End of an era as Largs Agricultural Society ceases after 150 years

A HISTORICAL organization that existed in Largs for over 150 years has been closed.

The decision was made to call time on the Largs Agricultural Society by committee members this week.

This marks the end of the popular annual Ardgowan Policies show, which dates back to 1842 in the area.

Former President John Menzies, 75, told the News it was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately the right one.

He said: “One of the problems we had was that our membership had dwindled and there was a lack of new young farmers in the area.

“Our committee was down to ten members and the show itself has been canceled for the past two years due to Covid, which hasn’t helped.

“We thought it was probably the best time to make the decision and quit.”

John paid tribute to all the volunteers and helpers who have played their part in the agricultural society over the years.

He added: “We just don’t have farmers in the area like we used to.

“The Young Farmers’ Society ceased some time ago due to lack of members and now we have two or three young people while the rest of us are 60+.

“We moved the show to Ardgowan Policies from a field in Skelmorlie Castle in the 1970s during my first term as chairman and it was a great success.

“It’s sad to lower the curtain, but it’s a sign of the times.

“The Largs Agricultural Society had to overcome dark times, including the foot-and-mouth outbreak in the early 2000s. The rules and regulations governing shows are much stricter these days, while insurance has also become more expensive. .

“It just wasn’t practical anymore.”

John, whose family has been involved in farming for many generations, added: “Before there were a lot of fundraisers in the area for us but they just faded away.

“We used to have the police, a business club, a golf club and Largs Thistle dances in the area helping out, but without all of that we just can’t go on.”

Sheepdog trials look set to continue with a select group who have staged the annual show vowing to keep it alive.

The agricultural show is believed to have existed in the district as early as 1842 when the first horticultural show in Largs was held, joining with the already existing agricultural show to hold a joint event in the town.

Lana T. Arthur