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The Showground at Detling

The last Kent County Show at Mote Park in Maidstone marked an important change for the Kent County Agricultural Society. It had been a monumental task to build the Shows at the site on the outskirts of Maidstone, with a 14-week build time and a small army of Committee members. However, the task ahead, to turn the grazing land at Murrain Place into a workable Showground, would be a labour of love, with little rest or time to reflect on decisions.

Lord Cornwallis, whose father had been involved in the formation of the Society in 1923, suggested this would be an admirable legacy for all who had ever been involved with the Society, and felt proud and privileged to have been part of this current venture. Leading the changes was Chairman George Stevens who, together with a small team of experts, set about planning the grounds.

HRH Princess Alexandra and The Hon. Mrs Ogilvy declared the new Showground open on Wednesday 15 July 1964 at a ceremony where the prayer of dedication was given by the Right Reverend Bishop of Maidstone. The unusual layout of the two large rings proved popular, as they provided a continuous programme in both throughout the Show, while the concentration of agricultural machinery stands along each side of the main approach made an ideal introduction for visitors to the Ground.

The 1971 two-day Show was held for the first time on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 July, and while attendance figures were up on previous years, there was a decline in the large agricultural machinery exhibitors.   The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas put on an impressive display in the South Ring while in the North Ring, a flight of model aircraft with explosions caused some problems for the horse classes. The Food Fair was introduced in 1971, which proved extremely popular with a different public audience at last able to attend on the Saturday.

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