About

As farming began to improve in the 1830s, Farmers’ Clubs, mainly for discussion and consideration of all new methods that were being brought forward, began to be formed up and down the country, as the Victorians were much given to improving themselves.  It was in 1851 that the Driffield Farmers’ Club was formed and they held experiments with the new agricultural machinery on Mr Hopper’s farm at Kelleythorpe in 1852.  In 1853 the Farmers’ Club developed into the Driffield and East Riding Agricultural Society , but when they invited subscriptions to run an Agricultural Show, they found the greatest indifference amongst the people of Driffield, and many refused to subscribe.  However,  in 1854 the first Driffield Show was held.

‘The Driffield Agricultural Society held its first annual exhibition of farm stock, poultry, horses and implements in a field within a short distance of the town, on Wednesday 12th July, where it was clearly demonstrated that union is the strength of the farmer when spiritedly put into action, without looking for, or feeling that the great and rich are indispensable to the existence of agricultural societies, however advantageous their pecuniary aid and patronage may be to all societies whose object is the furtherance of improvement and social progress.

The success of all societies depends upon the committee and secretary who manage the affairs thereof; also much of the success attending this days exhibition lay in the selection of gentlemen well-known as first rate judges of the animals on which they were called upon to adjudicate, and appointing three judges for each description of stock.  This might have been carried also to the appointing two sets for the horses, as it frequently happens that parties who are first rate judge of cart or farm horses are not good judges of riding horses, hunters and vice versa.  This society also observed another good plan,  namely, having their judges gentlemen from some considerable distance – preventing that unfortunate petty feeling that disappointed aspirants so generally whisper about the favouritism shown to this one and the other.  From the duties of the judges being concentrated on only one sort of stock, there was plenty of time to scrutinize and calculate with greater certainty the comparative merits of each animal; therefore the awards were almost universally placed right, giving most general satisfaction, although in many cases the merits in animals were so closely balanced, that many good judges could not satisfy themselves to which the palm ought to be given;  yet, after the three judges had agreed upon the award, all seemed to feel satisfied.’