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Loth Helmsdale Flower Show History

The Loth & Helmsdale Flower Show Society was originally set up as the 'Loth Flower and Baby Show' in 1934 and as such is one of the longest running 'Flower & Produce Shows in the North of Scotland.

The first show came about from a chance remark at a Flower and Baby show organised to raise funds for the Lawson Hospital extension fund in 1933.

Extract from the Northern Times 31 August 1933:-
August 31, 1933
Mr Braden, missionary, Loth, introduced a new and very attractive feature into the county when he held a fruit, flower, vegetable and home industries show along with a garden fete in the policies at the Loth Church of Scotland Manse, on Saturday afternoon.
The weather was all that could be desired. Considering the other attractions held in the county that day, it was a surprise to many to see such a representative assembly present.
The show was held in the open air. The fruit, vegetables and other exhibits being tastefully arranged on tables, under the shade of the stately old trees. With flags and other decorations, including novel side-shows the whole presented a most fascinating and animated appearance.
The show was opened by Mrs J G Wilson of Sunrise, Brora, after which the assembly entered into the spirit of the afternoon. The exhibition of fruit, flowers, vegetables and home industries was the chief attraction.
As one wended their way round the various tables, many favourable comments were heard on the splendid quality of the exhibits. In the vegetable section, there was a surprising entry of carrots, beetroot, cabbages and leeks, but owing to the insufficiency of entries in some sections, which in many instances only included one entry, no prizes were offered.
In the exhibit of twelve potatoes, which included three varieties, one was pleased to see that the Doll is not the only place that can grow "Rogart Blacks". Mr Macgregor, Portgower, had a really fine exhibit of vegetables. As he was the only competitor the judges suggested that he be specially recommended.
There was also another tastefully arranged exhibit of vegetables, but not for competition, sent in by one of the judges, Mr William Sutherland, Kintradwell Gardens. In the flower section the exhibits on view were first-class.
Another interesting competition was the best plate of brambles collected by children under fourteen years. The premier honour for this went to Miss Janet Sutherland, Portgower, aged 7 years, and second to Miss Johan Sutherland, Culgower, aged 8 years.
For the special prizes, presented by Lady Chaplin of Uppat for the best decorated table, there was keen competition. The premier honour was won my Miss Adamson, Helmsdale, Mrs Hector Macleod, West Garty, being a worthy second. In the home industries section, Miss Maclennan was delighted with the exhibits. If there were any defects, they were defects that could be easily overcome. The butter, eggs, honey and home-made exhibits were really a credit to Loth. The prize offered by County Councillor A M Ross, Grand Hotel, Brora, for highest number of points gained by any competitor in the show went to Mrs Hector Macleod, West Garty Farm, who gained six first prizes and four second prizes.
When everything was sold Mr Braden handed over the prizes to the successful winners, after which he proposed hearty votes of thanks to the judges and all who had helped to make the show a success.
The total proceeds are about £32.
Extract from the Northern Times 31 August 1933:- continued


' The inhabitants of the Parish of Loth cannot be too highly complimented on the response they made, on the invitation of Mr Braden, Loth Manse, to participate in a Flower Show to be held in aid of the funds for the extension of the Lawson Memorial Hospital. Mr Braden practically carried out the whole arrangements. He visited every household on more than one occasion. It was through his enthusiasm the 'his flock' responded. After the success of Saturday's show it is the earnest wish that it will become an annual event. Other parishes in the County, we trust, will hold shows on similar lines.'

Extract from the Northern Times of the first week in September 1934:-


The stage is now all set for the flower and baby show which takes place in the Loth Manse Grounds on Saturday. The event will be formally opened at 4pm by Her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland and the proceeds are on behalf of the Pope Dispensary Hospital Helmsdale. Indications point to a large gathering. Mr John P Braden, Loth Manse, will be glad to receive contributions in money of Kind.

The Baby Show will be under the supervision of Doctor G W Simpson of the Scottish Department of Education.

Entries for the flower, fruit and home industries will be accepted up to tomorrow (Friday). All sections are open to everyone and the smallest entry or donation will be gratefully received.

In the event of wet weather the show will be transferred to the Drill Hall Helmsdale.

Extract from the Northern Times
Golden Jubilee – September 11 1984
The organisers of this year's Golden Jubilee Loth and Helmsdale Flower Show could not have wished for better weather, a better turn-out or better exhibits. Around £1500 was taken, of which around £600 after expenses will be distributed later among local charities and clubs. The show, for its 50th year, was held in the grounds of Crakaig House, Loth, as it was first held in Loth manse in 1934.

The current Society is responsible for three annual shows – the Bulb show in Match, the Rose Show in July and the 2-day Show in August. They are also responsible for 'Helmsdale in Bloom' creating the numerous hanging Baskets, tubs and other floral displays in and around the village. To this end they have several fund raising events throughout the year.