BANISTER Court Stadium featured heavily on the social calendars of many Sotonians in the early 20th century - The Show of the Year being being one of those events..

The first event took place on August 28, 1952, and was the first time the green turf had been rocked by the thunderous hooves of horses - some of which were part of the Olympic team.

The three day event, staged by Southampton and Western Counties Agricultural Society had more than 1,000 entries from all parts of England and even one from New York.

When the official opening ceremony was performed by the mayor of Southampton, Alderman E Burrow.

The mayor said: “There is a hope - a well founded hope, I believe - that this may prove to be an annual show, and it has been a laudable desire on the part of the organisers and committee to help local charities.

“I sincerely hope that the last function will have been fully realised by the time the end of the show arrives.

“As president, I wish to speak on behalf of those who have been working for the show and express our grateful feelings to those who have given generous support.

“May the citizens of Southampton prove worthy of all the work which has been put into organising this programme, and may they show the worthiness by attending in large numbers. I hope this show may be the first of many.”

During the first afternoon Hursley Hunt Hounds paraded round the stadium under the guidance of huntsman Jack Bailey. This was followed by a parade of all the hunter horses which had taken part in the morning’s events.

About 30 members of the Craven Hunt Pony Club carried out a ride to music which involved a series of movements that were artistically and gracefully carried out.

This was followed by the harness classes - a symmetry in movement which brought forth well deserved applause from the spectators who thronged the stands.

The first day was capped off with a colourful display of fireworks which lit the Stadium with multi coloured flashes.

Other events in the days that followed included the children’s jumping classes, a coach parade, women’s international jumping, Arab horses and the hackney championship.

There was also a horseman’s ball at the Balmer Hotel on the second of the three evenings.

Throughout the weekend the Southampton Police Band entertained the masses with a wide range of music.