The History


The History

The story begins in 1924 with the first ever Spring Show, although back then it was an entirely commercial affair and began life as ”The Western Commercial Horticultural Show” and it was down to the vision of one man that it took place at all.

Captain HW Abbiss was a horticultural advisor working for Cornwall County Council and he realised the great potential of the early advantages afforded to the local growers of our very mild winters and warm springs. To capitalise this on behalf of the Iocal growers he conceived what became the earliest of the Horticultural Shows in the UK and ensured that the London markets and other markets throughout the country were fully aware of this early fresh Cornish bounty.

The major crop of course was broccoli, but other horticultural crops, particularly flowers such as the daffodil, anemone and violets which were all grown Iocally were also important in driving the early economy forward. Through Captain Abbiss’s efforts new and hardier strains and varieties were introduced and west Cornwall became a proving ground to test their suitability.

The first Spring Show took place on March 6 and march 7, at St John’s Hall, Penzance, and was opened by the President Lord St Levan, CB, CVQ. The event was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Cornwall County Council, the Great Western Railway Co and the Federation of British Growers.

There were classes for growers, salesmen, florists, package makers and amateurs and, despite the cold weather there was a magnificent display of flowers, fruit and vegetables.

The object of the exhibition was mainly educational; to educate the Iocal growers to the demands of growing, packing, grading, the motto of the time being Boom British Produce.

CH Oldham, of the Ministry of Agriculture, gave a demonstration in packing and grading, there were various talks and a conference was held. T Robins Bolitho, one of the patrons of the show, sent a magnificent collection of plants in bloom that adorned the front of the platform to the delight of the visitors that such beautiful blooms could be produced in the district and Messrs Boase & Co, Penzance, had one of the many impressive displays with a magnificent collection of fruits imported from Florida and the Cape and Roscoff Broccoli.

Classes included as follows, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, rhubarb, vegetables, mushrooms, fruit and flowers.