Three Counties Agricultural Society About Us

The roots of Three Counties Agricultural Society lie as far back as 1794 when John Clerk of Builth published his book, ‘General Views on Agriculture in the County of Hereford’. He observed that there was no agricultural society in the county of Herefordshire which led to the formation of Herefordshire Agricultural Society in 1797 when George III was on the throne of Great Britain and Napoleon was invincible throughout Europe. The first show took place on Broad Street in Hereford in 1798 and the Society later developed into Three Counties Agricultural Society with the amalgamation of Worcestershire in 1894 and Gloucestershire in 1921.

The Three Counties Show rotated between Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire until the Three Counties Showground was purchased by the Society and the first show was held on the permanent site in 1958 with HM The Queen Mother as guest of honour. The agricultural show has become one of the most significant in the UK and was awarded Royal Status in 2014 under the patronage of HRH The Princess Royal.

Meanwhile, the Society has developed its other shows including RHS Malvern Spring Festival which is a partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society. Founded in 1984 to bring the ‘Chelsea’ experience to the Midlands and South West, the festival enjoys national recognition with many RHS Gold Medal standard exhibitors.

Please visit threecounties.co.uk to see the full portfolio of events produced by Three Counties.

In 2018 we celebrated 60 years of the Royal Three Counties Show being held in Malvern at Three Counties Showground, take a look at facts through the decades of being at Malvern.

1958-1968:

  • The first show was held at the permanent site of the Three Counties Showground at the foot of the Malvern Hills in 1958. The show was honoured by an attendance by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.  A five-year schedule of works was undertaken including the laying of permanent trackways, installation of water, electricity and other utilities and the building of a permanent office block and council room.
  • Sixty years on (2018), the site has grown to encompass 298 acres including a range of permanent buildings, a woodland and a lake.

1968 – 1978:

  • In 1968 the show welcomed Her Majesty the Queen. She spent four hours at the show, spending time viewing the livestock and casting a knowledgeable eye over the Corgi class.
  • The Royal Three Counties Show has welcomed, and continues to welcome, members of the Royal Family.  In 2018 Her Majesty, The Queen entered two of her own horses into Equine classes. The Three Counties Championship Dog Show has grown in popularity and size to the extent that it now has its own dedicated show held the week before the Royal Three Counties Show.

1978 – 1988:

  • In 1986 the largest permanent building on the site, Severn Hall, was opened by HRH The Princess Royal.  At that point the show had grown to employ 12 permanent staff and become a business in its own right.  A further six seasonal staff were employed for six months of the year along with 320 during show time.
  • In 2018 show welcomed more than 700 permanent, temporary and volunteer staff to help organise the event.  It welcomes more than 90,000 people through the gates during the show.

1988 – 1998:

  • In 1997 the show celebrated its bicentenary with HRH The Princess Royal in attendance. It was Worcestershire’s year to host the celebration and to mark the occasion Mayors from 30 different towns and cities, where the show had been held over the last 200 years, were paraded as guests of honour.
  • 2018 celebrates 60 years of the show being held at the showground. Worcestershire is back in the spotlight as the host county again and a special tea party for invited guests and dignitaries will celebrate the show’s rich history.

1998 – 2008:

  • In 2001, the Royal Three Counties Show was cancelled, for the first time since World War Two, due to the devastating foot and mouth crisis. The Malvern Hills were also closed during this time and the Cheltenham Gold Cup was cancelled too.
  • One of the most pressing challenges in 2018 for livestock farmers is the threat of bovine tuberculosis.  Working with the regulations the livestock entries remain strong across all sections demonstrating the popularity and prestige of the show.

2008 – 2018:

  • The show was awarded Royal status in 2014 under the patronage of HRH The Princess Royal.  It establishes itself as one of the largest livestock and equine events in the UK and celebrates the great British countryside and rural life.