The Game Fair: 60 years in pic­tures

In 1958, 8,500 peo­ple at­tended the in­au­gu­ral Game Fair at Stetch­worth, Cam­bridgeshire, sur­pass­ing the ex­pected 2,000 by a con­sid­er­able mar­gin. As ever, The Field was there – on one of just 30 stands


A timely re­minder from The Field’s archives. Com­piled by Sarah Prat­ley

From that in­aus­pi­cious start in 1958, the Game Fair has grown into the worl­drenowned cel­e­bra­tion of the coun­try­side that it is to­day. The Field is proud to have been present for all of those 60 years, wel­com­ing sport­ing friends, read­ers and new sub­scribers to our stand. (This year, look out for us on stand A14.)

HRH Prince Charles be­came the Fair’s pa­tron in 1976, the first year that it was held in Wales. Num­bers were “up” but the car park “down”, prompt­ing the then Field Ed­i­tor to re­mark, “Ah! But you can get more Welsh­men into a car than English­men.” It was ex­tended to three days in 1979, with at­ten­dance breach­ing 100,000 for the first time. By the Fair’s 25th an­niver­sary in 1982, it cost more to build the loos than it had to put on that ini­tial show. In 1995, The Field hosted its first cock­tail party, which has been held on the Fri­day evening ever since.

Foot-and-mouth dis­ease forced a change of venue in 2001 and heavy rain in 2007 re­sulted in the first can­cel­la­tion. De­spite this, 2008 saw a record at­ten­dance of 150,000-plus for the golden an­niver­sary at Blenheim Palace.

To­day, the Game Fair is the largest out­door coun­try­side-themed event in the world. Last year’s show of­fered a five-mile walk around more than a thou­sand stands. This year’s di­a­mond an­niver­sary event is set to be big­ger than ever.

Far left: The Fieldõs stand at the first CLA Game Fair in 1958, one of fewer than 30 presentLeft: Game­keep­ers meet at the Game­keep­ers’ Club dur­ing that first FairAbove: HRH the Duke of Glouces­ter (left), pa­tron of the Game Fair, in con­ver­sa­tion with Cap­tain Robert Pe­tre, its chair­man in 1959Top row, far left: the Fair was held in Scot­land, at Blair Drum­mond, for the first time in 1964. The sun shone on pro­ceed­ings and the massed pipes and drums of the Argyll & Sutherland High­landers en­ter­tained vis­i­torsLeft: fair­go­ers pe­ruse stalls along Gun­mak­ers’ Row in 1966, at Chatsworth in Der­byshireAbove: HM The Queen vis­its Gun­mak­ers’ Row at Strat­field Saye, Berk­shire, in 1974; with her are Mal­colm Lyell, then man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Hol­land & Hol­land, and the Duke and Duchess of Welling­tonBot­tom row, far left: HRH Prince Charles tries his hand at cast­ing on the lake at Bowood House, near Calne in Wilt­shire, in 1979Left: large crowds in front of the trade stands at Kin­mount, Dum­fries & Gal­loway, in 1978

2001Top, left: The Field stand in 1987. Top, right: HM The Queen at the Fair in 1989 with The Duke of Welling­ton, the Duke of West­min­ster and Richard Van Oss. Above: HRH The Prince of Wales and Field Ed­i­tor Jonathan Young at The Field’s stand in 2001; due to the out­break of foot-and-mouth dis­ease, the Fair was moved to Shut­tle­worth Park in Bed­ford­shire. Right, top: The Field Cock­tail Party in full swing at Blenheim Palace in 2004. Right: and again last year at The Old Palace, Hat­field House, where the French 75 cock­tails flowed



1995 Above: the first Field Cock­tail Party at Hare­wood House; CLA pres­i­dent Hugh Du­berly and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter John Gum­mer are greeted by Ed­i­tor Jonathan Young


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