Show 1907 - 2002
Show Report - Malhamdale Show is the highlight of any
year in the dale and this year it was held on Saturday, August 28th, the
new August Bank Holiday.
The Showground, which is a meadow by the side of the road south of Malham,
is an ideal site to hold a show, for as anyone approaches Malham by the
main road up the dale they see the whole show field spread before them.
Malham cove, the village and Gordale Scar form the background scenery.
Much preparation was done during the summer, but there was little to see
until the tents were erected a few days beforehand. How the landscape
changed then!! Three large white marquees for the horticultural, produce
and handicraft exhibits, and the dining room, several small tents for
use by the President, the secretaries and the judges were soon put up.
On the day itself stalls of great variety added to the colourful scene
with flowers, balloons and, of course, the inevitable ice cream and sweet
stands. Alas! Show Day opened in pouring rain. The entrances to the field
became quagmires and bales of straw were hurriedly produced to give a
better surface for the cars, Land Rovers, lorries and tractors, the last
named gave valuable assistance in pulling out vehicles which became stuck
in the mud.
From 8.30 am onwards there was great activity on the show field. Farmers
with their dogs were busy getting cows into the area allotted to them
or sheep into the pens already marked with class cards. People laden with
plants, flowers, cakes, knitted goods, dresses, pictures and handicrafts
were hurrying to the tents and arranging their exhibits to the best advantage,
in preparation for the judges whose tremendous task started at 10.30 am
The rain still poured down and, alas, soaked through the tents in some
places so some of the exhibits had to be moved.
Whilst judging was taking place in the tents, the pony and hunter classes
were being held in the main ring. Riders looked spick and span as they
brought their mounts from the wagons, but before long they looked just
as wet and dejected as the farmers and cattle judges, busy in their own
sections. This year there were 172 entries in the various pony classes,
a record for the Malham Show. The class for local ponies was revived this
year. The pony, any height, had to be ridden by a child under sixteen
years of age, residing within the Local Radius and age was taken into
account. The radius limit for the Local Classes consisted of the townships
of Malham Moor, Malham, Kirkby Malham, Hanlith, Scosthrop, Airton, Otterburn,
Calton, Winterburn, Bell Busk and Coniston Cold, and including the following
farms: Friars Head, Seat House, St. Helens and Throstle Nest.
The Honorary Secretaries, R Taylor esq., and Misses E and E Taylor, our
local butcher and his two daughters were having a busy time collecting
results and working out which exhibitors had won cups and trophies. By
lunchtime the rain had ceased and the sun shone forth giving a clear,
bright look to the whole scene. The judging was over and everyone was
able once again to go into the tents to see if their names had got into
the prize lists and spectators could make their own judgements on the
The children's sections were extremely good, with very large entries
in all the classes, whether it was handwriting, painting, handicrafts
or cooking. A ten year old boy (a Malham Women's Institute member's son)
gained the award for the most points in the children's section. Well done,
Michael. In these days when teenagers are often criticised, it was refreshing
to see that a twenty year old girl had gained very high marks in the culinary
section, whilst a twenty year old boy (the son of another Women's Institute
member) had won the award for the most points in the horticultural section.
The President, Mrs Ronald Fell of Otterburn, along with guests and ticket
holders now went to the Official Luncheon. At the end of the meal the
President announced the winner of the Best Farmed Holding, any size, in
the Local Radius. This class is almost unique to the Malhamdale Show and
the judging takes place a few days before the Show. After lunch the field
attractions began with the judging of sheep dogs - for beauty only, not
their capabilities. The Babies Beauty Competition, which is always a great
attraction had lots of entries, proud mothers and aunties carried babies
before judges in the first two classes with a toddler's class following
The children's Fancy Dress class drew many entries and a large crowd
of parents and friends watched while these little ones braved the stares
and laughter and walked round for the judges. Two little tots dressedas
"Adam and Eve" complete with rhubarb leaves won first prize and well they
deserved it. The class for child and pet brought some charming twosomes.
A local auctioneer, Mr. Taylor of Skipton, sold exhibits in the Gift Class
and anything else that had not been claimed within a given time.
The Main Ring was occupied throughout the afternoon with Pony Riding,
Jumping and Gymkhana. This was followed by the Grand Parade of Prize Winning
Cattle and the presentation of the Silver Cups to the winners. Many people
sat on straw bales round the ring. Old friends greeted each other after
a gap of a year since the last show. Laughter and chatter were heard all
The sports events followed as the runners donned their vests and shorts.
The One Mile Race drew quite a few entries. It was won by a local lad
in under four minutes - fancy running a mile in under four minutes on
ground champed up by horses hooves and ruts made by spinning wheels of
vehicles - then it was discovered the contestants had only run three times
round the course instead of four - still no one grumbled and the next
race went on. The Junior Fell Race to the top of Cawdon is always pleasant
to watch as one can see the contestants most of the way. The Senior Fell
Race is a very gruelling run to the top of Pikedaw, and there is quite
a section in the middle of this course, which cannot be seen from the
Show ground. Finally the competitors came into view as they came helter
- skelter down the hill and over the wall. An excited crowd began to clap
and cheer them on as they raced across the show field to the Winning Post,
the first man home receiving £5.
Throughout the day a few men had been competing in the Dry Stone Walling
competition and had plodded steadily on building their own section of
wall 3 yards in length to a height of 5 feet with two rows of "throughs".
The job had to be completed by 6 pm The judges had kept an expert eye
on the walling throughout the day, but there were many onlookers watching
the skill of the Waller to pick a stone which will fit into position out
of the many around. The judges no doubt remembered the old saying "Stoans
hev ta be yan aboon two aboon yan, an a through ivery few fut". Finally
the wall is complete and the judges make out the prize cards.
By now the motorcycles were "warming up" ready for the Scramble. The
noise was terrible, what with the actual "bykes" and the echoes sent back
from the Cove and Gordale Scar. A great deal of support was given to the
scramblers which was obvious by the crowd of spectators round the "pits".
As darkness fell and the last motor cycle was pushed onto its transport
trailer, the crowd dispersed, some to go home, others to the "local" to
have a drink and talk over the days happenings, and the rest, with energy
to spare, to the Show Night Dance which was held in the Kirkby Malham
Statistics can be boring but the fact that over 3,000 people attended
Malhamdale Show this year shows how popular is this event. It started
before 1914 as a children's party and sports at Airton. The show grew
and when restarted after the Second World War went on growing until now
it has become an established favourite outing for many people. In this
year, 1965, the show has lived up to its reputation as a happy, friendly
show, full of good humour and friendly rivalry.
Long May It Continue