In September 1972, two friends, Jack Lewis and Gil Merrick attended the Great Working of Steam at Blandford and having also visited the Longhedge Collection of Exhibits depicting various aspects of Farming and Rural Life, they decided they would like to do something similar.
After preliminary discussion, an inaugural meeting of six people was held at the Clarence Inn, Westport, Hambridge, Ilminster, Somerset, with the idea of forming a Club.
An advertisement was placed in a local newspaper inviting anyone interested to attend a meeting at the George Hotel, Martock, Somerset. Amongst the few who attended were Tom and Tony Dawe and Brian Hook who were intending to start a Vintage Tractor Club. Tim Morgan was also there. It was decided to form a club catering for all aspects of rural and farming bygones and an inaugural meeting was held at the Railway Hotel, Martock which was they the venue for club meetings for some time.
By December 1972 the club was named and with funds standing at £31, it was agreed to partner the Yeovil Farmers and Yeovil Young Farmers’ Club Ploughing Society at their annual ploughing match (called ‘Ploughing Past and Present’) to the mutual benefit of all concerned. The event, which included a large display of items, collected by the late Henry Fry and other items belonging to club members took place in September 1973 on a member’s farm near Higher Odcombe.
The Committee members agreed to finance the venture out of their own pockets, but in spite of poor weather and a lot of mud, it was a success and admission charges just covered the expenses of putting it on.
The show has been held every year since and known after the first occasion as “Yesterday’s Farming”. It has grown steadily from an event in two small fields to what you see today. Membership has increased to 450 coming from all over parts of the United Kingdom, also Holland, Australia and Canada.
The South Somerset Agricultural Preservation Club meets on the third Monday each month at Long Sutton Village Hall, near Langport, when we enjoy a mixed programme of talks, film shows and the like which are of interest to all who are concerned with the preservation and display of items from previous times.