The early history of the Show is somewhat sketchy, however there is plenty of evidence that Shows connected with the farming community were held in Nantwich prior to the formation of the Nantwich Show. This is surely inevitable given its location in the heart of the luscious fertile Cheshire plain. It is not surprising that we find that Cheese Fairs were being held regularly and the first one recorded in Nantwich, the Nantwich Dairy Show, appears to have been in 1882. Prior to this, however, it is recorded that a Poultry Show was held in 1859, and the first Annual Show of the Nantwich Floral and Horticultural Society was held in 1870.
Nantwich Agricultural Society was founded in 1897 when the Cheshire Agricultural Society, who had been holding Shows for some years at different venues in the County, split the County into 4 Shows in their own right, one of which was Nantwich, and in 1903 the Show was held under its own auspices and with no link to the Cheshire Agricultural Society.
The Nantwich Dairy Shows continued to be staged each year, and it is recorded that the Dairy Show of 1908 was held in the Market Hall on 28th & 29th October. At this Show there were 258 entries of Cheese and 34 entries of butter with the prize winners including:- J. Dutton, Swanley Hall, WH Hobson, Blakenhall, J. Bennion, Gorsecroft Farm, Audlem and T. Peacock, Huxley Hall, Chester
The Dairy Shows, and Horticultural Shows continued to be held annually however the two World Wars overshadowed such events, and there is little in detail of them to be found during this period.
In 1943 a Show was promoted in order to raise funds for the Red Cross. Mr Frank Hughes was appointed Secretary at a salary of £50, with the Chairman being Mr Millard, and the President, G.R. Rigby. The Show produced a profit of £1,000.
The next Show was held in 1945, and was listed as The First Annual Nantwich Agricultural Show and Gymkhana. It was held in the grounds of what was St Josephs School, London Road, now the Richmond Village on Wednesday 8th August, and the profits from this Show were donated to the Nantwich Cottage Hospital.
The venture was considered to have been an outstanding success, and it was decided it should become an Annual Show. As such a meeting was called on Thursday 11th October 1945 to select officers, and to draw up bye laws and regulations for succeeding Shows, with the next Show to be held on Wednesday 31st July 1946 – the last Wednesday in July, a tradition which still stands today.
In 1946 the Show was held at its new venue of Dorfold Hall Park, by kind permission of the Roundell family. As you will be aware this is still its venue today, and in 1996, the 50th Anniversary of being at Dorfold a painting of Dorfold Hall was commissioned by the Society and presented to Mr & Mrs Roundell
The Show has been held annually ever since, apart for break in years for Foot & Mouth, and has continued to grow in size and prestige to the national and international event we see today.