In 1893, a Trumpington organisation was established called the Working Men’s Chrysanthemum Show. At a meeting at the Vicarage it was resolved that a show should be held for chrysanthemums, fruit and vegetables about the end of November. The following officers were elected:
President: Mr Porter
Secretary: Mr F.Prime
Treasurer: Mr J.A.Sturton
Committee: Messrs. Forbes, Chapman, Lilley, Blows, Cowell and Harvey (1).
Committee member, Charles Forbes, was Head Gardener to Ebernezer Bird Foster of Anstey Hall. He had exhibited ten years earlier at the inaugural show of the Trumpington and Grantchester Horticultural Society in July 1883 (2).
The 1898 annual meeting of the Working Men’s Chrysanthemum Society was held in the Schoolroom and Mr T.H.J. Porter presided in the chair. The Secretary reported on the progress of the Society since its formation in 1893, including the information that nearly 1000 entries had been received for exhibition in that period (3). A few weeks later, Mr Frederick Prime was presented with a handsome writing desk in recognition of the excellent manner in which he had carried out his duties as Secretary. It was felt that Mr Prime had played a large role in the success of the Society (4).
The annual dinner of the Trumpington Chrysanthemum Society in 1912 was held at the Green Man. The President was Mr T.H.J. Porter; vice-president, Mr P.R. Robinson; hon. treasurer, Mr C. Forbes; and hon. secretary, Mr J.H. Chapman (5).
From this root, the Trumpington Horticultural Society grew. For many years it arranged very successful annual shows. The 22nd annual show was held in October 1922. This was the first show held by the Society since the First World War : no shows being held in 1915-1921 . The officials were: President, Mr C. Forbes; vice president, Mr J.H. Chapman; hon. treasurer, Mr P.R. Robinson; hon. secretary, Mr H.E. Foster; committee, Messrs W. Dann, F.W. Lander, J. Lawrence, Medhurst, J. Pamplin, George Pamplin and G.F. Peters; auditors, the Rev. Moule and Mr T.H.J. Porter (6).
To stimulate interest in ploughing locally, the first of what was hoped to be a series of annual ploughing matches took place in September 1925 under the auspices of the Trumpington Horticultural Society. A field was lent by Mr F. Tebbit for the contests for double ploughs and for single teams. The judging was undertaken by Mr Charles Edwards, of Cantelupe Farm, and Mr C.H. Rogers, of Red Cross Farm (7).
When Mr Forbes died in 1926, the Society had a cup inscribed “to perpetuate the memory of Charles Forbes, one of its founders”. This Forbes Trophy was first awarded in 1927.
There was a break during the Second World War. A public meeting was held in the Village Hall on 20 February 1946 at which it was agreed to revive the Society. The following were elected:
President: A.W.Dilley Esq.
Vice President: Rev. T.Young
Hon. Treasurer: Mr A.Medhurst
Hon.Secretary: Mr F.J.Haynes
Committee: Messrs. E.Haynes, Shanks, Chamberlain, Freestone, Mynott, Peachey, Youngs, W.Bass, Raynes and A.W.Bass
Annual shows continued to be held and Mr Harry Collins set the record for winning, with the highest number of points in the show, the Forbes Trophy each year for ten years 1946 to 1955.
Two horticultural shows were held annually in the village for a period from 1956 when the Trumpington British Legion Branch organised a separate event. Ill health prevented Harry Collins from participating but his son, Michael, had obviously benefited from Harry’s experience and advice. In 1956 at the first British Legion Show Michael Collins won the Cornwell Challenge Cup for the highest number of points for the whole show, the Saville Peck Memorial Cup and the Loveday Challenge Cup (8). After his death in 1956, Harry Collins was remembered by the Trumpington Horticultural Society by the Harry Collins Cup, awarded for the greatest number of points in vegetable classes.
When the local British Legion branch ceased to organise horticultural shows, they transferred their cups to the Trumpington Horticultural Society in 1969, 1970 or 1971. The Horticultural Society then included special show classes for British Legion members.
In 1980, the Committee, with Honorary Secretary Dr Stephen Brown, decided to increase the activities of the Society by arranging a programme of evening meetings and Summer visits. This development was well supported by the keen gardeners of Trumpington and the practice of inviting guest speakers, holding quizzes and plant sales has continued. An archive of meeting programmes has been maintained.
Over the years the Society has taken part in community events. It has run plant and produce stalls at the Vicarage Garden Parties, Fawcett School Fetes, the Mothers’ Union Community Event 2004 and the Village Hall Centenary Celebrations 2008.
In 2003 the Society’s name was changed to Trumpington Gardening Society (TruGS). From 2005 to 2011, the formal Annual Show was replaced by an informal Summer/Autumn show, where Society members had the fun of being both the exhibitors and the judges.
(1) Cambridge Chronicle 7 April 1893 p.4
(2) ibid July 1883
(3) ibid 20 May 1898 p.8
(4) ibid 17 June 1898 p.8
(5) ibid 22 March 1912 p.8
(6) ibid 18 October 1922 p.3
(7) ibid 30 September 1925 p.6
(8) Cambridge Daily News 4 September 1956
At the end of 2011 , the Society was mothballed w ith the intention that the group w ill restart in the future. P lant stalls and summer coach trips continued to be organised.
Photo: Andrew Roberts
Photo taken in the Corn Exchange in the 1920s
Trumpington Village Hall
Trumpington Church Hall