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