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