Gooseberry Show

History of Allostock Gooseberry Show

Gooseberry shows date from 1800, when the first club was established at Egton Bridge in Yorkshire. At one time there were hundreds of clubs but gradually times changed and the popularity of the gooseberry shows waned. Today only nine clubs survive in the whole country – Egton Bridge in Yorkshire and the remaining eight in Cheshire, which was at the centre of the gooseberry growing world in the mid nineteenth century. The remaining clubs are: Allostock, Holmes Chapel, Goostrey, Marton, Lower Withington, Swettenham and Crown of Peover. The Cheshire clubs form the Mid – Cheshire Gooseberry Shows Association which is supported by the Cheshire Landscape Trust with support from the Heritage Lottery fund. 

Allostock Gooseberry Society was established in 1898. The club met at The Drovers Arms almost continuously for over a hundred years, with the exception of a few years in the 1980’s when it decamped to the Three Greyhounds. The club went through a particularly successful period in the 1960’s and were the winners of the Association Cup in 1967 for the heaviest berry of that year in Cheshire.

The club has had many successful growers over the years, amongst them Tom Hickson who cultivated a new seedling which he named ALLOSTOCK after his club. Jim Eyres won the Cup in 1967 and Dick Latham of Brook House Cottage was a well known grower in the 1920’s. Jim Hart is today winning many prizes. 
Show gooseberries are still weighed in pennyweights and grains and competition is fierce. The Allostock Gooseberry Show is held every year on the first Saturday in August and following the closure of the Drover’s, the show is now held at the Crown Inn, Lower Peover. Local businesses sponsor the show and their generous support is much appreciated. If anyone is interested in becoming a new member and carrying on the tradition, contact J Hart on Tel 01565 631043.

Many thanks to Julia Wilson who provided much of the History section, and acknowledgements to the late Charles Bentley who resourced some of the local history and to Gordon Nisbett for much of the information on the history of Allostock School and the WI and others for local memories.