Huddersfield Paxton Society

The Huddersfield Paxton Society[1] was a horticultural society seemingly established sometime towards the end of 1878 and which possibly ceased in the late 1880s.

Only a handful of the meetings were reported in the Huddersfield Chronicle, despite the society apparently often meeting weekly. All of the reported meetings took place at the Queen Hotel in Huddersfield.

The first meeting recorded by the Chronicle took place on Saturday 1 March, where Mr. James Sykes of Milnsbridge gave a paper on "The Dahlia". It was also mentioned that the previous Saturday, a deputation from Huddersfield had travelled to meet members of the Wakefield Paxton Society. Although he was absent from the meeting, it was stated that the usual chairman was Charles C.P. Hobkirk (1837-1902).[2]

At the meeting of 19 July 1879, there was "a good display of roses" following an offer of prizes for the best. The first was awarded to William Daniels, gardener of Hall Croft, Mirfield, with other prizes going to Thomas Stephenson of Lascelles Hall, Charles Willingham of Glenwood, and Thomas Crosland of Lepton. Also exhibited was a "cucumber ... with a malformed leaf growing out something like six inches long midway of the fruit." grown by Mr. R. Farrar.[3]

The "first annual general meeting" took place on 6 December 1879, with Hobkirk recorded as the president and around 60 members present. The secretaries reported that there were now 92 members, of whom "14 are patrons subscribing 10s. 6d. and upwards" and 23 essays had been delivered at the general meetings of the society. The election of officers saw Hobkirk retaining the role of president.[4]

The Chronicle covered the next annual meeting in more depth, which took place on Saturday 11 December 1880 with Hobkirk chairing. Around 70 members were in attendance, with guests including the Mayor, Alderman Denham, as well members of the Wakefield Paxton Society. The Mayor's speech included references to the planned Beaumont Park and Greenhead Park, and that he would welcome the society's input into the laying out of the parks. The secretary reported members was now 62, with 14 patrons, and that there "had been a falling off in the number of lectures and essays as compared with the proceeding year ; but those which had been given were very interesting."[5]

By 1882, the president was Mr. G.W. Rhodes (1822-1892), although Hobkirk continued to chair. Rhodes gave an essay on "the movements of sap in plants" at the meeting on 18 March 1882. [6]

The next annual meeting on Saturday 9 December 1882 recorded that the president was Mr. Jarmain, although he was unable to attend and G.W. Rhodes presided. Once again, a deputation from the Wakefield Paxton Society attended, along with 30 members and friends. It was noted that, although the number of gardeners in Huddersfield must outnumber those of Wakefield, the latter society had upwards of 160 members, many more than the Huddersfield one.[7]

The 1887 annual meeting took place on 3 December 1887 at the Queen Hotel, although none of the officials were named by the Chronicle. It was recorded that the membership stood at 46.[8]

No further meetings were recorded by the Huddersfield Chronicle.

By 1894, the Kirkburton and District Paxton Society had begun regular meetings.

Notes and References

  1. One of many societies named after Joseph Paxton (1803-1865), author of several influence botanical books and designer of the Crystal Palace.
  2. Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (04/Mar/1879).
  3. Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Jul/1879).
  4. Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Dec/1879).
  5. Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (13/Dec/1880).
  6. Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (22/Mar/1882).
  7. Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (15/Dec/1882).
  8. Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Dec/1887).