The photographs reproduced here are from the treasures that were passed onto me by Mr. Malcolm Milner, son of the late Harry Milner.
The two nursery photographs pre-date 1914 and show a young Harry Milner tending his viola beds at the nursery, then to be found in Handsworth. The identity of the gentleman in the bowler is unknown, as is that of the spectators at the gate; dressed in' Sunday Best ' perhaps.
The larger of the two display photographs is from the Society's first ever Show in 1914 and shows Harry Milners' winning exhibit in the Championship Class. This called for 12 vases of blooms, each vase a distinct cultivar. The trophy was eventually won outright, and now takes pride of place in the Milner home in Highley, as does the trophy which was donated to replace it.
The smaller shows one of the early professional displays. These grew in size and quality each year and were testimony to patience and good cultivation.
As a postscript, I have used some of the staging equipment to mount a small display at a National Trust venue. It took Pat Tipping and myself a good two hours and many blooms to complete only a third of Harry Milners' original 10 feet by 4 feet display.
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