Adam Henson will be presenting a feature on the life and work of Robert Bakewell on the BBC's Countryfile programme on Sunday May 10th 2015, at 7pm. Members of The New Dishley Society will be involved. Don't miss this!
The New Dishley Society is pleased to support the Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association of the United States in their anniversary celebration at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival at Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, Maryland, on May 2 and 3, 2015. There will be a card grading event, talks, knitting, weaving and felting competitons featuring Leicester Longwool wool. It is the largest such festival in the world. The New Dishley Society has sent a display on Robert Bakewell and his work in support of the Festival, and English breeders will be there too.
The New Dishley Society and Brooksby Melton College are proud to announce that the dedication of the plaque and storyboard to the memory of Robert Bakewell of Dishley Grange, Loughborough, Leicestershire took place on the afternoon of 25th Ocotber 2012. It has been a long-held ambition of the Society to install a proper memorial to Robert Bakewell; to date his only memorial has been his tombstone in Dishley Church. Recently the site of the Unitarian Chapel where he worshipped in Loughborough was commemorated with a blue plaque; other than that, there was no tangible recognition of his pioneering work in livestock breeding. A memorial to him on the Brooksby Campus of the College is most appropriate as Brooksby has been Leicestershire’s agricultural college for many years and continues to develop its links with agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture. The plaque and storyboard are sited at the Bakewell Hall, a residential and teaching block on the Brooksby Campus. We are grateful to Leicestershire County Council’s Museums and Galleries Service who designed and made the storyboard.
Guests and members first gathered for drinks and to inspect the plaque and storyboard. We were honoured by the presence of Jennifer Lady Gretton, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire; Councillor John Illingworth, the Mayor of Melton, County Councillor Pam Posnett and Mr Henry Cator O.B.E., D.L., High Sheriff of Norfolk and President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.
The NDS President, Mrs Pat Stanley, invited Cllr Pam Posnett to dedicate the memorials on behalf of Leicestershire County Council. Mrs Posnett gave an informative overview of Bakewell’s life and work, emphasising the revolutionary nature of it and his significance as a local figure. The group then moved to Brooksby Hall itself where the Society had set up a display on Bakewell and his family in the elegant panelled hall of this seventeenth century building. Mr Cator gave a most thought provoking speech reminding us of the historical significance of farming to the economic success of the country, and the current imperative to revive political support for it. He reminded us of the original aims of the RASE, that farming should have a scientific base. Despite its present difficulties we need to support the organisation as it is the main voice for the agricultural community. Mr Chris Ball, Principal of Brooksby Melton College, then welcomed all our guests to Brooksby on behalf of himself and the Governors, and thanked Mr Cator. He outlined the College’s development and its ambitions, then handed over to Mr Nick Marriott, Brooksby’s farm manager, who entertained us with his recollections of his career at Brooksby.
Formalities over, we indulged in a magnificent afternoon tea prepared by Brooksby’s catering staff. There was plenty of time to chat and make new contacts over tea. Brooksby Church, with its memorials to Admiral Beatty, was open for guests to visit (Brooksby Hall had previously been owned by the Beatty family).
The New Dishley Society would like to record our sincere thanks to the Principal and Governors of Brooksby Melton College, and all their staff who made this historic event possible. Visitors can go to see the memorial, please telephone the College first on 01664-850850 for an appointment. Report to reception on arrival for directions to the plaque.
The magazine Heavy Horse World published an article, The Bakewell Family and the Heavy Horse Trade by Sue Brown and Janet Spavold in the Autumn 2012 edition. It was written is response to an article in the Winter 2011 edition, A Country Fair in 1819, about the trade in the Leicestershire area where the Bakewell family bred heavy horses. Robert himself worked on the breed with his Improved Black Cart Horse, which developed into the Shire horse. Find it on pages 52-3. www.heavyhorseworld.co.uk
Further information is now available about the history of the Speeton Flock of Leicester Longwools which can be traced back to Robert Bakewell himself.
A paper has been published by Janet Spavold on "The Bakewell Family and the Local Unitarian Chapels". More information is available on our Research page.
The New Dishley Society and the Royal Agricultural Society of England are hosting a lecture by Emeritus Professor Ted Collins of the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading, on “The English Ox Since 1800: Resurgence and Demise.” The lecture will be held in the Council Chamber of the Arthur Rank Centre at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on Thursday May 20th 2010 at 7.30p.m.
This year's Royal Show was the last, and the Society was asked to put on an exhibition as part of the event. The exhibition featured Robert Bakewell, his family and his achievements. It also traced the links between early local agricultural shows and the Royal Show.
There was a display in the RASE's fine library, of books about the history of farming and related industries, with guided tours of the library. Models of steam powered farm machinery, and a display of old lead farm animals, should appeal to the memories of many.
On Wednesday 29th October 2008, Charnwood Borough Council unveiled a Blue Plaque to Robert Bakewell in Loughborough. It has been placed on a building in Warners Lane, Loughborough, which is nearest to the site of the Unitarian Chapel, now demolished. Bakewell was a trustee of this chapel. Two photographs are in our Picture Gallery.
The New Dishley Society applauds Charnwood Borough Council's initiative and welcomes this recognition of the significance of Robert Bakewell in agricultural history.