Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

World Record Gooseberry

Posted on by royvickery |

Gooseberry_Crompton_Sheba_Queen_RHS According to The Times of 27 August 2013, Kelvin Archer, head gardener at Rode Hall, Cheshire, has grown ‘the heaviest gooseberry [Ribes uva-crispa] to be recorded for 300 years’, thus regaining the title of world champion gooseberry grower:
‘Mr Archer’s berry was put on the scales – witnessed by veteran growers and officials from village gooseberry shows in mid Cheshire – it weighed 41 pennyweights 11 grains (2.25 oz or 65 grams) beating the present champion by several pennyweights’.

During the eighteenth century the growing and exhibiting gooseberries was a popular pastime, particularly strong amongst cottage-based handloom weavers in Cheshire, Lancashire and the Midlands. In the 1740s gooseberry clubs were formed in the Manchester area and about a century later 722 varieties of gooseberry were exhibited at over 170 shows, but by the late 1980s only 10 shows remained [J. Smith, Fairs, Feasts and Frolics: Customs and Traditions in Yorkshire, 1989: 109].

Image: Gooseberry ‘Crompton’s Sheba Queen’, drawn by Augusta Innes Withers (1792-1869), published in John Lindley’s Pomological Magazine, vol. 1, 1828.

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