There is widespread belief that if village life in rural England is to survive it is vital that essential services be maintained eg bus services, local shop, post office, village school, pub etc.
Froggatt, which stands in the romantic sounding Hope Valley at the heart of the Peak District, has never enjoyed many of these features. It is quite a demanding walk to catch a bus, the small village shop run by Mrs MacDonald has long since closed and the nearest post office is over a mile away, as is the local primary school. The Chequers Inn is on the eastern edge of the village and is actually in the parish of Curbar. A public house has nestled beneath Froggatt Edge since at least 1840, but not necessarily on the present site. It is not unreasonable therefore to ask how a village like Froggatt with a population that has never exceeded 200 have come and gone and despite the wishes of some “incomers” for pavements and street lighting the overall character of the village remains unchanged. For this one must thank the planning authorities for although there are a few more houses than at the turn of the 20th century, the village is still serenely peaceful.
In his book on Derbyshire – part of The King’s England series – Arthur Mee said of Froggatt – “It lies on the gentle slope above the Derwent mantled in trees and with gay gardens that are a joy to see, a village so girt with beauty that only those who have time should seek it.” This book was first published in June 1937 so Arthur Mee and/or his researchers must have visited Froggatt at about the tine the Froggatt and District Horticultural Society was being formed with its first show being held in August 1935.
The purpose of this booklet is to provide a commemorative record of the first 50 shows of the Society (allowing for the interruption brought about by the Second World War) and to prove that life in a small rural community can continue to thrive provided its inhabitants pull together and each gives a little of the talents of which everyone has his share.
A thriving and successful village organisation, run entirely by volunteers, can contribute a great deal to the general well being of its residents, providing an example of teamwork, enthusiasm and goodwill. These qualities have undoubtedly helped Froggatt to be a village that is the envy of many and which, it is hoped, will continue to be an oasis of peace, beauty, happiness and tranquillity.
The Society has always been fortunate in the quality of its elected officers and this is most evident as shown in the Committee records and the detailed writing up of the Minute Books over the years.
These records are most interesting to read and have provided much of the material which follows, augmented by three of the earliest members of the Society – Mrs Winnie Fletcher, Mr Clifford Morton and Mr Fred Wragg. They and their families featured prominently in the activities of the Society in its first 50 years. They would, however, be the first to acknowledge that in the important early years the Society was blessed with widespread support from all the villages in the Hope Valley area and this is probably the main reason why the Froggatt Show has continued to flourish when some have struggled and even foundered.
From “Froggatt and Froggatt Horticultural Society 1935 – 1994”, compiled by John E. Agg and Tom Gorst 1994