TCHS History 1980s

In June of 1980,the Society entered the Thornton Cleveleys Gala with a float advertising the enjoyment of gardening. Mr G R Powney and Mr R Sale were dressed as Bill & Ben, a children’s television program for the very young. Using plastic sheets donated by ICI, where most people at the time worked, the two men were clothed in plastic costumes and stood in plant huge pots. The pair had restricted movement in their outfits and had great fun feeding each other.  They were nicknamed “Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men”

TCHS Gala float - Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men -1980
Gala float in 1980 – Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men

In December 1980, Mr J D Horrocks was elected Chairman. The local Fuchsia Society was formed in 1981. Membership subs were Patron £2, Member 70p and Senior 40p. A new show schedule cover was designed by Miss Wheatley. The Gala float this year had all garden gear, compost, planters shrubs etc. Sweets were given to the children as the procession wound its way around Thornton and Cleveleys.

TCHS gala float 1982
TCHS gala float 1981. Mr H R Horrocks right with vehicle owner Mr C Windle behind.

1982 A new schedule cover was unveiled, this time drawn by Mrs Norma Wheatley (Show programme 1982)

TCHS Show programme August 1982
TCHS Flower Show schedule cover designed by Norma Wheatley in 1982

In 1982, Life Membership was bestowed on Mr John Wilson. In October, a raffle plant was found to be dead or dying; it was returned and replaced. This year, Society diaries went on sale at 50p each. The Illawalla night club approached the committee with regard to holding the 1983 show in their hall. The Chairman and Show Manager visited the venue and declined the offer, it being too small. Fleetwood Garden Society came on the scene, our two Societies working closely together. Mrs Thatcher was re-elected for a second time. In 1984, the cost of hiring Millfield School was £260.55. A new style of AGM was introduced including social evening. Shell announced in May that petrol would go up 3p to £1.87 per gallon. On April 9th, planning permission was granted to put show posters on lamp posts; they were to go up no sooner than 7 days before and be taken down the day after the show.

In 1985, Wyre Borough Leisure attempted to run their own show, “Wyre Show”, and had 39 classes. The committee noted that it did seem that most of the classes were copied from our show schedule at the time. Wyre Borough Mayor, when presenting a trophy, managed to drop it, causing quite a bit of damage. 1986 The Society purchased a large projection screen to help speakers at the lectures. November 26th, the committee commented that the society was at war with the Council; posters had been placed on community notice boards only for a workman to remove them. Stalwarts quickly re-pasted and replaced new ones. Trade stands were tried at the shows for 1986/87, sited in the school play area by the hall. The schedule cover design changed again, this time drawn by Mr Alan Cross.

TCHS Show Schedule 1986
TCHS 1986 Show Schedule cover drawn by Mr Alan Cross

In April 1987 we were given notice to vacate our wooden Trade Hut. September saw Mr John Wilson celebrating his 25 years on the committee with a dinner at the Ashdell Restaurant. In June, talks got underway to find a new site for our Trade Hut. Members were asked to grow plants for a ‘Plant Sale’ which was a great success.

Chairman, Mr J D Horrocks, drew plans and submitted them for planning approval in 1987. It was granted and approval given to locate the hut just off the main Blackpool to Fleetwood Road, a site behind the bus stop for Blackpool.

TCHS Committee in 1986
AGM 1988 Photo, (L to R) Front row: Mrs Hilda Berry, Mrs Dorothy Horrocks, President Mr Fred Porter, Mrs Anne Howarth, Mrs Carol Maulkinson (kneeling) Mrs Anne Guy, Mr Les Foden, Mrs Lillian Damerall. Second row: Mr John Wilson, Mr E.J.Munton, Mrs Molly Kirk, Mrs Barbara Taylor, Mrs Gillian Redman, Mr Les Foden, Mr Roy Powney, Mr Hugh Horrocks. Back row: Mr Paul Redman, Mr Jim Grice, Mr Terry Wright, Mr John Horrocks, Miss Janet Stirrup, Mr Bob Maulkinson.

The photo above was taken at the 1988 AGM and shows the committee at the time. It had become practice at the AGM was for committee members to bring refreshments for all to enjoy. This year sporting a lovely cake.

1988 The Chairman Mr J Horrocks, drew and submitted plans which were passed by the Wyre Borough Council before work could start. Making way for our new Trading Store, pictured below are Mr G.R.Powney and Mr J. Wilson.

TCHS site of the new trade hut 1988
TCHS site of the new trade hut 1988 – pictured are Mr G R Powney and Mr J Wilson

Where MR Wilson’s car is parked, there was a huge 10+ ton of road scrapings, left by the road maintenance team. The Council inferred that we would have to move it to use the area for parking. Mr Wilson, while clearing the area tossed amounts of cat poo onto the pile. The workers in the building behind, complained about the smell from the pumping station (right of picture) and thought there was a body decomposing. Sniffer dogs were brought in and of course they picked up on the cat poo. The next day the Council sent a digger and removed the pile of road scrapping.

The map below shows the first produce hut at Marsh Mill; the first official Trade Hut and the siting of the New Trade Hut. The map also shows the Little Theatre (Lecture Hall) and Wignall Methodists Church, now Thornton Methodists; the sites of the early two centre shows. On the right is a copy of the approved plan drawn by Mr J Horrocks.

In 1988, the base was laid for the siting of two garages, one single and one double, for our new Trade Hut. Show time in August saw rain pouring through the roof of Millfield School hall; there were buckets on the show benches and water everywhere.

Celebrity gardener Fred Downham, came to talk to us, but the Lecture Hall remained locked; the caretaker had forgotten that we were booked into the room – very embarrassing!  Our Trading Hut was officially opened by President Mr Fred Porter, in February 1989, after a lot of hard work by all concerned.

Top left, President Mr Fred Porter. Top right, Mr John Wilson getting to grip with a cash register Bottom left, (L to R) Mr L Berry, Mr F Nelson, Mrs L M Damerall & Mrs H Berry. Bottom right, Mr & Mrs M Taylor with grandchildren at the opening day.

The metal roof on the Trade Hut, which replaced the traditional corrugated panels came in 21 feet lengths, they were heavy but the team of volunteers managed to put them in place. It did cause some problems with dripping water but ever resourceful, some insulating sheets, provided by Mr P Muncey, were affixed and the cracks were filled with expanding foam. Volunteers were covered with the expanding green foam, much to everyone’s amusement but it successfully stopped the leaks.

In 1989, ‘CATS’ opened at the Opera House in Blackpool in May, Gerry Marsden had a number one hit with “Ferry across the Mersey” and pledged proceeds going to the Hillsborough Disaster Fund.

TCHS History 1970’s

The new idea for 1970 was Gift classes. It was a class where exhibitors gifted their entries for us to sell, the Society in turn paid big prize money. Unfortunately, some exhibitors were taking their entries home, so the class was dropped for next show.

In December 1971, Mrs M Stirrup joined the committee, as press officer, along with her daughter Miss J J Stirrup. The annual show made a loss £128 in this year.

The Society loaned their tables to the Cactus Society for their 1972 show at cost of £2 each. Posters pasted to cardboard were put on lamp posts but bad weather destroyed them. The Parks Department had a display at entrance to the show. The Floral Art section were unhappy and wanted a different position in the show.

In 1973, Deputy Mayor Cllr Tom Croft and his wife presented the show prizes. On 25th November 1974, Mr H R Horrocks was nominated for the committee. Thornton Cleveleys Secondary School became Millfield Secondary.

In 1975, Class 200 Men Only was replaced by Painted Pottery.  In January 1976, Mr J D Horrocks was co-opted onto the committee. A serious outbreak of Foot and Mouth swept the country. Planning permission was granted to the committee to place 20 posters on lamp posts.

Mr J D Horrocks proposed getting sponsors for the 1977 show; they would pay the prize money on specific classes in return for their business name being placed on the show table. It was agreed and the first sponsors were Tycos Tool & Die, Grundy’s Ironmongers of Cleveleys, Burnside Garden Centre, Westlands Florists, Robinsons of Thornton and The Thornton Cleveleys Flower Arrangement Club. There were 25 sponsored classes this first year. The trophies now numbered 29 plus numerous certificates and medals from National Societies. The Parks Department wanted £60 to deliver plants for the display at the entrance this year so Peter Smith from the Fuchsia Society put on a Fuchsia display instead, for free. 1977 was also the year we introduced a tombola stall to raise funds.


TCHS-Flower Show in school hall
TCHS Flower Show in the Hall at Millfield Secondary School

The drought in the summer of 1978 affected all gardeners and farmers alike, this was follow by the Great Storm of 78. The year saw the first artistically decorated show schedule cover which was drawn by Mr A Cross.

TCHS-Show programme 1978
TCHS Flower Show programme for August 1978, hand-drawn design by Mr A Cross

In 1979, Prescription charges went up this year to 45p and we received the Marsden Building Society Trophy.

Marsden Building Society Trophy being presented to Chairman John Horrocks by Marsden representative John Simpson. L to R. John Horrocks, Secretary Lillian Damerall, Treasurer Miss Mable Bridge and Committee members Peter Smith (Fylde Fuchsia Society). Photo taken by the Blackpool Gazette

TCHS History 1960’s

In August 1960, Mr C.W. Wise took over as Show Manager. In May 1961, a letter arrived announcing the newly formed Thornton Cleveleys Flower Arrangement club, and the Secretary was Mrs Dorothy Kent. The committee were asked to store the tables for the show; they had to say how many they could store. The Ladies Committee raised £25 at a Coffee Morning.

In 1961, there were two shows; a Spring Show in April and Summer Show in August.

In March 1962, the committee allocated £30 to buy a type writer, the actual cost turned out to be £27-15s-9d. It was decided that members had to live within 6 miles of Thornton. Membership was 2/- adults and 1/- pensioners.

The Anniversary Show was on the 18th of August and the Spring Show was on May 19th. Classes included 3 jars of honey and 4 hens eggs of any colour.

1963 brought a very cold winter with snow on the ground from January to March. Mr T E Mills was elected chairman at the December AGM. Mr Ernest Lord was made Honory Life President and Mr Fred Porter was asked to do a scroll.

Show Programme August 1964

The 1964 show was in two venues.  At the April committee meeting held in the Wignall Church (now Thornton Methodists Church) we see the first mention of Mr G R Powney as Assistant Show Manager. This was the last show for the Honey classes. There were discussions in December about moving the show to Millfield School on Church Road (now a housing estate) for the 1965 show, it would cost £1-1s-0d per hour to hire. By November, Mr G R Powney had been elected Show Manager and Mr Wise had resigned.


The 1965 show was moved to the Thornton Cleveleys Secondary Modern School for the August 28th, Flowers Arts & Crafts Show.

Inside the hall at Thornton Cleveleys Secondary Modern School on Church Road, Thornton. This became the Show’s home from 1965-1990.

Mr J L Turner elected chairman at the December 1966 AGM and in February 1967, the new bigger wooden trade hut opened but as yet, it had no electrics. It was notable that Burnside Nurseries of St George’s Lane, Cleveleys had moved to New Lane.

In September of 1968, it was recorded that six duffel coats were supplied for the men working in the trade hut. A new show class number 200 was introduced for ‘Men Only miscellaneous’.

In 1969, Mrs Dales Diary finished on the radio. Brian Trubshaw first flew the British Concorde 002 and membership subs were 4/- and 2/6 (4 shillings and 2 shillings and six pennies). Special classes for Cacti were included in the programme for the 1970 show.
A trip to Chelsea Flower Show cost £1-10s or 30/-. The Show prizes were presented by Violet Carson with her sister Nellie Kelly, Council Leader Cllr & Mrs Crosdale. Apparently, we forgot to order the button holes and sprays – whoops! The show tables came from Stanley Park, Blackpool.

TCHS History 1951-1952

Further reading of the minutes of early committee meetings have given more interesting insights into how our society has evolved over the years.

In 1951, the Thornton Cleveleys Horticultural Society requested permission to use the Lecture Hall / Little Theatre for a series of three shows, a Baby Show on the Thursday, Friday was for Arts and Crafts, and Saturday was for Horticulture. Alas, it seems that the show went ahead as usual on Friday August 31st and Saturday September 1st, but no Baby Show this year. The Secretary at the time was Mr Gordon Stubbings.

On Saturday April 15th, The Society held an Arts & Crafts Exhibition & Spring Flower Show in the Lecture Hall (Little Theatre) admission was 1/- OAPs 6d. There were fifty-four classes covering areas such as homecraft, handicraft, needlecraft, floral art, Spring flowers and five classes for children. The show manager was Mr C W Wise.

April 20th marked the start of the Korean war. June 21st Mr Walmsley offered to put on a display of cactus 7’ x 4’, it was accepted and he was invited to join the Committee.

Mrs Pickles, wife of the celebrity Wilfred Pickles, requested £20 to open the August show, comedian Al Read the comedian was otherwise engaged. In the end, impresario Vic Oliver opened the show free of charge. There were 36 entries in class one, 15 in class two, 6 in class three and 2 in class four.

The first Annual Chrysanthemum show was held on Saturday November 8th 1952 in the Lecture Hall (Little Theatre)

Also in 1952, on January 11th, the hire of Lecture Hall for a dance was to be £3-18s-6d. The Savoy Hotel in Cleveleys wanted £18-18s-0d for a room. The Norcross Concert Party, Dance Band were to be paid £1-1s-0d for their funds. On January 22nd,it was reported in committee that the whist drive made £5-3s-0d and the dance £4.

Lynton, Lynmouth and Exmoor National Park were flooded when 11” of rain fell in 24 hours. The Trade Hut on Fleetwood Road, was officially opened on 2nd February 1952, by Earnest Lord. Homefield Road allotments were taken for building houses. Mrs T.Hewitt was elected President at the AGM. There was a whist drive arranged for February 7th at the Ashdell and February 16th in the Lennox Café; the Ladies could spend £2 on prizes.

August 29th and 30th 1952 saw an Exhibition of Horticulture & Arts & Crafts, which comprised classes in Horticulture, a Baby Show, a Bathing Beauty, Fair Amusements, Arts and Crafts, a Mannequin Parade, Bees and Honey and Caged Birds. The trophies this year were The Ingle Cup, Holt Cup, Pavilion Cup, the Lumb Cup, Oralite Cup, Kierby Cup, Eastwood and Appleyard Cup. Lots of other were prizes donated by local businesses. For the first time, the show schedule offered quarter, half and full page adverts for local businesses, a feature which continued until 1970.