday 5th July, 1913[1]. Besides the normal stock, agricultural classes and exhibitions, there was a horticultural exhibition, which opened on the 1st but closed a day early on the evening of Friday, 4th. Across the whole show the total amount offered in prizes was close to £11,000; prizes in the horticultural exhibitions amounted to £350, with gold, silver and silver gilt Medals offered in 19 classes. Also Included in the show was a special section, comprising of about two acres, devoted exclusively to exhibits of the natural produce of the British Dominions Overseas[2].

The firm took a stand (No. 59), which must have been fairly large, on which they exhibited:-

  • A 20ft. by 16ft. greenhouse/conservatory, fitted out inside with staging down both sides; one iron with tile bottoms down one side and a wooden stage down the other: on the roof they had wood lath blinds to both sides of the roof and down both vertical sides.
  • Two garden frames, one 8ft. by 6ft; the other 8ft. by 7ft. with a lifting ridge.
  • Five different garden seats (models, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8.
  • Three Loughborough Boilers (models 1 (set-up as a garage configuration with radiator), 2 and 3).
  • A Meseta hot-water boiler.
  • Four Quorn boilers – Nos. 36, 46, 56 and 66.
  • One coke crusher.
74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition

They also took their own tent, a table and three chairs, in addition to the tools and equipment (hammers, nails, paint, putty, trestles, ladders, planks, etc.) in order to build (and dismantle) the greenhouse and the Quorn boilers, etc. All were shipped by the Midland Railway Company, probably in a dedicated truck, down to Bristol and returned by them after the show. The greenhouse glass, cut to size, was delivered direct to site by Pilkington Bros. Ltd.


74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition

Messrs. Charles Wightman, A. Wright and J. Adcock duly went onto site on Monday 16th June to start the process of building the greenhouse, boilers, etc. In some respects this was nothing different from going onto a customer site. There were soon letters back to the works asking for a number of small items such as nails, screws brass cleats, pulleys, etc., which had either not been packed, or perhaps had gone missing. It took the three of them almost to the beginning of the show to complete all the installation and arrange the stand ready for the opening. J. Adcock travelled back to Loughborough on Sunday 28th June, having reportedly worked 136 hours (including travelling time) over the previous 13 days. He returned after the show to help dismantle the exhibits, working 79 hours. A. Wright travelled back the day before the show started, having worked 137 hours. Charles Wightman stayed for the show and afterwards helped dismantle the exhibition. He arranged for the non-sold items to be returned to Loughborough and for three sold items to be dispatched directly to their new owners: a frame to a Mr. Jones; the coke crusher to a Mr. Garbous and the second frame to Alfred Burder at Belcombe Court. After the show he made two local visits: firstly to Mr. Mackenzie, Bradley House, Lower High Street, Shirehampton, a few miles away, to complete some remedial work; puttying and painting part of a leaking roof of a conservatory installed two years earlier: secondly, to Brentry Reformatory, again a few miles away, to inspect a boiler. He returned to Loughborough on Saturday 12th July having worked (including travelling time) 268 hours over an almost four week period.


74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition
74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition



Even in 1913, when the use of the motor car was still in its infancy, there were apparent problems with parking; presumably either Walter Burder or more likely his brother Alfred, who at the time was living about 25 miles away at Belcombe Court, Bradford-on-Avon, wanted to travel to the show by car and was looking for somewhere safe to leave the vehicle. C. Wightman was dispatched to find somewhere suitable to leave the motor car undercover over the five days of the show. He successfully found a location from £1 for the five days- Mr. Evans, “garage”, in Lower Redland Road, about 5 minutes from the show ground.


74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition

As was typical of these occasions the firm furnished the stand with flowers, which as normal, were rented, in this particular case 1 dozen plants for 8 shillings from Messrs. James Garaway & Co., nurserymen, seedsmen and florists of No. 94A, Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol. Hospitality was obviously an important part of any show and the firm obtain their supplies of alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments, glasses, etc., from The Bogeda Co. Ltd. of London., who were wine and spirit merchants.


74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition

It appears the firm may have one several medals at the show because in a letter written by Charles Wightman on 9th July he stated that “I have sent off the case of Medals to-day. M. R.[3] carriage forward passenger train”.


74th Royal Agricultural Society Exhibition



  1. Private Records.
  2. The Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Volume 73, 1912.
  3. Midland Railway.