Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, Abergele 1950

In 1950 the Royal Welsh Show was held at Abergele in North Wales and the discovery of a set of aerial photographs taken during the show prompted us to find out more about those three days in 1950.

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Cyfrwy'r March-heddlu, 20fed ganrif

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Abergele, 1950

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Sioe Frenhinol Cymru Abergele, 1950

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Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, Abergele in 1950

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The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show - background

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society was established originally as the Welsh National Agricultural Society in 1904; its aims were to improve the breeding of stock and encourage agriculture throughout Wales. The first show was held in August 1904 at Aberystwyth and thereafter at 37 different locations, alternating between north and south Wales. The Royal Welsh settled on its present site at Llanelwedd (see colour photo above),at Builth Wells in 1963, since when it has developed into an annual four-day event and has grown into the most popular agricultural show in Britain. 

In 1950 the show was held at Abergele in North Wales and the discovery of a set of aerial photographs taken during the show prompted us to find out more about those three days in 1950.

Massive attendance at the 1950 Abergele show

Although a seaside resort, Abergele has always had strong connections with the local farming community, holding weekly cattle and sheep markets, and, because of a strong breeding tradition locally, a monthly horse sale specialising in Shire horses. It was also sure of a strong attendance because of being a holiday town, with thousands of holiday makers staying at the nearby camping and caravanning sites. The access to the show was well served with buses from Chester and Caernarfon, and a train station with a large siding which could cope with trains of horse boxes within yards of the showground. People travelled from as far away as Hampshire to show their livestock.

1950 was only five years after the end of the Second World War and petrol rationing had only just come to an end two months earlier. This meant that anyone with a car was now finally able to go on trips after eleven years of severe war-time restrictions. This probably boosted numbers over the three days of the show and, with over 60,000 attending, the 1950 Abergele show had the highest attendance figures in the history of the Royal Welsh up to that date.

The showground at Abergele

The Aerofilms photograph above shows the huge extent of Abergele Royal Welsh showground. The weather during the three days of the show was warm and sunny, the field was packed with happy smiling faces, the caterers were busy, and the traders on their 236 stands were obviously pleased with the public reaction, for everyone could enjoy their stands without charge. The craft and other tents were full of exhibits and, most importantly, the farmers and their families were enjoying themselves in the summer weather – a sure sign it was a good show. The animals were housed on the field and one could view them at close quarters as well as en-masse while the various competitions were judged and then when they were paraded around the main arena. There were also competitions for horse riding, jumping and driving – all very exciting. The site is now occupied by the Maes Canol housing estate.

Spectacular displays by Liverpool Mounted Police

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