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2001 Paul Barlow

1959 - 1999
The Fife and Kinross
Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society
40th Year

The history of Fife and Kinross C&D Society was compiled by Jim Cathcart of Anstruther, Fife. The purpose of this compilation is to give readers an insight into special events and achievements of the Society over the four decades of its' existence.

The Fifties and Sixties ......


The lnaugural Meeting

A meeting of representatives of the horticultural societies in Fife and Kinross was held under the Chairmanship of Dr J M Boyd.

Strathmiglo, Leven, Letham, Cupar, Glenrothes, Dunfermline, Newburgh, Cowdenbeath, Inverkeithing, Springfield and Crossford societies were represented.

Mr P Fordyce proposed, seconded by Mr J Ross, that a society called The Fife and Kinross Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society be formed and that office-bearers be appointed. This was agreed unanimously.

The following office-bearers were appointed for 1959-60.

  • Honorary President-
  • Honorary Vice-President - D B Paterson
  • Chairman - Dr J M Boyd
  • Vice-Chairman - D W Purdie
  • Secretary/Treasurer - A N Brown

Committee :-

  • J McDougal, J Armit, G Fotheringham, P Fordyce,
  • R Aitken, J Morman, H Arnott, D P Lambert, R C Fowler, A Laing, R C Dawson.

Mr J Armit proposed that the first annual show of the Society be held in the Corn Exchange, Cupar on the third week in September 1960, and be of two days duration. This was agreed. The show would be open to Scotland and no classes would be provided for amateurs only.

The Executive Committee were given powers to draw up a constitution of the Society and to prepare and distribute a schedule for the first Annual Show.


  • The first Fife and Kinross Show held in the Corn Exchange, Cupar.
  • Sandy Brown, the Secretary, in his report on the Show noted there were 56 exhibitors staging 329 exhibits. A total of 1610 blooms were on show.

  • Dr J M Boyd, the Chairman, resigned on taking up a new appointment in Renfrew.
  • The Committee unanimously agreed to purchase a trophy to be offered for competition at the Show, to be called The Dr J M Boyd Trophy. (class 38)


Our Chairman, David W Purdie, approached Dr David Russell, Chairman of Tullis Russell Paper Mills, Auchmuty, Markinch, enquiring if he could help the Society in any way. Without delay Dr Russell very kindly offered to donate a trophy. The trophy was specially made and handed over to be competed for in the Chrysanthemum Section and named the Tullis Russell Trophy. (class 23).


The National Chrysanthemum Society Scottish Group Inter Society Championship Classes, held at the Caledonian Society Show, Waverley Market, Edinburgh.

The Society staged exhibits in both the Six Vase and Three Vase Classes. We concentrated on the Three Vase Class and took second place. As this was the first time the Society had shown in these classes, the valuable experience gained would help in future sojourns to the big shows.


At the National Dahlia Society Provincial Show held at Harrogate, the Society were placed second in the Inter Society Competition, the first prize being withheld. The quality of large decorative dahlias at the show were poor and the Society had some justification in questioning the withholding of the trophy as the exhibit was above the standard of the show, apart from two blooms.

The decision to withhold the trophy was reconsidered and the Society's name has the distinction of being the first on the trophy.


Three members, Jack McEwan, Orr Smith and Jim Cathcart went to the National Chrysanthemum Society Show in London, held in the Alexandra Palace and won the Nine Vase Inter Society Class for the Society. Our entry was also judged Best Exhibit in Show and was awarded the Bentley Trophy, the only time this trophy has come North of the border.

The Chairman also thanked the members who staged the exhibits at the Caley Show, Edinburgh, where the Society won first prize for the second year in the Six Vase Inter Society Classes.

Jimmy Miller, St Monans, gifted a trophy to be placed on the Chrysanthemum Championship Class to be known as the J Miller Trophy.

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The Society's Bently Trophy entry at the National Show.
Blooms are: Front row l to r: Ermine, Classic, Tracy Waller, Standard
Back row l to r: Jack Curtis, Margaret Billet, Ethel Edmonds, Harry James and Yellow Ethel Edmonds


The Chairman reported that in a letter from Cupar Town Clerk he confirmed the use of both halls at the Corn Exchange for the Society Show, to be held on Saturday and Sunday, 16th & 17th September.

The charge being 43.00, on the understanding that the halls are required in the evenings only - 14th & 15th September (erection of staging and staging of blooms), and on the condition that the public will not be admitted on Sunday earlier than 12 noon.

(The Show was a great success and has continued on a Saturday and Sunday ever since.)


A letter was read from the Scottish National Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society offering a Six Vase Scottish Championship Dahlia Class for 1968, and it was agreed to accept the Class -trophy and prize money to be provided by them.

Expo 1967 - Toronto

The plaque sent by the Canadian Chrysanthemum Society was shown to the Committee and on a motion by Jack McEwan, seconded by George Forsyth, it was agreed to have it made into a shield. This was for presentation as a trophy for medium chrysanthemums classes, to be known as the Centennial Shield. (class 11)

The Seventies ……..


Chairman Jim Armit raised the question of storage for our equipment and intimated that there was a property on the market in Cupar which would suit us as a store. Bert Fowler suggested that this be left to the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to investigate and to take steps to acquire if considered to be a suitable investment.

The Chairman intimated that further to the resolution passed at the previous meeting regarding the purchase of a store, Cupar Horticultural Society in conjunction with the Fife and Kinross Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society had purchased the property. Cost to be shared equally between both societies.


The Inter Society Classes for Dahlias was discontinued owing to lack of interest and David Paterson (our President) was asked to allocate his cup, the Dunshalt Trophy to another class. (class 33)

In the Dahlia Section Bert Fowler moved that a class for 6 Vases of Mediums be added, seconded by Tom C!eghorn. After discussion into cost, etc, G Montgomery moved the status quo, seconded by  M Edmonston, on a vote, the motion was carried by 6 votes to 5.

Tom Cleghorn offered to donate a cup for this class - to be known as the Westport Trophy (class 31)


The Secretary reported that three new trophies were donated to the Society during the year.

  • The Armit Trophy for Best Exhibit in the Floral Art Classes
  • The Dalgairn Trophy for the Chrysanthemum Section (class 3)
  • The Henderson Shield for competition in the Dahlia Section (class 50)

Seven members made the journey to London (the National Show) and represented the Society in the championship classes (9 Vases of 5 Blooms) where we came second.

In the individual classes, Robert Cathcart, Anstruther won the trophy in the Nine Vase of Five Blooms Medium Class. A very worthwhile effort by those members who made the 900 mile plus journey, with no cost to the Society.


Chairman Armit raised the question of further supply of society badges As no details of cost was known it was suggested that this matter be left over until a further meeting. It was finally agreed that the Chairman and Treasurer should make enquiries and purchase a supply if costs were reasonable.

Chairman Armit reported that in conjunction With Treasurer Cooke, after a check on costs, he had ordered 50 badges for the Society.

Mel Ednie, Anstruther intimated that he wished to donate a trophy to the Society, to be competed for in the Medium Section of the chrysanthemum classes. The Chairman warmly thanked Mr Ednie for his donation to the Society's silverware.

The Medium Trophy placed on Class 12.


December 22nd

Chairman Jim Armit reported to the members present that this Society and various other societies had suffered a great loss owing to the death of Jimmy McGregor, Milnathort, a dedicated committee member and for many years an outstanding chrysanthemum exhibitor. He asked that the members be upstanding for one minute in Jimmy's memory.

August 21st

Thirteen committee members attended the pre-show meeting which was chaired by Vice-Chairman George Forsyth. The Vice-Chairman paid a tribute to our late Chairman, Jim Armit, who died on 24th May. This is enclosed with the minutes and signed by ali members present.


October 11th

The Chairman congratulated the members who were involved in the International Class at the Canadian Chrysanthemum Society Show, held in Toronto in September. The Secretary intimated there had been no official contact from Toronto, but he had been informed by Willie McRoberts from East Kilbride, who had staged our flowers at the Show, that the Fife and Kinross Society entry had won the International Class and also the Best Vase in Show and the Best Individual Bloom in Show. As an interim token of our achievements we had been presented with a stoneware vase. At a later date we would be presented with a silver trophy.

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International Chrysanthemum Conference - Toronto 1977


August 23rd

The Secretary read a letter from the Canadian Chrysanthemum Society in which they apologised for the lack of communication between our two societies and intimated that there was to be a silver trophy awarded to the Fife and Kinross Society as winners of the International Class at their Show, held in Toronto, September 1977. The delay being that the Silversmith who had been commissioned to design and form the trophy had taken ill and sadly died.

The trophy was gifted by gardener/broadcaster John Bradshaw (Canada's Percy Thrower). The trophy, called the John Bradshaw Trophy, was brought over and presented by Scots/Canadian Tom Neilson.

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Winning entry for the John Bradshaw Trophy
Bruera, Bonus, Salmon Tracy Waller


Treasurer Harry Cooke raised the question of funds at our disposal and possibility of the tax man wanting his share. His understanding from a previous tax assessment he had received was that over the 1,000.00 mark and the Society became liable for tax. Our funds at present stood at just over the 1,000.00.

Secretary Orr Smith suggested that this might be a convenient moment to purchase a few more vases, of course purchasing a few more vases would also serve the purpose of lowering the tax threshold. It was !eft to the next meeting to decide once costs were known.

The Secretary intimated that the new vases had arrived as per the sample on the table. The number received was 130, costing 191.00.


Committee member John King, Cowdenbeath intimated to the meeting that as a Hoover representative he had acquired from Hoover sponsorship in the form of appliances:- one Hoover Junior Cleaner, one Electric Kettle and one Toaster - trade value 130.00. In return he would expect some advertising in the Show and schedules. It was decided that the details of which classes would be involved should be left to the schedule meeting.

The difficulty of hall bookings for our Show on 22nd & 23rd September 1979 was discussed. With the Corn Exchange not available, Chairman George Forsyth confirmed he had managed to acquire the Glen Pavilion, Dunfermline at a cost of 100.00 for the five days required.

The Eighties ……


The Chairman suggested that the Constitution be considered regarding any change necessary with a view to including Vegetable Classes in our Show. After much discussion, it was decided that there was nothing in the constitution to prevent this happening.

As preparing a schedule for vegetables was considered outwith our expertise, it was decided to arrange a meeting with Bill Rodger of Crail, Chairman of the Scottish Vegetable Growers, to assist with forming a schedule.

Sponsorship money received to date was now in excess of 300.00, which would leave something in hand for other purposes out with the 280.00 allocated to vegetable classes.

Sinclair McGill (Seed Merchants) had offered to provide sponsorship of 100.00, to be placed on a class of 5 onions.


The Chairman proposed, as 1984 would be our Silver Jubilee year, we should consider making a special effort for this year's show.

As we had been reasonably successful in attracting sponsorship in the past, it was agreed to try again. Various members offered to help and it was decided all offers to be finalised by the May meeting.

We were fortunate to attract eleven sponsors. These were discussed and placed on the appropriate classes.

The suggestion was made at a previous meeting that we purchase special mementos for the four sections of the Show. It was agreed to acquire 3 tankards, one for each section, i.e. Chrysanthemums, Dahlias and Vegetables, plus a Rose Bowl for the Floral Art. These would be for the Best Exhibit in each section.

At our November meeting, the death of Davie Paterson, Dunshelt Nurseries, was sadly announced. Davie was a founder member and our Vice-President elect at our inaugural meeting. He always took great interest in the Society's affairs and was a pleasure to know.


The Secretary read a letter from the Secretary of the National Vegetable Society Scottish Branch enquiring if societies were interested in staging their Championship Classes for 1985. In the full knowledge that 350.00 would be required to stage such classes, the committee decided unanimously to make an application.

A proposal by Mel Ednie that if unsuccessful in obtaining the Scottish Branch Championship Classes, the committee consider having Vegetable Classes on the lines of the 1984 Show with prize money comparable to that offered to the Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Classes, this was agreed.

The National Vegetable Society Scottish Branch Championship Classes were held at our Show and were very successful.


The President and Secretary were asked to check if Anstruther Town Hall was available and suitable to stage our 1989 Show and report back to the next meeting.

The President reported back on the availability of the Town Hall, Anstruther. The Town Hall was suitable and booked for September 1989. Cost approximately 234.00.

The Plant Sale held in Anstruther on the third week in May raised 430.00. The sale was considered a success, but the members were aware that the same could have been sold again if more plants had been available.

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Anstruther Town Hall - the new show venue 1988


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Anstruther fishing boats and harbour

The Nineties …….


Chairman Ednie in his annual report remarked how well the committee members had pulled together. He congratulated Treasurer Barclay on an excellent balance sheet showing an increase of 470.00 over the previous year. The Plant Sale was necessary to raise additional funds and thanks were due to the local members of Anstruther for setting the sale up. Thanks also went to all who had donated plants for sale.

We had an excellent Show in September with well contested classes. The Show really went without a hitch. Teas were served by the local Anstruther Guides who stepped in at the last minute and their help was greatly appreciated. At the end of the Show profit from the teas of 60.00 was given to the Girl Guides with our thanks.


Our Secretary Orr Smith, Cellardyke offered his resignation after 27 years. Orr always put the good of the Society first. His ability as a grower of plants is legendary, also his ability to talk about them. Many growers of chrysanthemums are the better of knowing Orr, especially Spray growers. He was the first grower of sprays to really work on them to produce an exhibition type flower head, and so set a trend.

Our Chairman, in paying tribute to our retiring Secretary, expressed his delight that Orr had accepted the position of Show Secretary where his unique abilities were well suited. Orr and our long serving Treasurer George Barclay, Leslie, are both Honorary Life members of the Society.

Long may they continue.


A letter was read from the organisers of a possible Fife Flower Show to be held in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy on 23rd & 24th August 1997. Vice-Chairman Ednie will attend a meeting on 17th January 1997 and report back to the committee.

A letter dated 14th February 1997 from Fife Council Community Services informed us that the proposed Fife Flower Show would not be feasible due to the timescale involved for 1997.

Following further meetings, Fife and Kinross Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society were informed that the proposed Fife Show would take place in 1998.

A newsletter was circulated to all committee members, headed - 'To Be Part of a Bigger Picture' - and that is how the members saw it. The motion was agreed unanimously to be a part of the Fife Garden Festival 1998.


We made the decision to join in the Fife Garden Festival Show, to be held in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes on 26th & 27th September. This was a good decision. We were involved with a very good Show, held in a most beautiful and suitable venue.

Our Society contributed greatly to the over all quality of the Show, attracting visitors from over a wide area.

Not all went smoothly, there were a few pitfalls but we have had our "Greetin Meeting" with the Show committee and most of the problems will be rectified for this year's Show, to be held on 18th & 19th September 1999, same venue.


This is our 40th year.

The Society decided to mark the occasion by purchasing glasses. These would be personalised to show the Fife & Kinross Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society badge with the years 1959 - 99 above. All exhibitors in the Chrysanthemum, Dahlia and Vegetable classes will receive one.

It was also decided to show the Society's history, set up on a central table with trophies and photographs to highlight the events. We hope you have enjoyed our trip down memory lane.

What of the future?

The Society would be pleased to continue as part of the Fife Garden Festival. There is a need for quality shows such as this where all types of gardening interests can be shown to advantage. With this Show, Fife has an opportunity to do just that.

Long may it continue!

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The dazzling display of trophies, blooms and Society history on display
at the Fife Garden Festival 1999

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Last updated on 26 December, 2001