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.
TO PROMOTE AGRICULTURE, APICULTURE, ABORICULTURE, FORESTRY, RURAL CRAFTS AND SKILLS AND CONSERVATION FOR THE PUBLIC BENEFIT; AND, IN PARTICULAR, BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY, BY (A) HOLDING DEMONSTRATIONS OF MODERN AGRICULTURAL METHODS AND PROCESSES; (B) HOLDING SHOWS FOR THE EXHIBITION OF AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, FARM AND HORTICULTURAL PRODUCE AND FORESTRY, AND FOR THE DEMONSTRATION OF AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL METHODS AND PROCESSES, RURAL CRAFTS AND SKILLS, MACHINERY, VEHICLES, DOMESTIC GOODS, IMPLEMENTS, TOOLS AND APPLIANCES, ANIMAL FEED STUFFS, FERTILISERS, SEEDS AND OTHER ITEMS APPERTAINING OR ANCILLARY TO AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE OR ANY ALLIED INDUSTRY
As a charity, the Three Counties Agricultural Society (of which HRH The Princess Royal is patron) aims to promote agriculture, horticulture and arboriculture within Gloucestershire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire.
Some of the ways it does this are:
- The society hosts one of largest livestock and equine shows in the UK, the Royal Three Counties Show. Not only does this provide a fantastic opportunity for farmers, growers and producers to show their animals, it also serves as an enthralling educational event for the public. Schools and home educators are also given free tickets to the show and a variety of educational workshops are arranged for them to attend while there.
- A yearly careers fair is held at the Three Counties Showground, providing the opportunity for young people and businesses supporting careers in the sectors of agriculture, horticulture and arboriculture (as well as a wide variety of organisations from other industries) to connect.
- The new John Tedstone bursary will be awarded by the society each year to students studying agriculture or horticulture and the Bursary in Memory of Joe Henson MBE is awarded by the society each year to students studying agriculture and related subjects.
- The showground hosts The Pathways Day service caters for young adults with learning disabilities. Pathways have developed the Learning Garden at the showground, taking on a different theme each year to make it interesting for visitors and putting on a range of children’s activities at each show to encourage children to engage in the world of nature, agriculture and horticulture.
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.
- 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.