Our Chairman, Mr. Richard Mews and General Secretary, Lisa Johnstone were delighted to speak with Year 9 students from St John's Academy in Bishop Auckland recently. The students are undertaking an arts project in conjunction with Northern Heartlands.
As part of the project the young people are looking at the past, present and future of agricultural shows and met Richard and Lisa at Stanhope Showground, Unthank Park to learn more about Stanhope show. Students will be working on a graphics based project and were keen to learn more about the history of the show whilst sharing their ideas about what they would like Stanhope Show 2030 to look like.
2018 sees the 177th Agricultural Show and Lisa spent time explaining how Weardale has changed since Stanhope Show, or Stanhope Fair, as it was then known has evolved. Richard showed the group old photographs of people connected with the show over the years.
According to the 2011 census only 13% of the population of Weardale now works in the upper dale and this demonstrates how the agricultural industry has changed with less people being involved as mechanization has grown.
What impact does this have on Stanhope Show?
It is more important than ever to preserve the agricultural heritage of our dale and with less people actively working in the industry it becomes more important for the rest of us to recall
how it was.
But today's show is not merely a history lesson and the original objectives of the show are just as relevant.
The charitable objective of the Association is to promote and improve agriculture for the benefit of the public by the improvement of livestock and the demonstration, exhibition and showing of livestock, machinery, crafts, products, methods and processes connected with agriculture and agricultural education.
We also want to enjoy ourselves at Stanhope Show and as the objectives state the demonstrations and exhibitions are a key objective of the show.
Entertainment, good food and drink, an opportunity to shop from niche artisan crafts people are also increasingly important to the show today.
So what of the future of the show?
The young people had some exciting ideas.
Virtual tours of the show; more interactive activites; sporting and fun events for young people and families; a sand-pit for the under 5's; a muddy mayhem obstacle course....just some of the fabulous ideas the students came up with.
...so watch this space ...as the future of Stanhope Agricultural Show is in the hands of the young who will one day ensure that our wonderful show continues for another 200 years.