Potted History

            The society was founded on the 10th of September 1969,the result of an article in the Birmingham Mail when Ron Winkley asked if anyone was interested in growing fuchsias to attend a meeting at ‘ The Old Crown ‘ in Digbeth.Over 80 people found the time to go to this meeting and 69 of them became members of the Birmingham & District Fuchsia society. Amongst the founder members were :Ron Winkley,Les Duce,Bill Gilbert,Charles Evanson,Elaine Dore,Joan Morris,Maureen Baxter,Mrs D.Jeffs,Miss P.Prescott,John Gillies,Reg Roberts.

             The first meetings were held at the Old Crown and the first speaker was Jim Travis then a move was made to St Thomas’s school in Great Colmore street.The first officers of the society were President ..Peter Pashley,Vice Presidents..Stan Cash and Jim Travis,Chairman..Ron Winkley,Vice Chairman. .Mrs D.Clay,Treasurer..John Gillies,Secretary..Maureen Baxter.Committee members were Elaine Dore,Mrs P.Prescott,Mrs D.Jeffs,J.Hewitt,H.G.Snow,R.Roberts,J.Saucer and  J Wright.The first show was held on the 8th of August 1970 and the schedule had 8 classes,13 members shared the honours.Ron Winkley was a BFS member and in 1971 became the BFS Midland Rep,in 1972 this resulted in the BFS Midland show being hosted at Newman College,Bartley Green by the BDFS and this continued for a further 5 years.

            The BFS annual for 1973 carried a photograph of Bill Gilbert with his standard of Barbara which had won best in show at the Midland,a double celebration for Bill that year as he won best in show at our own show with a superb plant of Countess of Aberdeen.The membership grew steadily through the seventies and in 1976 there were 263 members.In 1976 Ron Winkley had to spend some time in hospital and Les Duce took over most of the work of the show that year becoming BFS rep in 1977.In 1978 the BDFS show and the BFS Midland show returned to our original venue at St Thomas’s school,our meeting were held at St Thomas’s school right through the seventies until 1982 when the venue was moved to Davenports social club in Grenville street until 1986,then a year at the Barton Arms in Aston,later there was one further move to Parkinson Cowan club in Stechford before we finally settled in our present location of Maitland Hall.

          Our shows started off at Newmans College then on to St Thomas’s school until 1982,we then moved to Kings Heath parish church 1983-1988 and then on to The Birmingham Botanical Gardens 1989-1994,for the 1995 show we moved to Swanshurst school then in 2011 we moved to Marston Green Parish hall where we are at the moment..We have had 14 Presidents:-Peter Pashley,Ron Winkley,Wilf Tolley,Charles  Evanson,Ray Moore,Brian Gardner,Brian Haynes,Bill Gilbert,George Jones,John Boulter,Arthur Davis,John Hewitt,Barry Knott ,Ken Herbert and our present president Ivor Stansfield.We have had 10 Chairmen:-Ron Winkley[1],Reg Roberts[4],Ray Moore[5],Harold Flint[4],Brian Gardner[5],Brian Haynes[3],John Boulter[2],Jack Siverns[1],John Fenn[1] and our present chairman John Delaney[20].

              We have had 5 Secretaries:-Maureen Baxter[1],Joan Morris[13],Ann Salisbury-Jones[4],Susan Edwards[8],Tom Herbert[11] and at present no permanent person the duties being shared by John Henshaw and Barry Knott.There have been 6 Show Secretaries:-Elaine Dore[11],Stan Colls[9],John Morbey [5],Susan Edwards[3],Nigel Southall[3] and John Henshaw[15].And finally there have been 8 Treasurers:-John Gillies[3],Brian Treble[7],John Ridding[1],Clinton Davies[1],Wilf Smith[1],Will Rogers[1],Walter Aspey[1] and Barry Knott[29].Like most specialised societies over the years our numbers have dwindled from the heady days of the seventies and the nineties to today with more things to do with our time,but although our numbers have decreased I think the society is still in a relatively strong position and doing better than some that have had to be disbanded through lack of support,hopefully the society will continue until at least our 50th which would be an achievement.[ Numbers in brackets indicate years of service ]

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