The history of Liverpool Agricultural Discussion Society by Henry Glover

Notes on the history of the L.A.D.S.
by Henry Glover

The Early Days. 1928 - 1940

1st Meeting
The foundations for L.A.D.S. - Liverpool Agricultural Discussion Society - (Originally known as Liverpool and District Junior Farmers Club) are laid at a meeting at 30 Great Homer street in Liverpool on 20th February 1928 at 7.30pm. The motion, "That a young farmers club be formed" was agreed.

Present at this first meeting and subsequently always referred to as our founder members, were 15 young farmers:-

Mr R. Critchley (President of the Senior Farmers Club) chaired the meeting and stated that there were already a number of young farmers clubs in England but non in Wales! Such clubs could be useful in many ways especially with regard to public speaking which was not a gift possessed by everybody.

The social side was also very important. He stated that the prime mover in forming a club for the young farmers was Mr Frank Jones. He concluded his remarks by giving the following advice for a successful life in farming:

  1. Save money and don't spend needlessly!
  2. Work, and work hard. Hard work was the lot of the farmer!
  3. Don't go to market if you have nothing to sell!
  4. Do not go to the sales if you don't want to buy!
  5. Keep on working!

It was then proposed by C.H. Pennington and seconded by J.K. Ledson "That a young farmers club be formed". Agreed. Each member present then guaranteed the sum of One Shilling (5p) towards club expenses and Mr R. Critchley presented the temporary secretary (C.H. Pennington with £1 by way of a start towards the expenses.

2nd Meeting
Held at 30 Great Homer Street Liverpool 14th March 1928 "The Club Formally Established"

Present: 24 young farmers - J. Silcock, W. Williams, B.E. Edwards, M. Edwards, J.K. Ledson, G.H. Ledson, F. Wright, W. Wright, G. Booth, H.R. Glover, J. Roberts, J.H. Rimmer, W.R. Rimmer, F. Evans, J. Garnett, H. Harrison, C.H. Pennington, W. Porter, C.H. Hodgekinson, C. Hulme, T.L. Critchley, J. Peacop, H. Williams and W.F. McIndoe.

Chairman - C.H. Pennington
Vice Chairman - W.R. Rimmer
Hon Secretary - J. Peacop
Hon Treasurer - W.F. McIndoe
Committee - J. Silcock, B. Edwards, G. Booth, J. Mercer, H.R. Glover, J. Roberts, T.L. Critchley, C.H. Hodgekinson, J.H. Rimmer, J. Garnett.
Hon Auditors - J.K. Ledson and C.H. Hodgekinson

Subscriptions - To be Four Shillings per annum (20p)
Title - The club to be called "The Liverpool & District Junior Farmers Club"
Objects of Club - These to be of a purely educational and social character. Social objectives to be dances, whist drives, excursions, sports etc.
Membership - Members to be men directly and actively engaged in the pursuit of agriculture.
Meetings - Committee meetings to be held monthly and to take place half an hour before ordinary meetings.
AGM - To take place the 1st week in January each year.
Meetings to be held at the Wedgewood Cafe, Hackins Hey, Liverpool who had quoted a fee of 7/6d for 2 Hours.

All of the above along with other finer details were proposed and seconded. Thus the new club "The Liverpool & District Junior Farmers Club" was formally established.

Unlike our present day meetings which consist of a full meal followed by a speaker, it would seem highly unlikely that refreshments other than perhaps drinks could have been consumed in the two hour meetings at the Wedgewood. Also, whilst present day committee meetings are convened on different evenings, it appears that the first half hour of the Wedgewood nights were given over to this purpose. It seems that later committee meetings were convened at members farms; this presumably gave more time for speakers, discussion and refreshment.

Serious discussions and light hearted camaraderie went hand in hand (as it still does to this day!). For instance, at the first general meeting of the Society on 4/4/1928, Mr Frank Jones spoke on the N.F.U. organisation, stressing its work, value and necessity to the farming industry. He then gave some excellent advice to all present via a motto which he said he had tried to live up to all his life:- "In all you do be a man about it and remember your mother was a woman".

Musical items were given by three members and the evening closed with the singing of "God Save The King"

Dances were held twice per year at various venues but mostly at Knowsley Village Hall. Other venues mentioned were Hollyoak Hall and the Carlton Rooms in Eberle Street, Liverpool. At the Carlton Rooms an area was reserved for members wishing to play whist.

Dances became such an important event that in October 1930 a dedicated Dance Committee was formed comprising Messrs Pennington, Rimmer and Glover with Mr Frank Evans as Secretary. This proved a success, the first dance on October 31st at Hollyoak Hall showing a profit of £2:6s:6d. The dance committee was congratulated on this as the previous dance in February (before the committee took control) was a financial failure having shown a loss of £2:6s:4d. The most successful was a dance held at The Bears Paw restaurant in November 1932.

'Hat Nights' were popular events. Members were required to pick subjects for debate from the hat and, in groups of two, propose and oppose the motion. At a 'Hat Night' on the 2nd November 1932, amongst the subjects for debate were:

Aside from such events, the main purpose of the club was to further agricultural knowledge. Serious lectures and educational trips were the norm.

Meetings continued to be held at the Wedgewood Cafe until February 1931 after which the Grenville Cafe, 15 Tithebarn Street, Liverpool became the venue.

The first challenge to the title of the club came during a visit to the County Council farm at Hutton, Nr Preston. The group of 23 were met by the Secretary of Agriculture Mr Green who thought the name could mislead people to think it consisted of boys and girls of fourteen years and older. An impromptu meeting was convened and it was proposed, seconded and carried that the title of the club should remain unchanged.

Society changes its name10 Years On & 10 Years Older
The Society is renamed "The Liverpool Agricultural Discussion Society" (L.A.D.S.)

March 3rd 1937 - Meeting at the Grenville Cafe
Among other items on the agenda was a suggested change to the name of the club. Proposed by Mr J.K. Ledson and seconded by Mr H.R. Glover that this question be discussed at an extra-ordinary general meeting which should precede the AGM.

April 7th 1937
Extra-ordinary General Meeting with 21 members present and Mr W.F. McIndoe in the Chair.

It has been suggested that the name of the club should be changed to "The Liverpool and District Agricultural Discussion Society. It was proposed by J.K. Ledson and seconded by J.T. Critchley (with slight amendment) that the title be changed to "The Liverpool Agricultural Discussion Society (L.A.D.S.). The motion was carried unanimously and the change was subsequently reported in both the 'Preston Guardian' and the 'Ormskirk Advertiser'.

March 31st 1938
Report by Hon Secretary and Treasurer Mr Charles H. Pennington.

A successful lecture season with good attendances.

October, J.H. Thompson BSc, subject Basic Slag, attendance 30
November, Mr Fearnside, subject Cattle Feeding, attendance 25
December, Hat Night, attendance 17
January, Debate, attendance 14
February, Mr H.T. Mathews, subject Livestock Scheme, attendance 41
March, Mr Blissett, subject Pig Production, attendance 30

The summer outing to London with an evening around the town, staying at the Imperial and then to Rothamstead Experimental Farm the day after unfortunately sustained a loss of £10:11s:6d as only 15 members booked against a budgeted 25.

The Autumn Dance was highly successful with 150 tickets sold out. Profit £1:6s:1d

The Spring Dance was even more successful showing a profit of £1:11s:6d

During the year the society attained its 10th birthday. Charles Pennington noted that of the 15 founder members, 9 of these were still taking an active part in the affairs of the society; namely Messrs G. Booth, B. Edwards, H.R. Glover, H. Harrison, J.K. Ledson, G.H. Ledson, C.H. Pennington, W.R. Rimmer and H. Scotson.

Postscript: It may be of interest that as of spring 2015 we have 7 active members who are directly related to founder members: 1 nephew of a founder, 4 sons of founders and 2 grandsons of founders.

The society continued to be active until the outbreak of war when other more important world events took precedence. There was however an AGM held at the Derby Arms, Halewood on February 11th 1942 with 21 members attending.

A dance was held at Knowsley Village Hall on February 27th 1942 in aid of the Red Cross Agriculture Fund. A sum of £165 was handed to the Liverpool branch of the NFU towards their fundraising effort for this fund.

All other activities of the society were abandoned on account of the blackout, petrol restrictions and other causes of war.


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