Mirfield Show has been been around a lot longer than most people think, with the first held on Saturday 14th July 1945. Below is a plotted history over the last 70 years.
Founded in 1945
Founded in 1945 by the Mirfield Agricultural & Horticultural Society, the first annual Mirfield Show took place on Saturday 14th July 1945 in the Memorial Grounds opposite the current showground.
Show President, Colonel James Walker, announced its aim was ‘to bring a little sunshine into the wartime lives of local people’ whilst the Chairman of Mirfield Urban District Council, Councillor J H Barraclough, upon opening the first show, said ‘the show was a credit to the people of Mirfield’ and that ‘at a time when the country needs to produce the maximum amount of food, Mirfield was doing its best to lead the way by encouraging farmers to produce better agriculture and livestock’.
The first show had horses, cattle, dogs, rabbits, poultry, pigeons, trade stalls, horticulture and farm produce – much of which remains today – and within three years the show was bigger and better than ever, with record entries from all over the country. The show continued to grow to a peak in the 1960s with record number of entries and visitors, but after a brave battle following a few bad years, the show ceased during the 1980s.
Read the first – Mirfield Show 1945 Programme.
Returned in 1995
In 1995, the idea to resurrect Mirfield Show was aired and Mirfield Agricultural Society was founded, and the show was moved to Sunday 20th August to avoid a clash with the booming Great Yorkshire Show. Betty Taylor, one of the original committee members (that also included David Allen, Peter Dransfield, Kingsley Hill, Elisabeth Sykes, Malcolm Boyes and Ian Harrison), said its new aim was ‘to organise something which reflected the spirit of Mirfield, that was a fun day out for the whole family, and that the people of Mirfield would be proud of’.
That show made history and attracted over 1000 visitors and had classes for horses, ponies, dogs, poultry, rabbits, flowers, vegetables, domestic and crafts – plus attractions which were added to the main ring, including duck herding, tug-of-war and martial arts.
As many other county, agricultural and town shows fell by the wayside, Mirfield Show chose to embrace the whole family as well as its agricultural roots – and make it a real family day out.
Subsequent years have seen many main ring attractions such as dog displays, motorbikes, sheep shearing, majorettes, roman re-enactments, birds of prey, fire service displays, bike displays, shirehorses, bushtucker trials and children’s races – with even more attractions such as archery, fencing, climbing walls, steam trains, pony rides, silver bands farm animals, and puppet shows across the showground.
Despite the rains of 2008 over four thousand people attended, and in 2009 over eight thousand visited Mirfield Show at some point throughout the day. 2010 saw this number increase again to over ten thousand and 2011 saw almost fourteen thousand visitors pass through the gates at some point throughout the day.
2012 showed the strength of the show, in a year when many shows across the country were forced to be cancelled due to the persistant wet weather. Even the poor weather on the day did not hamper the crowds, with over 10,000 visitors attending the show during the day. 2013 and 2014 saw continued success.
2015 – The 70th Year
2015 was the 70th anniversary of the start of the first Mirfield Show back in 1945 – and it has gone from strength to strength – making more history along the way. Thanks you to everyone for coming along to join in the fun, the army of volunteers and external support, and also to the wide range of local businesses and organisations that have supported us by sponsoring attractions, taking adverts in the program or by taking up a stall on the day.