THE NATIONAL AURICULA & PRIMULA SOCIETY NORTHERN SECTION
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From the early years of the 17th
Century there have been shows for florist flowers including Auriculas. The
early shows were held in public houses and often there would be a florist
feast and a fair amount of alcohol would be consumed. It was good to tell
that these early florists lacked the feminine influence that keeps us a
respectable society today.
The National Auricula Society was founded in
1872-73. With the support of the Manchester Botanical Council the first
revived exhibition of the National Auricula Society was held on Tuesday the
29th of April 1873.The prizes at the first show were of cash and
appear to have been extremely generous. Class A for six dissimilar show
varieties, one at least in each of the classes Green, Grey, White Edged and
Self had a first prize of 60s (£3.00) In the single plant classes the
premium prize was 10s (50p) and first prize was 8s (40p), even those prizes
would be more than most people could earn in a week. The fact that only
subscribers of over 10s could enter the multi pot classes tells us that the
early members must have been comparatively wealthy. In fact they were often
manufacturers and professional gentlemen, ladies were still absent.
In 1890 it was resolved that supports i.e.
staking would be allowed in all classes but packing in the truss was not to
be allowed. 1903 saw the first printed Annual Report of the society. In 1912
three cups were purchased, one each for Show Auriculas, Alpine Auriculas and
Gold Laced Polyanthus, together with three medals and a die the total cost
During the First World War the society
continued as normal and had a Victory Show in 1919. There was a class for a
box of Primula species or hybrids arranged for effect introduced in 1922.
The box had to be 36” x 18”. Around that time it was decided to award silver
spoons for Premier Plants. Between the two world wars the society went
through a difficult period due to the deaths of several prominent members
and a general lack of interest in florist flowers. In 1932 the members were
advised that the society had only £12 in the bank. Various ideas were
discussed to try to generate interest and in 1935 classes for Alpine plants
were introduced. In the 1930 there were classes for 24 Show Auriculas and 24
Alpine Auriculas. The 1940 show was the last to be held until the end of the
Second World War, the 1941 show had to be cancelled due to the Coal Exchange
where it was to held being destroyed by enemy action. Small shows were held
in the Mitre Hotel in Manchester during the war. The present day committee
still has its meetings there.
The post war period saw the beginning of a revival which continues to the present time. Primulas were being shown in increasing numbers but sadly Gold Laced Polyanthus continued to decline. The word Primula was added to the society title in 1948 and we became The National Auricula and Primula Society (Northern Section). In 1954 the rules were altered to make a standard subscription of 10s for all members, not many societies can claim to have held the same subscription for eighty one years. In 1960 the society again began to present Medals for Premier plants. 1973 saw the society put on its first display at Harrogate Spring Flower Show, this has now become a tradition and has resulted in the recruitment of many new members. 1976 saw the society’s first Primula Show which was held in Bradford. More recently local groups of members have been formed to meet throughout the year. The North East Group has a well established Auricula show, which is held at Newbottle Tyne and Wear.
It is pleasing to report that Gold Laced Polyanthus seem to be making a come back In recent years with a number of members growing and showing them now, new strains are being produced and seed is in demand once again. It is good to see them grace the show benches at our shows once more.
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Section All Rights Reserved. Any photographs not credited
were taken by T Mitchell
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Last updated 06-08-14
Webmaster Terry Mitchell, email address email@example.com