History of the Village Show
The first village show to be held for over 30 years took place in September 2015. It revived a tradition that dates back to the 1880s when the mining community used the Rectory lawn, mainly to show vegetables. There was also a “Cabbage Club” to see who could grow the largest cabbage! In the inter-war years, the Village Show in West Hallam became an annual event to commemorate the lives of the miners who died fighting for their country in the First World War.
The show ceased during World War II but re-started afterwards. However, the decline of mining made it difficult to re-establish the tradition and shows stopped once again in the 1960s as the pits closed. Further attempts to set up a show in the 1980s met with limited success.
An annual show was revived again in 2015 which attracted over a hundred, very competitive entries in classes covering photography, craft, baking, preserves, knitting, fruit and vegetables, art and floral arrangements with separate classes for children. The judges were impressed by the standards as were the visitors who came in the afternoon to view the exhibits and enjoy a cup of tea!
A raffle, generously supported by local businesses Margi Willis Estates Ltd and the Bottle Kiln, also proved popular. The 2016 show built on this success with the added attraction of a class for growing the largest sunflower head. ‘Best in Show’ awards were introduced for bakery and craft classes. The Newdigate pub and Brew and Bake generously supported the 2016 raffle.
Having established a tradition, the Village Show is now an annual event on the West Hallam calendar.
The Village Show is held in the Village Hall, a Grade 2 listed building, which was built as a school and opened in 1858 with funds endowed by the Rev. John Scargill in 1662. The school closed in the early 1970s and the building was saved from demolition by local people and is run as a community venue by the West Hallam Village Hall Charity.
West Hallam Village
West Hallam village was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 and is situated mid- way between Derby and Nottingham and close to the town of Ilkeston. St. Wilfrid’s Parish Church was originally constructed in 1275 and so the village has a strong historical tradition. In the 19th century, most of the residents (710 were recorded in the 1831 census), were employed in agriculture and some in mining on the nearby Erewash Valley coalfield.
Following a period of modern housebuilding begun in the late 1970s, the village grew rapidly and became a dormitory settlement with most people now employed outside of the village. However, the heart of the community remains the historic centre of the village, illustrated in the photos.