It all 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,....
The world of gardening
A belief in learning together
We believe that gardening enables us to interact with and enjoy the natural living world and to develop a more healthy peaceful lifestyle. This something gardeners learn over time as they and their gardens or allotments evolve. Very often this is done in isolation of others, so it can be fun and helpful to develop and share skills and knowledge with others. Our Society calendar aims to meet the range of membership interests.
Our programme offers wildflower walks in which to explore and learn about the natural habitats of plants and creatures with experienced countryside wardens and rangers.
The annual coach outing aims to foster the aspiration of excellence in our own usually less than perfect gardens.
We exchange ideas when we meet at shows or the AGM which is a sociable highlight of the year. We enjoy 2 evening lectures and three informal coffee mornings with speakers throughout the year.
This is a great way of learning how to get the best from plants.
Advice on care, observation of quality (or even thinking that your homegrown tomatoes are better) are all ways of learning to grow plants well, and connecting to the living world, whether you exhibit or not. However the support of experienced members often encourages newer members to have a go.
With the current popularity of baking and home crafts, makers, bakers and and flower arrangers may also enjoy entering our special categories in our Shows.
Growing together in Banstead
How we get things done
It may seem that our Society is run by magic but everything that happens is done by someone in a voluntary capacity. Whilst joining in is not for everyone, it is a great way to make friends.
Committee members are elected at the AGM to manage the Society's events, Flower Shows and finances. We can help interested members learn about what we do through shadowing or observing various tasks, so that you can stand in an emergency, wait for a vacancy that interests you, or be co-opted to work alongside the Committee. We would also like to attract people with IT and admin skills, so please contact us if you are able to help.
We have a great team who help with everything
together, and have fun at the same time. There
are lots of opportunities to make new friends and support the Society's aims too.
Members help us to set up the hall before shows and clear away afterwards. Stewards welcome members and visitors, Show stewards facilitate judges (a great way to learn what judges are looking for), and most importantly we have a great team of helpers providing our renowned refreshments at shows and events.
We also have fund raisers running our lottery and raffles, newsletter distributors, people who contribute homemade cakes and serve teas, whilst others grow and donate plants to our stall.
What we do
We encourage :-
to get involved in gardening and develop their knowledge and skills whatever their interest and capacity.
From age 3 upwards (no limit!) there is something for you.