End of an era as the Largs agricultural society ceases after 150 years

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

The decision to terminate the Largs Agricultural Society was made by committee members this week.

It marks the end of the popular annual spectacle at Ardgowan Policies, which locally dates back to 1842.

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

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

“Our committee was down to ten 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 a decision and quit.”

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

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

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

“We moved the show to Ardgowan Policies from a plot of Skelmorlie Castle in the 1970s on my first round as President 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, most notably the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in the early 2000s. The rules and regulations governing current exposures are much stricter these days, while insurance has also grown. more expensive.

“It just wasn’t practical anymore.”

John, whose family has been involved in farming for many generations, added: “Before there was a lot of fundraising in the area for us, but they just disappeared.

“We had 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.”

The sheepdog trials look set to continue with a select group who have run the annual show and are committed to keeping it alive.

The agricultural fair is believed to have existed in the district as early as 1842 when the first Largs horticultural fair was held, in conjunction with the already existing agricultural fair to organize a common event in the town.

Amalia H. Mercado