MONDAY will mark the end of an era when the Northumberland County Show is staged in Corbridge for the last time.
The show, billed as the day the town comes to the country, has been staged annually at Tynedale Park for 30 years, but under its previous guise its connection to the site stretches back more than 60 years.
Today, the event pulls in crowds of around 25,000, but in the 1950s in excess of 40,000 people regularly squeezed on to the site.
That is not possible under modern health and safety rules and the lack of room to expand is the key reason the show is moving along the road to land owned by Lord Allendale next year.
David Carr, now in his last year as show chairman, said: “It’s going be a big wrench for the show to leave Tynedale Park and Corbridge. It’s been the official show residence since before I was involved – it’s like a spiritual home for the show.
“But times have changed and it’s just a shame there isn’t the room to grow where we are.
“The show must go on and the show must go on at Bywell for the foreseeable future where we’ve got a little bit more room to do things and room to breathe.
“We’re looking forward to a bright future at Bywell.”
Crucially, the new site is within walking distance of a railway station, like Tynedale Park is, but it is spread across 105 acres compared to the 70 acres at the rugby ground. Show secretary Gaynor Shotton said: “It’s more space for exhibitors, entertainment and parking.
“We’ll be able to put on new events like show jumping, fly fishing, archery and more entertainment.”
Mrs Shotton provides the voice-over for a DVD that records the show’s history in Corbridge, which will be launched on Monday.
The DVD was put together with film expert Robert Smith of Barrasford, who condensed dozens of hours of viewing into just two.
“We did it so we could encompass the history and archive it in one place,” said Mrs Shotton.
She said that looking back at the footage, 1964 was the standout year.
“William the bull jumped through a hoop of fire,” said Mrs Shotton. “He was saddled and bridled and he jumped through. I want him back as my main arena act!”
Preparing the archive material has made the move “all the more emotional”, she admitted.
“It’s very sad. I think when it’s all over at the end, we’ll all have a lump in our throats, but the whole team are so passionate about the move.
“There has been a show for 175 years in one form or another, so this is a very special year for us.”