Leek show has its roots in the Victorian age

Monkton Leek, Vegetable and Floral Society secretary Billy Whitehead, left, and fellow member Billy Boyd.
Monkton Leek, Vegetable and Floral Society secretary Billy Whitehead, left, and fellow member Billy Boyd.

A famous South Tyneside leek show, which can trace its roots back to Victorian times, will be staged for the 152nd time this weekend.

The Monkton Leek, Vegetable and Floral Society was established in 1863 and is one of the oldest horticultural societies in the UK.

Leeks are judged on size and quality

Billy Whitehead

Its annual show is always held in the grounds of the Lord Nelson pub, in Monkton Village, Jarrow.

And the mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ritchie Porthouse, will be on hand to open the event to the public from 6.30pm tomorrow, with visitors also welcome from 11am on Sunday and Monday.

Billy Whitehead, who has been secretary of the society for more than 30 years, is predicting a vintage year.

He said: “The society has 49 members and there are 56 categories with a total prize money of around £7,000.

“It should be a very good show, and we have plenty of flowers which will be at the centre of the marquee, which always adds a lot of colour.”

As always one of the most tightly-fought categories will be the pot leeks.

Billy added: “We will be looking for the biggest with quality. They are judged on their size and the score is then adjusted for the leek’s quality.

“We also have a female member this year, Lesley Joyce. It’s the first time since the war, when the women kept the show going when the men were away fighting.”

The society is known for its quality growers, having produced two former world champions and two world record holders.

Admission is free and the society welcomes new members. For more information, visit www.monktonleekshow.com.uk.