A guide to trace your ancestors from Lurgan, County Armagh and from the County of Armagh

Lurgan Chrysanthemum Show 1890

Lurgan Chrysanthemum Show.

The Belfast News-Letter,
Friday, November 28,


The annual exhibition of chrysanthemums, or winter flower show, as it may be properly designated, was held yesterday in the Town Hall, Lurgan, and will be continued throughout to-day, and brought to a close this (Friday) evening. This is the third occasion upon which a display of this kind has been held in Lurgan, and it affords us pleasure to be able to state, as we can do in all sincerity, that the exhibition opened yesterday was, both in regard to the number and quality of the exhibits, as well as in some other respects, by far the best that has yet taken place in this rising and thriving town. The competition, except in the amateurs’ and cottagers’ classes, was open to all Ireland, but in the two sections referred to was restricted to persons residing within a radius of seven miles of Lurgan. Encouraged by the undoubted success of the two previous exhibitions, the committee had this year decided upon trying to enhance the interest and usefulness of the undertaking by adding classes for fruit and for vegetables to their schedule; and, while a really magnificent display of home grown fruit, sent by a limited number of exhibitors, was to be seen in the Town Hall yesterday, it was a matter for surprise, as well as regret, that no competitors came forward in the section for vegetables. Speaking of the show as a whole, we have said that it was a very decided success – indeed, the general opinion of competent authorities was that few provincial towns could make such a turn-out – and the appearance of the Lurgan Town Hall, which has been recently renovated and improved in many respects, was exceedingly attractive yesterday, the splendid assortment of cut blooms of almost every hue and variety and the fine collection of plants in pots producing a most pleasing effect, and making one almost forget for the moment that this beautiful flower show was being held in the depth of winter, and at a time when a very keen frost has succeeded to weeks of almost continuous rain.

We may mention that the general appearance of the exhibition was considerably improved by the changed method of “staging” the exhibits adopted this year, three very large groups occupying the centre of the hall, while along the sides were ranged the tables for the cut flowers, interspersed with plants in pots in such manner as to relieve any unpleasant effect that might arise from the flatness of the tables. One of the central features of the show consisted in the very choice groups of chrysanthemums arranged for effect. The first prize in this section was a piece of plate, presented by Messrs. Thomas Beattie & Co., seedsmen, High Street, Belfast, which was carried off by Mr. Francis Watson, J.P., Lakeview, Lurgan, while Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., the worthy president of the society, whose time and whose means are so generously given to advance the interests of the project, secured the second place. For freshness and beauty and general excellence, the blooms shown by Mr. Watson and Mr. Malcolm could hardly be excelled. As in former years, both Mr. Malcolm and Mr. Watson were very successful competitors in various other sections. The former gentleman carried off the premier position for six incurve chrysanthemums of four varieties and a much-coveted distinction – the prize (as silver medal, presented by Messrs. McGredy and Son, Portadown) for the best specimen chrysanthemum in the show, was won by the same gentleman, to whom, also, the second prize in several sections was awarded. It is evident from this that the Lurgan society has a president who is both able and willing to support it in a thoroughly practical manner. Mr. Francis Watson’s success was equally marked. Besides the first prize in section one, he was accorded the highest award for six Japanese chrysanthemums, and the judges gave him first place for the best “table bouquet,” and also for “the best bridal bouquet.” It may be mentioned that in the competition for the “best specimen chrysanthemum in the show” the judges had much difficulty in arriving at a decision, the flower with which Mr. Malcolm secured the prize being of the variety known as “Edwin Molyneux” and we may add that Mr. F. Watson ran the successful competitor very close with specimens of the variety known as “Mrs. John Laing.” Mrs. Torrens, Edenmore, Whiteabbey, deservedly obtained distinction in several classes, winning the silver cup presented by Mr. Malcolm for thirty-six blooms (eighteen incurved and eighteen Japanese) in class eight, and also the first prize in class ten for twelve blooms of any variety, and Mr. John Torrens, Rosetulla, Whiteabbey, was the successful competitor in class nine for twenty-four blooms of any variety, the Marquis of Downshire and Mrs. Malcolm being set down as equal for the second place. Mr. Torrens also obtained second place for twelve blooms (Japanese). The Baroness von Steiglitz once again showed her interest in the operations of the society by sending in several very creditable exhibits.
In the class for amateurs who do not keep a gardener, Mr. W. McGibbon, Lurgan, won the cup presented by Mr. George Greer, J.P., of Woodville, near Lurgan. Mr. A. McClelland, Banbridge, was also a prize winner, as were also Messrs. James Johnston, J.P., and W. J. Allen, Lurgan. The competition in the amateurs’ class is confined to persons residing within a radius of seven miles, but there seems to be a general opinion that the committee would be well advised in extending the area. The Baroness von Steiglitz and Mr. C. G. Nicholson, Cranagael House, Loughgall, sent large and really splendid collections of home-grown apples. The first prize was awarded to Mr. Nicholson. We are pleased to be able to state that there was a large attendance of visitors at the exhibition both in the forenoon and in the evening, and evidently great interest was taken in the proceedings. We must not omit to make reference to the zeal and energy and the trained judgment and tact with which the honorary secretary, Mr. William Allan, Brownlow Gardens, discharged his onerous duties, and it is felt on all hands that the success of this, as of former exhibitions in Lurgan, is very largely due to his exertions.

The following gentlemen officiated as judges : – 

Mr. McKenna, Chief Secretary’s Lodge, Phoenix Park, Dublin;
Mr. Morrison, Narrow-water, Warrenpoint;
Mr. McKimm, Botanic Gardens, Belfast.


In the forenoon the following ladies kindly played pianoforte solos at intervals : – 

Miss A. Clendinning, Mrs. Kirkpatrick,
Miss J. Crawford, Miss Magahan,
Miss Fleming, Miss E. Murphy,
Miss P. Gamble, Miss Malcolm,
Mrs. Livingston, Miss Watson.
Mrs. McClatchey,  


In the evening a band performed a select programme the following assisting : –

W. H, Crawford,                Violin;
W. J. Allen, Violin;
J. Smyth, Violin;
F. McCann, Violoncello;               
A. H. Livock, Piano;
Edgar Haines, Conductor.


The following is a copy of the PRIZE LIST.

 Section I. – Plants In Pots.
Class 1 – Group of chrysanthemums, arranged for effect, space to be occupied not more than 12ft. by 7in. – First prize, piece of plate (presented by Messrs. T. Beattie & Co., seedsmen, High Street, Belfast), with £3 added by the committee.
1. Mr. Francis Watson, J.P., Lakeview, Lurgan (gardener, Samuel Hutchinson);      
2.  Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., J.P., Lurgan, (gardener, James Carson). 
Class 2 – Six incurved chrysanthemums, at least four varieties.
1. Mr. James Malcolm, J.P.;
2. Mr. Francis Watson, J.P. 
Class 3 – Six Japanese, at least four varieties.
1. Mr. Francis Watson, J.P.,
2. Mr. James Malcolm, J.P.
Class 5 – The best specimen chrysanthemum in the show – First prize, silver medal (presented by S. McGredy & Son, Portadown).
1.  Mr. James Malcolm, J.P., 
2 Mr. Francis Watson, J.P.



Amateurs Who Do Not Keep A Garden.
(Confined to a radius of seven miles of Lurgan).
Class 6 – Six chrysanthemums, at least four varieties – First prize, cup (presented by Mr. George Greer, J.P., Woodville, Lurgan), with £1 added by the committee.
1. Mr. Andrew McGibbon, Edward Street, Lurgan;
2. Mr. Robert Hazleton, Lurgan;
3. Mr. James Johnston, J.P., Lurgan. 



Section II. – Cut Flowers.
Class 8 – Thirty-six blooms, eighteen incurved and eighteen Japanese, not less than twenty-four varieties, not more than two of any one variety – First prize, a silver cup (presented by Mr. James Malcolm, D.L., J.P.), with £3 added by the committee. 
1. Mrs. Torrens, Edenmore, Whiteabbey, Belfast (gardener, J. H. Robinson);
2. Mr. F. Watson, J.P.;
3. Baroness von Steiglitz (gardener, John Gilmore).
Class 9 – Twenty-four blooms, not less than eighteen varieties, and not more than two of any one variety – First prize, a silver cup (presented by Mr. F. Watson, J.P.), with £2 added by the committee.
1. Mr. John Torrens, Whiteabbey, Belfast (gardener, Andrew Smiley);
2. (equal), Mr. James Malcolm, J.P., and the Marquis of Downshire;
3. Mr. Andrew Stewart McClelland, Banbridge (gardener, E. Reilly).
Class 10 – Twelve blooms, incurved, not less than eight varieties, and not more than two of any one variety.
1. Mrs. Torrens,
2. Mr. John Torrens,
3. Mr. James Malcolm, J.P.
Class 11 – Twelve blooms, Japanese, at least eight varieties, and not more than two of any one variety.
1. Mr. John Torrens,
2. Mr. F. Watson, J.P.,
3. Mrs. Torrens.
Class 12 – Twelve blooms, Japanese anemone, or large-flowered anemone, not less than six varieties, nor more than two of any one variety.
1. James Malcolm, J.P.; no other exhibitor
Class 14 – The best table bouquet of chrysanthemums, any foliage may be used.
1. Mr. F. Watson, J.P.,
2. Miss Carleton, Portadown (gardener, John Rea);
3. Baroness von Steiglitz.
Class 15 – Bridal bouquet of chrysanthemums, any foliage.
1. Mr. F. Watson, J.P.,
2. Miss Carleton.



Amateurs Who Do Not Keep A Gardener.
(Confined to a radius of seven miles of Lurgan).
Class 16 – Twelve blooms, six incurved, and six Japanese, at least six varieties.
1. W. J. Allen, Lough Road, Lurgan;                              
2. William McGibbon,
3. Robert Hazleton.
Class 17 – Hand bouquet of mixed chrysanthemums.
1. James Johnston, J.P., Lurgan;
2. W. J. Allen.



Section III – Fruits And Vegetables.
Class 19 – Twelve dishes of home-grown apples, at least eight sorts, and not less than six in each dish.
1. C. G. Nicholson, Loughgall (gardener, Joseph Winchester);
2. Baroness von Steiglitz.


At three o’clock p.m. the judges were entertained at dinner in the Brownlow Arms Hotel. Mr. W. Allan, honorary secretary of the society, presided, and Mr. Morrison occupied the vice-chair.
The toasts of “The Queen,” “The Prince and Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family.” and of “The Lord Lieutenant and prosperity to Ireland” were duly honoured.
The CHAIRMAN then gave “The health of the judges,” and remarked that, as far as he knew, the rewards given by these gentlemen to-day had commanded general approval.
Mr. MORRISON briefly responded, and stated that in to-day’s show he and the other judges had observed a very great improvement as compared with former shows in Lurgan.
Mr. McKENNA also acknowledged the toast, and concluded by proposing “To the eternal glory of the golden flower; may the chrysanthemum live and flourish forever.”
Mr. HUGH DICKSON (Belmont) responded, and said that, in this matter of chrysanthemum shows, the town of Lurgan had in a sense given the lead to the city of Belfast. He proposed “The health of the chairman,” which was drunk with enthusiasm.
The CHAIRMAN briefly acknowledged the compliment.
“The health of Mr. C. G. Nicholson,” the winner of the first prize for fruit, was also drunk, and in responding.
Mr. NICHOLSON stated that, if the cultivation of apples was properly attended to in this country they could beat even the Americans, as he himself had already done. He urged the great necessity of fostering the proper cultivation of fruit in Ireland and England.
The proceedings then terminated. We should add that Messrs. A. Dickson & Son, Newtownards; Mr. H. Dickson, Belmont; Mr. J. McDuff, Belfast; Messrs. McGredy & Son, Portadown, exhibited some beautiful wreaths, crosses, and sprays.


This Newspaper Article has been reproduced by the kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive Limited, (

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