The Gooseberry Show

This post appears in the following categories:

A red letter day in the year for the people of Winlaton Mill was the village Gooseberry Show, held in August. Although shows were held throughout the area, it was the Mill that was famous for its big ‘Grozers’. The Mill growers were so good that one of the Swalwell shows became confined to residents of that village.

The show started in the latter half of the nineteenth century.Until 1916 it was held in the Golden Lion, but after a falling out with the landlady the show was held in a marquee, near where the Huntley Well now stands. The show attracted hundreds of people from the surrounding
villages.It started with the weighing of the berries on Saturday and lasted until Monday night. The prime exhibit was the heaviest berry; there were also prizes for two berries, twelve berries and various flower exhibits. The exhibits, prizes and cups were spread out on the tables: a dinner service for first prize and a pair of shears for fifteenth.Entertainment varied, the Winlaton Brass Band and Sword Dancers both making appearances.

In the late 1920s the numbers attending the show began to fall and 1929 was the last year it was held in a marquee. In 1930 it returned
to the Golden Lion for what was to be the last show. James Brown won this final show with a berry weighing 21 dwts & 5 grams.. 
An era ended. The berries favoured by the showers: the London Red, the Winger, the Surprise and the Leveller, would no longer grace
the show benches of the Winlaton Mill Gooseberry Show.

Chris Hamilton