EJ Rudsdale on Twitter from 3 September 2019

The Old English Farm Exhibition at the Royal Show, 1939

Eric Rudsdale was invited by the Royal Agricultural Society to stage a historic farm exhibition at the Royal Show in July 1939. The invitation arose from his success in creating a number of historic farm exhibitions at the Essex Agricultural Shows between 1932 and 1939. Eric's exhibitions were pioneering for their time because he created 'living exhibits' showing the Museum's agricultural collections in a recreated historic farm setting, outside of the Museum itself. Visitors to the Show were encouraged to handle the exhibits and to record their memories of traditional farming techniques for the Museum's records.

Eric was particularly proud of the 'Old English Farm' he created for the Royal Show held in Windsor Great Park in 1939. It opened to considerable acclaim and Eric was interviewed about his work by the agricultural writer, A G Street, for a BBC Radio outside broadcast. Eric also escorted King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret around the exhibition. More information on this can be found in Eric's diary entry for 27th July 1940. The photographs below show the scale of the project and Eric's attention to historic detail.

During the Second World War, Eric's agricultural knowledge led him to become Secretary to the Essex War Agricultural District Committee (Lexden & Winstree). More information on his work for the Committee can be found in his diary entry for 6th January 1941 and in his book.



The exterior of 'The Old English Farm', 1939. Eric can be seen riding his horse 'Bob' on the right.



Interior view of the kitchen, furnished in the style of the 1830s with objects from the collections of Colchester Museums.


View of the Dairy complete with 'dairymaids' who were agricultural students at Reading University.



(All photographs courtesy of Essex Record Office)

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