Leek show’s roots go back 150 years

DAYS GONE BY ... Monkton Leek, Vegetable and Floral Society members in 1864.
DAYS GONE BY ... Monkton Leek, Vegetable and Floral Society members in 1864.

A FAMOUS South Tyneside leek show, which can trace its roots back to Victorian times, will celebrate its 150th anniversary next month.

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

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

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

A TV documentary has previously explored the dedication of the green-fingered Jarrow society members.

The show is now held in conjunction with a musical festival, BandFest, which showcases local talent.

This year’s Monkton Leek Show will be open to the public from 6.30pm on Saturday, September 14 and closes at 11am on Monday, September 16.

Society chairman Tommy Powell said: “Every year, the event gets bigger, which is a remarkable thing, considering how many other shows have fallen by the wayside.

“We take great pride in the way the local community and businesses support us. Attendance is in the thousands.”

The Jarrow society also raises money for good causes through BandFest and a raffle. This year’s charity is St Clare’s Hospice, in Jarrow.

Mr Powell added: “This year is also very special because Sir David Chapman, grandson of Colonel Sir Robert Chapman, will be attending.

“Not only was Col. Sir Robert Chapman a patron of the society from the 1930s, he also donated the Chapman Cup, which is presented to the top leek grower.”

Twitter: @terrykelly16