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. Bakewell Exhibitions for the bicentenary were arranged at Leicestershire County Show, The Royal Show and Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire. Leicester Museum was also the venue for a major exhibition.
A new book, Robert Bakewell and the Longhorn Breed of Cattle by Pat Stanley, the Society’s founding secretary, was published in 1995 to mark the bicentenary. It can be purchased through the Society at £15 plus post and packing.
In January 2000 the Society did a display at Melton Mowbray Farmers’ Market on the occasion of a visit by HRH Prince Charles.
Later in 2000 a portrait exhibition was held at the Royal Show at Stoneleigh, with four of the five known portraits of Bakewell on display. The Royal Agricultural Society of England generously allowed us to use its Library and draw on its comprehensive collection of agricultural books and prints to provide background material on the period. Nottingham University Library kindly loaned Bakewell’s original Dishley Society rulebook.
In 2003 a month-long exhibition in Charnwood Museum, Loughborough, Leicestershire, looked at the work of Bakewell and his contemporaries such as the Collings brothers in improving animal breeding. It also showed the extensive domestic uses of byproducts such as wool, leathers, horn for buttons, bone for glue and fertilisers and tallow for grease and candles.
The Society funded the restoration of two paintings, one a portrait of Bakewell himself and the other of his Improved Black Cart Horse, in 2004/5 for an institutional owner. Photographs can be seen in the picture gallery.