There was great joy when they displayed flowers, fruits and vegetables in the fall displays.

Photo 1 shows Kay Johnson, of Wolvercote, and Valerie Shakespeare, of Cowley, both 14, making friends with a St. Bernard at the 18th Annual Wolvercote Horticultural Show in 1968.

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In Photo 2, taken at the exhibition in the same year, William Falis, right, owner of the famous Headington Bakery, and David Breech, who had just completed his trade apprenticeship, are seen judging the cake entries.

The Flower Show attracted a record 1,000 entries from the largest number of exhibitors – there were so many displays that had to be extended.

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The Oxford Mail reported: “The judges warmly praised the high standards in all sections of the show, most of which they said were of national show standard, especially the chrysanthemums and dahlias.

“There were also some fantastic vegetables and home lessons have never been better supported.”

Prize winners included Mr HJ Stroud, Mr JL Waine, Mr EW Williams, Mr E Cowley, Mr J Stilgoe, Mr R Beale, Mr KG Horsell and Mr W Harper.

More than 12,000 people attended the parade in Port Meadow that year, despite heavy rain and British Rail’s decision to close a traditional shortcut from the village via the railway line.

Two youngsters proved that adults were not the only ones taking prizes at these shows – Image 3 shows Paul Buckle, eight, left, and his colleague Robert Birkin, seven, at the South Oxford Horticultural Society’s Autumn Show in 1984.

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Paul, from Peel Place, and Robert, from Wytham Street, won prizes after entering Christmas cards they designed and made at New Hinksey School.

Other pupils from the school won a prize of a pot of apple and ginger jam they made in class.

Photo 4 shows Jesse Merritt, right, receiving one of the four trophies he won at the Cowley Conservative Club presentation from club president Reg Smith.

Mr. Merritt won all four major trophies in 1964 – for flower, vegetable, fruit and best in show.

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Employees at the Morris Motors car factory in Cowley also held an annual competition, and in Photo 5, two exhibitors examine an exhibit at the 1957 show.

They are Mr F Miles, left, of the fitting shop, and Mr A Baldwin, of the jig and mold department.

The staff at Oxford University Press also displayed vegetables and flowers annually, and in Photo No. 6, Mr. D. Gibbons arranged his displays of tulips at the 1964 exhibition.

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About the author

Andy is the Oxford Mail’s trade and tourism correspondent and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here.

He joined the team over 20 years ago covering community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is published every Saturday morning.

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