It seems that as long as we can remember the Show has set its collective trailers down in fields between the M1 and the old A5 just north of Redbourn for its celebration of most things agricultural – as well as entertainments which would attract the large crowds to ensure the event could cover its costs above the income from trade stands.
|Appealing to families. Courtesy Hertfordshire Life.|
However, the Show first arrived at what was to be its permanent home in 1962. In fact, the statement should be amended to "its second permanent home", in as much as permanence can occasionally be a flexible concept!
|The Redbourn show ground. Courtesy Hertfordshire|
This is where St Albans' Own East End enters the story, for in 1956, shortly after the land had changed hands, Oak Farm in Coopers Green Lane was selected. The Show came to us! I'm uncertain when it first became a two-day event at the weekend, but it was previously a single day during the working week, and so it was in 1956. Thursday was show day. That was an even bigger weather risk then than today for an open air agri-fest. Mid May – for it was slightly earlier then – at Oak Farm and the previous day was very wet, so ensuring an adequate amount of mud through which to wallow. The day itself, according to the Herts Advertiser, was sunny.
|The Herts Advertiser reports on the pig classes at Oak Farm.|
The requirements for a large tract of land made it inevitable that that the event would be "off the beaten track". The proportion of visitors with cars would have been low in the 1950s; my memory is unclear about the laying on of special buses to the site. Perhaps we all walked, but we could only have done so after school. So perhaps this was an event, which could have been of such wonderful educational value, that passed us by.
I have never discovered a programme for the event, and no-one has recalled the Show as one of their fifties highlights. Hertfordshire Show at Oak Farm, it seems has retreated to the great chasm of non-memory that exemplifies much of our lives. But there may be someone somewhere who could still exclaim, "1956? Oh yes, that was the year Hertfordshire Show came to Oak Farm."