Steyning Horticultural Society
Steyning Horticultural Society

Steyning Horticultural Society

was founded in 1928 and has been active in the town, with the exception of the World War II suspension from 1940 to 1945, until the present day. The flower shows were major events in the early years and became an important part of the town’s entertainment.

Local gardeners took great pride in showing off their produce and there was fierce competition for the prizes. There were two entry sections, one for persons with their own garden or allotment and one for large gardens or large houses with paid assistance.

It has been said that people almost fought to be elected onto the committee, a position of great honour and importance in those days. Past chairmen and presidents all gave most wonderful and expensive silver trophies, which are still awarded today.

Probably the most famous people were Miss Elsie and Miss Doris Waters, who were joint Presidents from 1950 to 1952.

Some seventy-five years after the Society’s birth the way of life is much different in Steyning. Leisure time is far greater and not confined to the town: communications and travel on a worldwide basis are accessible to all. The interest in Flower Shows has declined but there is still a thriving interest in gardening.

In 2003 the present committee was faced with increasing costs on a yearly basis coupled with a shortening membership of less than 100 people and saw great need for change to ensure the Society’s future existence. A policy was adopted to diversify and modernise to fulfil people’s needs and interests and actively encourage community participation.  A programme of garden visits and coach outings was organised after consultation with members and was launched at our AGM.

It is really rewarding for the committee to report that their efforts have been well supported with all events selling maximum tickets. The Society has gained many new members to date and the total is approaching 340 people in 2013. The financial position is now very positive and our flower shows are regarded as some of the most spectacular in the district.

It is hoped you have found this article interesting and maybe you are now inspired to become a member of the society. There is a wonderful community spirit in Steyning and the friendship shown at our events is just one example of that spirit.

New members are most welcome and who knows, between us we may have come up with a recipe to have fun and keep the Society going for another eighty-five years.

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