Royal Welsh Show’s 120th anniversary celebrated with historical photographs

A new National Library of Wales exhibition titled ‘Tipyn o Sioe!’ (What a Show!) celebrates the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) and the Royal Welsh Show.


‘Sioe Fawr’, one of Europe’s biggest agricultural shows, takes place in July each year and was originally held in Aberystwyth in 1904. It went to various locations until 1963, when it found a permanent home in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.


Photographs in the exhibition reflect how the show and agriculture have evolved over the decades. The majority of them are the work of two documentary photographers, Geoff Charles and Arvid-Parry-Jones, who have diligently documented the show through engaging and revealing images.


Other photographers appearing are Haydn Denman who has documented his photographic journey along the A470 through Llanelwedd and Bruce Cardwell who has published a recent book containing contemporary images of the show.


Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, library chief executive, said: “The Royal Welsh Show is one of Wales’ most important events, giving our agricultural excellence an international platform.


“Thank you to the society for choosing to announce this year’s show with us and it is our pleasure to curate this exhibition of photographs from our collection which documents the event’s history over the years. We look forward to welcoming people from far and wide to see them.”


Aled Rhys Jones, RWAS chief executive, said: “We have built a very close relationship with the library over the past year and are very grateful to them for preparing this special exhibition which records the development of the show and its contribution to the Welsh countryside.

“Also, having the opportunity to host the official launch of the 2024 show in the library was a historic event, celebrating the birthplace of the show in Aberystwyth back in 1904.”