Our History

1793 – The Essex Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture & Industry came into existence.

The county was divided into 8 districts, and they held annual meetings each September in the Shire House in Chelmsford. There were awards for best two-year old boar and ram, best ploughmen, and awards for “male servants in husbandry who shall have been employed the longest in service with the best character.”

11th July 1856 – The Royal Agricultural Exhibition was held in Chelmsford after an invitation from a group of Essex farmers. The local people has raised £3,000 to run the exhibition, and there was a £540 profit.

22nd January 1858 – The Essex Agricultural Society came into existence at meeting held in the Shire Hall in Chelmsford, and after meeting to decide how the £540 profit should be spent.

£200 would go to provide a pedestal for the Sepastopol gun which had been captured in the Crimean War and presented to the Town of Chelmsford. It can still be seen in Oaklands Park today.

It was decided that the remaining money would be devoted to the advancement of agriculture, a committee of 19 members with the “power to add to their numbers” would be appointed to carry out this objective.

26th February 1858 – The committee which had grown from 19 members to 60 landowners and farmers from around Essex, met to adopt the Society Rules, which included the requirement for half of the committee to come from the North Essex and half from South Essex. They also had 465 subscribers paying to be enrolled in the organisation.

15th June 1858 – The first Essex Agricultural Society Show was held in Chelmsford, and after this, the show moved around the county every year.

1890 – The first royal visitor to the Show was recorded as The Prince of Wales.

1912 – The society elected its first lady president – Mrs David McIntosh.

1958 – After 100 years since the first show the decision was made to have a permeant showground site, and the society brought 158 acres of land in Gt Leighs.