The New Dishley Society exists to promote the memory of Robert Bakewell of Dishley Grange (1725-1795), and of his contemporaries and students of his methods. It aims to disseminate knowledge of his work and appreciation of his pioneering legacy in the breeding of improved farm livestock and better crop management. It supports research into the revolutionary agricultural techniques of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and into the men who developed these techniques.
Robert Bakewell is acknowledged around the world as the man who was the main pioneer in the breeding of improved farm livestock. He has been described as “the most original” of all the great agricultural pioneers of the eighteenth century; his work enabled the growing population of the Industrial Revolution to be fed. He also stands as the most important of Leicestershire’s historic figures.
The New Dishley Society was formed in 1994 by a few interested individuals, mostly from Leicestershire, who were keen to see Bakewell’s bicentenary recognised in 1995. An exhibition was arranged at Leicester Museum for the bicentenary; it later moved to Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire. The Royal Show was the venue for a major exhibition in 2000. The Society regularly holds displays at agricultural shows and similar venues. A new book, Robert Bakewell and the Longhorn Breed of Cattle, by Pat Stanley, the Society’s founding secretary, was published in 1995. The 2003 exhibition at Charnwood Museum was our third exhibition. In 2004/5 the Society funded the restoration of two paintings, of Bakewell and of his Improved Black Cart Horse.
Our membership currently extends from Devon to Scotland. We organise occasional talks and visits each year for members on topics related to the work of Bakewell and his period, and for ten years the Annual Bakewell Lecture was a prestigious established event to which the wider public was invited. Members give talks on Bakewell to interested groups. We attend the local agricultural shows where possible to disseminate information, and issue one or two newsletters a year. We have recently begun a policy of donating copies of Pat Stanley’s book to academic and other libraries. Our main activity currently is the research project, searching local newspapers for information on cattle sales during and after Bakewell’s lifetime.
To obtain copies of either of our publications please contact the Secretary - email