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Treasure 6: Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen
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Treasure 6: Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen

Historic Photographs
David Oswald
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Treasure 6: Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen
Historic Photographs
Treasure 6: Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen
Enthusiastic gardeners who have spent months, if not years, nurturing their plants have the opportunity to display their efforts at flower shows - usually held in August or September. These events for individuals happen all around the country and have a long history.

Britain in Bloom is the national flower show for whole communities. It was the brainchild of Roy Hay, a horticultural journalist. Following a holiday in France where he admired the "Fleurissement de France", he persuaded the British Travel and Holidays Association (later the British Tourist Authority) to organise a similar competition for communities in Britain.

Although the first competition in 1964 was won by Bath, Aberdeen received a "Special Mention". The city did even better in 1965 when it won the National Trophy. Although it did not win again until 1969, the city then continued its success each year until 1971. However, this achievement led to Aberdeen being debarred from the National Competition in 1972 although it still won the Scottish section. 1973 and 1974 saw Aberdeen winning the National award again, and its record 10th win was in 1998.

A slogan competition was held for the 1968 campaign when the winning entry proclaimed "Aberdeen - Garden City by the Sea".

In order to celebrate Britain in Bloom and Aberdeen's success in the competition we have chosen to highlight our collection of historic prize schedules for the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen's annual exhibition.

The Aberdeenshire Horticultural Society was founded in March 1824 when a meeting of "Practical Gardeners" was held in the New Inn for the "purpose of forming themselves into a Society". The Earl of Aberdeen graciously agreed to be Patron of the Society.

In November 1863, it was announced at the annual general meeting that HRH the Prince of Wales had now agreed to become Patron of the Society and that the Society's name was to be changed to the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen.

The Society's "Prize Schedule for Exhibition" gives details of each of the classes which can be entered, with the prizes which can be won - a sum of money or a cup or medal. In 1920, there were a total of 222 classes and those who exhibited were split into one of four Divisions - professional gardeners; nurserymen and florists; amateurs and working class.

The Schedules also contain the Rules of Competition, the Constitution of the Society and a list of Subscriptions and Donations received - these include names, addresses and amounts given. Our earliest copies of the booklets cover the period 1920 - 1937, although the file is incomplete.

The Society celebrated its 175th anniversary in 1999. To take a closer look at these, and many other Aberdeen historic documents, visit Aberdeen Central Library.
Aberdeen Local Studies
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