Utility poultry breed comes top at last ever Royal Show

After 150 years the Royal Agricultural Society of England has closed the gates to its Royal Show for the last time.

Surprisingly the Royal only moved to Stoneleigh in 1963 and few people are aware that the event was staged in some unlikely urban places such as Manchester and Liverpool.

The Supreme Champion was a utility fowl. An apt decision as the perfect utility fowl has been an ideal championed by RASE since 1840. The judges gave the coveted Royal cup to an impressive New Hampshire Red belonging to Chris Woolley from Burton on Trent. Chris has had a phenomenal year with this breed having won the reserve championships at the last two national club shows.

The condition and presentation of this wonderful bird made it a universally popular choice, as was the decision to give the Reserve Champion to a White Runner belonging to Peter Hayford from Totnes. Peter has always made a huge contribution to the conservation and promotion of waterfowl, particularly the rarer breeds.

It was a red letter day for New Hampshire Reds because one of the Royal’s most important historical trophies has always been awarded specifically to a utility breed. In its final year it went to a large pullet belonging to the Silcox family from Derbyshire who have always been passionate devotees of this breed.

One young exhibitor, Oliver Sharrock, had a splendid day winning the junior championship which meant the honour of receiving his cup from the Duke of Kent.

One of the great stalwarts of the Royal is Peter Heywood from Warwickshire who’s stewarded there for 30 years finishing as its chief steward. Peter has also been president of the Cochin Club for the past 20 years ,but that’s a mere nothing for a man who’s kept poultry for 73 years and Cochins for 50 years.

After such a long association Peter was understandably immensely sad that RASE had lost its Royal show but he enthusiastically pointed out that RASE intend having a flagship, prestigious winter livestock show.

However, it seems unlikely that poultry will feature at this winter event as the proposed dates would clash with a sacrosanct poultry institution, the Poultry Club National.

There was also much discussion as to whether there may be a place for pure breeds at their annual British Pig and Poultry Fair which is held in May. This too seems improbable as most exhibitors are engrossed with their breeding pens at that time of the year.

Therefore it seems more likely that RASE will continue their long illustrious association with poultry by finding them a new home somewhere under their smallholder umbrella.

To see all Mike Corrigan’s pictures from the show, visit our Poultry Winners picture gallery at www.fwi.co.uk/community/photos

Main prizewinners

  • Supreme champion C Woolley New Hampshire Red
  • Reserve P Hayford White Runner

Section champions

  • Large soft feather T&P Jones Orpington
  • Large hard feather D Gardiner Oxford
  • Soft feather bantam (heavy) C Woolley New Hampshire Red
  • Soft feather bantam (light) A Wincott Hamburgh
  • Hard feather bantam K Brown Old English Game
  • True bantam A Floyer Black Pekin
  • Rare breed J Hoyle Yokohama
  • Junior exhibitor O Sharrock Pekin
  • Waterfowl P Hayford White Runner
  • Eggs A Floyer Three brown
  • Trio Fox and Harris Wyandottes

Forthcoming shows

  • 5 August Pembroke (01834 871 252)
  • 5 August Cartmel (01524 733 615)
  • 7 August Bakewell (01629 812 736)
  • 8 August Slaley (01434 673 069)
  • 11 August Anglesey (01407 720 072)
  • 15 August Peebleshire (0871 221 6364)
  • 18 August Pembrokeshire (01437 721 433)

See more