Harrogate – Two unique historical projects will celebrate the Great Yorkshire Show’s 160th anniversary at this year’s event.
The Yorkshire Film Archive and Washburn Heritage Centre have both created special displays to let visitors to the show on Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 July see both farming down the years and earlier Great Yorkshire Shows.
In a first for the show, a big screen will be installed on the President’s Lawn to show film of previous Great Yorkshire Shows put together by the Yorkshire Film Archive’s team. The specially-curated short films will also be shown on the big screen in the main ring and in the Exhibition Room at the Yorkshire Event Centre.
Yorkshire Film Archive Manager Graham Relton said: “We were delighted to be asked to help with this project and we scoured the millions of feet in our vaults to uncover the really iconic and most engaging material on both Yorkshire agriculture and the Great Yorkshire Show over the last 100 years.
“Using both professional and amateur footage shot we hve created a number of packages especially for the Great Yorkshre Show audiences. As a regional charity it is brilliant to bring back this film heritage to one of the places where it was originally shot.
“The show has changed massively over the years but captured in the frames of celluloid preserved at the Yorkshire Film Archive are images that remind us how in some ways it has remained very much the same and I am sure these images will really resonate with the audience at the show.”
The Washburn Heritage Centre at Fewston has also put together a special exhibition of historical farming scenes which will be staged in the Seminar Room at the Yorkshire Exhibition Centre. The award-winning centre was opened in 2011 at Fewston Church and promotes the unique heritage of the valley. Staffed mainly by volunteers, visitors can enjoy an extensive programme of events and exhibitions and take advantage of a tea room at weekends.
Under the leadership of Archive Leader Deborah Power, a team from the centre has created a series of interpretive panels, both on farming in the Washburn valley and on the show itself. Nine of the boards feature the show, taking different themes such as agricultural machinery through the years, boundaries, particularly drystone walls, and, to mark 100 years of female emancipation this year, looking at the role of women in agriculture.
Deborah said: “We spent many hours on research, including talking to experts and reading old newspaper reports to gather as much information as possible and we have been able to draw on the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s own archives of pictures. For example, the idea to feature women’s emacipation in the exhibition came from a photo of the Women’s Electrical Association exhibiting at the show.”
The exhibiton will also include an old OS map, showing the layout of the land on which the showground was subsequently developed. Deborah’s favourite image so far shows straw being stooked in a field. She said: “We have a great resource to draw on at the Washburn Heritage Centre and it has been very exciting to be involved in this whole project.”
Show Director Charles Mills said: “We are extremely grateful to both the Yorkshire Film Archive and the Washburn Heritage Centre for their sterling efforts in putting these excellent projects together. It would be marvellous if visitors to the show recognise relatives, events or places that mean a lot to them.”