It began with the Fur and Feather Association, which held annual shows of poultry, pigeons, rabbits, cats, fruit and vegetables at the riding school in Nork Park. On the 12th October 1931 the Reverend Cannon Skene chaired an inaugural meeting of the proposed Banstead Gardeners' Guild in the tea pavilion of the Victoria Public House (now Zizzis). The name adopted was Banstead Horticultural Society with the aim of promoting horticulture in Banstead by means of lectures, discussions, exhibitions and exchange of plants and advice.
The first show, which was opened by Mrs Gilbert the wife of a local MP took place on the 23rd July 1932 at Court Lodge, the home of Gordon Braddy. It was a fine and genteel affair with the Scotch Cake Company providing the catering and Mrs Gilbert of the Victoria serving alcoholic drinks. Lunch followed the judging, and this was followed by the opening ceremony. There was a punch ball match, a tug of war and the prizes were eventually distributed at 7.30pm. It was a real village celebration and a splendid start to the Society we now know.
In 1939 the show took place in a marquee in Banstead Grange paddock and in 1951 it moved to the Banstead High School (Now Banstead Open Space). From 1976 the shows took place in the newly built Banstead Community Hall where they continue today, at the heart of village life. We have practically continuous records for and about the shows.
BHS has five shows each year with an emphasis on the quality of the exhibits. The Society also has an excellent reputation with members some of whom succeed at national level. BHS has amassed a wealth of knowledge over the years: our longest serving member having according to our records joined in 1961. Existing members have experience of exhibiting at Chelsea, in national garden competitions, in 2000 winning the Intersociety Cup at Merrist Wood. They have also served on the Royal Horticultural Society plant committees and have qualifications as show judges in their own right. Alongside these experts, BHS continues as a place for ordinary gardeners to share their growing successes, learn from each other, meet up to "talk plants" and make friends and enjoy the fun of the shows.
Long may it continue,....