The history of Galleywood Horticultural Society

The first Galleywood Flower Show under the auspices of the Galleywood Cottage Garden Society was held on 12th July 1912 at the grandstand and paddock on the common lent by the Race Stand Committee. As well as the flower and vegetable show there were races and other competitions. Formal dancing was organised for the afternoon and evening.

Apart from the First World War years, the summer show continued in the same form until the beginning of the Second World War.

There were allotments on the common but in 1920 the owner of the land (Mr Jarvis) wished to sell the plots off for housing development. At the time parishioners were unaware that the area involved, unlike the rest of the common, was privately owned. A new plot of land called the battery field became available and was purchased by the Galleywood Cottage Garden Society with loans from a number of local persons. The loans were eventually paid off and the allotments (now in Chaplin Close,) were owned by the Cottage Garden Society and run by its trustees.

The report in the Essex Chronicle of the show held in July 1938 stated that ‘With a View to creating a wider appeal, Galleywood Cottage Garden Society now enjoys the higher status of the Galleywood Horticultural Society.’

The allotment holders have retained the name ‘Galleywood Cottage Garden Society’ and remain independent from the GHS.

After the Second World War the summer show returned in 1946 but in the new venue of the Keene Hall with sports, games and funfair in the adjacent field (later developed for housing.)  Dancing etc. continued in the evening in the hall.

Between 1987 and 1992 the show was held at Wood Farm in association with the village carnival.

Two shows were held each year in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, the society began to hold meetings throughout the year. Initially they were mainly social but eventually there were more demonstrations and lectures. This has continued into the 2000s when one or two outings each year have also taken place. During this period the society has been able to host a celebrity evening each autumn and significant donations to charity have been made as a result.