Formation of Bovingdon Horticultural Society

30th August 1927


Reported in The Gazette, Saturday 3rd September 1927 – Page .5









At a meeting held at the Reading Room, Bovingdon, on Tuesday night, it was decided to form a Bovingdon and District Horticultural Society and this decision having been arrived at, officers of the newly formed organisation were elected. There was an attendance of about 25 and the meeting had been called by Mr. W. C. Smail, who at the outset said that he had taken the liberty of calling that meeting because he thought that the village really did need a proper horticultural society that would be of great practical assistance to its members in the matter of their gardens. It had been hoped last year to form such a society but that suggestion had not materialised and so he had called the meeting and had asked Mr. A. V. Parker as a fellow enthusiast to be good enough to take the chair.


Mr. A. V. Parker, F.R.H.S., said that he had pleasure in accepting that invitation because Mr. Smail had asked him to do so and anything with which Mr. Smail was connected he felt was for good. It was necessary, if they decided to form a horticultural society, that it should be non-political and non-sectarian. He gathered from Mr. Smail that it was very difficult to form anything in Bovingdon not associated with political or religious matters and that was possibly the reason that he had been invited to take the chair. He saw no reason why Bovingdon should not have a horticultural society, other places smaller than their village had flourishing societies. The objects of the societies were manifold, including chiefly, that of helping members to gain knowledge in the art of horticulture, the arrangement of a winter programme of lectures, also for the arranging of competitions among the members, thus instilling a spirit of friendly rivalry, and there was the possibility of co-operative buying to the advantage of the members. He hoped that there would be a full discussion on the subject and if they should decide that there should be a horticultural society they could proceed at once to the election of officers and put the society on a proper basis.


Mr. Smail said that he had received some very encouraging letters from many people who could not attend the meeting. Lady Cooper had written, wishing them the best of luck. The Chairman said that the fact that the meeting was so well supported was evidence that there was a desire for a Society. He threw the meeting open for discussions and questions.


Mr. Hugh Aronson asked why the meeting was called at the Reading Room. The Chairman asked for other questions and suggested that they should all be answered at the end and not separately.


Mr. Aronson asked that his question might be replied to.


A vote was taken and the meeting decided that all questions should be asked first and answers given at the close.

Mr. Aronson: My question then is why was the meeting called here and not at the Memorial Hall.

Mrs. Ryder asked if the society would affiliate to the Royal Horticultural Society.


Mr. Aronson further asked “Is it to work in conjunction with the present flower show”.


The Chairman said that the question of affiliation to the R.H.S. could only be decided by the Society itself. One could take it almost for granted that the society, if formed, would be affiliated as Li is members at least and perhaps later on at the full fee of £2 2s. As regards their relations to the present Flower Show, he would like to say that the promoters of the show were deserving of the highest praise and encouragement. It was, however, part of the organisation of the Village Hall and did not deal with gardeners as well. There were many in the district who desired to belong to a horticultural society but who were not prepared to join the Village Hall organisation and as a horticultural society they could not demand that their members join any other village organisation. He wished it to be clearly understood that the calling of that meeting was a spontaneous expression of the desire by those interested in gardening to form a horticultural society and that was their object. They had to face the facts. When he spoke of politics he meant not so much national politics as what might be called VILLAGE POLITICS. The matter of the Village Hall was a matter of village politics.


Mr. Aronson: I protest against the Village Hall being termed village politics. The Chairman: You are entitled to protest when I sit down. The Chairman added that they desired a horticultural society with their members free from any sect, or association, in the village. As to the reason they were holding the meeting at the Reading Room, it was, he understood, firstly a matter of expense. They could get the room for 5s, the schools would have cost about 7s 6d and the Hall £1 1s.


Mr. Smail said that it might seem funny that they came there but he wished to say that he had called the meeting “off his own bat”. There was the matter of expense, and also he did not anticipate a meeting that would fill the Village Hall. He wished to say that it was not done with feelings of antagonism towards any other village organisation. Mr. Aronson said that Mr. Smail had served on the Committee of the Village Hall and did he know that the Hall was open on Monday evenings to any village organisation free of charge. Mr. Smail said that it was not possible for him to call the meeting on a Monday, and he did not know of the free use of the Village Hall.

Mr. Aronson said that the Village Hall had been run by all kinds of committees, people of all politics and religions and had served on it and it did seem to him that for the Chairman to say that the Village Hall was a matter of village politics was, to say the least, tactless. The question as to the relationship of the proposed society to the Village Hall had not been answered. What they wanted to know was if the new society proposed to run a flower show of its own or were they going to run in conjunction with the present Flower Show. Although that was supposed to be a village meeting, not a single member of the Flower Show Committee, who had run the show for some years, had been approached as to the question of that meeting and the formation of another society.

Mr. Smail said that two years ago the question of forming a horticultural society had been raised following a flower show and the management committee had not seen their way to proceed with it. Mr. Aronson said that Mr. Smail was one to suggest it and the Committee of Management did not take up the matter because they felt that the village did not want it.


The Chairman said that having been called tactless, he would like to say that a Village Hall was a very different thing to a horticultural society. It was no part of his character not to FACE THE FACTS and they knew that there were sects, factions, and feelings regarding the running of the Village Hall and the Flower Show. He did not wish to say that the Hall and the Show were not run properly but they, as a horticultural society, wished to be clear of the other organisations. Six people could form a horticultural society and those who did not wish to join need not do so, but they must be clear of all other organisations. If they affiliated to the RHS they could not subordinate themselves to any other organisations, but must stand on their own as a horticultural society.


Mr. Aronson: When was it suggested that you should subordinate yourselves. The Chairman: Our relations to the present Flower Show are nil. That is the answer to the question. I am only speaking of what might be. Lieut.-Col. Middleton said it seemed to him to be entirely a matter of what the village desired. Personally, he favoured the formation of the proposed society and if that was the wish of the village the committee of the present Flower Show would back it up (hear, hear). On the other hand if the village desired to continue with the Flower Show as at present those who thought the Horticultural Society the better plan would sink their present opinion and back up the Flower Show (hear, hear). Mr. Aronson said that he strongly agreed with Col. Middleton. There was not one member of the Rower Show Committee if a village meeting was called and decided to have a horticultural society - with all due respect he did not think the village was properly represented that night, but would do all they could to back it up. But, to call a meeting of this sort, a week before the Flower Show did not help matters.

The Chairman said that the object of the society would not be primarily to run a flower show. That was to be decided later. What they wanted was a permanent committee and not one that might be changed as the Village Hall Committee was. He proposed that a Bovingdon HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY BE FORMED. This was put to the meeting and carried “nem con” about 18 voting for it and none against.


The Chairman then declared the meeting to be the first general meeting of the Bovingdon Horticultural Society at which only members were entitled to vote. He asked those not intending to become members to leave the room.

No one responded to this invitation.


The meeting then elected the following officers:

Hon. Sec. Mr. W. C. Smail

President: Col Middleton

Hon Treasurer: Mr. A. V. Parker (Mr. Aronson was asked to take this post but declined.)

 It was decided that the Committee should consist of 11 members and 7 were elected with power to add four more. They were: Mr. W. Ryder, Mrs. Middleton, Mr. Waters, Mr. Sims, Mr. A Burgin, Mrs. Priday, Mrs. Banks.

It was suggested that the committee should compile a list of suggested rules and should submit these to a general meeting to be called within a month, and if it was possible, to fix the date for a Monday, and hold the meeting in the Village Hall.


Membership fee was fixed at 1s., with an entrance fee of 1s., but that the entrance fee should not apply to those joining for the year 1927/28.


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