Title: Royalty at the Horticultural Exhibition

Periodical: Daily Telegraph & Courier

Date: May 8, 1892

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Had Flora herself been invited to select the weather for the inaugural day of the Earl's-court palace of flowers she could hardly have chosen a more agreeable sample of our capricious climate than that in evidence on Saturday. The sun shone, though the air was somewhat keen, the new verdure on tree, lawn, and plant smiled, as yet undefiled by London dust or begrimed by London smoke and fog. Consequently, long before midday, crowds of well-dressed people began to assemble in the exhibition building, in which the band of the Grenadier Guards, under Lieutenant Dan Godfrey, had foregathered, while a guard of honour of the Tower Hamlets Militia was drawn up in front of the main entrance. It was generally supposed that the Duke of Connaught had fixed twelve o'clock for his arrival, but, as a matter of fact, his Royal Highness had named half an hour later. Among those who came together for the opening ceremony and during the afternoon were the Bishop of London and Mrs. Temple, Lord Manvers, Lord and Lady Kilmarnock, Lord Balfour, the Lord Advocate, Lord Ashbourne, Sir Charles Tupper, Baron Henry de Worms, M.P., Lord Rowton, Sir G. Baden-Powell, M.P., the Persian Minister, the American Minister, Lord and Lady Alington, Lord Basing, Lady Ellis, Sir Charles Mills, Admiral Sir John Hay, Mr. E. Spencer, M.P., Lord Kilmorey, Admiral Mayne, M.P., Lord Lonsdale, Lord Cranbrook, Sir Guyer Hunter, M.P., and Lady Hunter, Sir Frederick Milner, M.P., Mr. Hugh Watt, M.P., Mr. J. Staats Forbes, Colonel and Mrs. North, Mr. Malcom Low, M.P., Mr. Cowley Lambert, M.P., Sir E. Braddon, Colonel Nolan, M.P., Mr. Cox, M.P., Mr. H. E. Milner (chairman of the Executive Committee), Mr. H. P. Dodson, Mr. G. A. Loveday, and other members of the Board of Directors. The pleasant surroundings, the music, the gay dresses of the ladies, and their bouquets—for each fair visitor of distinction was presented with a nosegay—seemed to proclaim that not only was the show to be opened, but also the London season, by the brilliant company. Punctually "to the tick" the strains of the National Anthem announced the presence of the Duke of Connaught, who, after submitting to the necessary photographic ceremony, proceeded to the left, and inspected a fine collection of flowers, among which attention was attracted by the splendid giant Malmaison carnations, pink and white, sent by Mr. Leopold Rothschild; by Messrs. Williams's orchids and insectivorous plants; by Mr. Dean's grand auriculas, notably the marone "Duke of Connaught" and the green and white "Duchess of Connaught"; by Messrs. Laing's orchids, begonias, and foliage plants; by Messrs. Turner's azaleas; by Messrs. Low's erica; and Messrs. Ramsey's grand roses. Then progress was made up the light and bright-looking nave, filled with fountains, pictures, glasshouses, and constructions not yet finished, until a daïs was reached, halfway before which stretched a great red and white curtain.

When his Royal Highness had mounted the platform Mr. Milner approached and read an address of welcome, but scarcely had he ended, when there was an unmannerly rush from behind, and those who were privileged to be present were swept away. Primarily, someone in authority, and secondly the police are much to be blamed for the unruly scene. The latter, indeed, absolutely refused to recognise tickets obviously issued by the management to secure reserved places for privileged persons. They stated vaguely that "they had their orders." By whom were these orders issued? Surely every precaution should be taken to prevent mobbing on such occasions, and also to secure accommodation for those specially invited. His Royal Highness, after congratulating Mr. Milner and his colleagues, remarked, "I am sure that this country only requires to see for itself what can be done in the culture of flowers in order to understand what great scope there is, not only for beautifying our cities, our parks, and our homes, but for making money by horticulture. When they realise these aims they assuredly must appreciate the exertions made to erect an international horticultural exhibition such as this and to derive great benefits from its existence."

Then, as the surging and swaying behind him became still more unpleasant, his Royal Highness abruptly closed his remarks by saying that he was glad to see a day of sunshine after so much bad weather, and hoped it augured well for the exhibition which, amid tremendous cheering, he declared to be open. And, so saying, he pulled a cord, the curtain fell to the ground, and disclosed fairyland. For all the rest of the building had been transformed into a beautiful garden by Messrs. Williams, Laing, Cutbush, Holland, Phippen, Waterer, Lee, Lane, Koster (of Holland), and Turner (of Slough). Great palms, tree ferns, variegated maples, tall lilies, parterres of red, white, golden, and pink azaleas, multi-foliaged shrubs, and harmonious borders, which will be constantly renewed, were interspersed with gravelled walks, green sward, and fountains. No wonder that the Duke warmly expressed his admiration at the surprising and tasteful arrangements. If only for this winter garden in summer the "Floweries" will be seen by every one. But outside in the grounds there are many other delightful novelties. Beyond the theatre there is a scenic background, painted by Mr. Halley, and representing the Long Walk at Windsor, looking from the statue to the Castle. The illusion is well-nigh perfect, the long lines of trees in the blue haze, the rides on either side and the Towers of the Palace are blended in admirable perspective; and his Royal Highness was not slow to recognise and acknowledge the merits of the picture. Then there is the Japanese Garden, solely devoted to plants from the land of the Mikado; the Jacobean Garden, with its straight beds, clipped hedges, and polled trees; the Egyptian Garden, where the landscape gardener and the painter come happily together, though the latter should have omitted the prickly pear, a native of Mexico, from his representation of the banks of the Nile in the days of the Pharaohs. Tudor England is hard by Imperial Rome; Tea-growing India by her rival China, the Georgian horticulturist is not forgotten, and as for the Victorian, he is to be found in every available nook and corner, and in a few days, when the rhododendrons shall have broken bud, whether by day or by the light of the myriad coloured lamps, there shall be no fairer pleasaunce at our doors. Moreover, the switchback is in full swing among the Alps; in the Swiss Chalet we may gaze on Daphne, the charming daughter of the river gods; and in the Panorama House is a wonderous and ingenious floral maze, called the "Crys-Dœ-Con," wherein the visitor may find himself multiplied a hundred times, and is just as sorely bewildered by the countless mirrors as he would be in the intricate twists and turnings at Hampton Court. Before he left the Duke of Connaught expressed his great satisfaction and his belief in the success of the undertaking. Although the Duke was unable to stay for the inaugural luncheon, given in the magnificent French saloon, a great company of guests responded to the invitation of the chairman, Mr. Milner, who sat down with the Bishop of London on his right and Lord Manvers on his left. After the good things had been discussed and the Queen loyally toasted.

The BISHOP proposed, in most happy terms, "Prosperity to the Exhibition." He said there could have been no more successful opening. A walk through the grounds proved that everything had been done with the greatest care and skill. It would have been difficult to arrange an exhibition of the sort which would give a larger amount of pleasure to a larger number of people. This exhibition was started in the hope that it would be an encouragement, not only to all lovers of flowers and to all who loved them so much as to give a good deal of time and trouble to their cultivation, but the appeal which was made to flower growers everywhere was very gladly and largely responded to, and the many flowers they had seen in the exhibition had been given by the growers in order to grace the opening day. It was twenty-six years since such an exhibition of this kind was held in South Kensington, and anyone who was present then and could compare it with what was to be seen now would be able to judge of the improvement which had been made in the cultivation of flowers in the interval. The promoters of the exhibition desired, if possible, that the same improvement might be still further improved, and most assuredly they were doing a very great service to humanity in promoting their beautiful art. He asked them to join in wishing prosperity to the International Horticultural Exhibition.

Loud cheers greeted the conclusion of Dr. Temple's eloquent address, which was frequently interrupted by applause. Mr. H. E. Milner responded, and coucluded with a belief that this was the first of a new era in exhibitions.

Most of the company then went over the bridge to the arena devoted, as in the Jubilee Year, to Buffalo Bill and his world-famed Wild West. The vast amphitheatre was literally packed with spectators, and the show went well from the very beginning. Hearty shouts of welcome were given to the Grand Processional Review, with its Indians, cowboys, Mexican vacqueros, scouts, and frontier amazons; to the American soldier, with the Stars and Stripes, and to the British lancer (an innovation) with a somewhat peculiar Union Jack, and to Colonel W. F. Cody, the renowned Buffalo Bill himself, as he cantered up on his well-remembered white steed and gracefully doffed his broad sombrero in response to the thundering salutations. The bright and moving incidents of the programme have lost none of their freshness, and the new panorama is better than before. The horse races, the attacks by the redskins on an emigrant train, on the Deadwood Coach, and on a settler's cabin, the pony express, and the buffalo hunt are just as exciting as ever; clever Miss Annie Oakley and Mr. Johnny Baker are watched with breathless interest as they knock glass balls and clay pigeons to "smithereens" with their rifles in all sorts of positions; Colonel Cody's sharpshooting on horseback brings forth vigorous plaudits, and Captain Jack Burtz's lightning drill makes one marvel whether his arms be not made of gutta-percha. But for popularity nothing comes up to "Cowboy Fun." Though the picking of handkerchiefs off the ground and the lassoing of "wild" horses causes great appreciation, it is the "buckjumping" which causes the sightseers to shout and clap their hands and laugh as only English men, women, and children can laugh. There is not a dull countenance to be seen throughout the immense throng. Londoners make the most appreciative and most thankful audience in the world; but they want good goods, and when they get them they know it, and are wholly grateful. "I guess," remarked one of the American Wild Westers to a promoter of the "Floweries" as they clinked glasses on a cocktail, "I guess that we've caught on together, and I calculate we shall hold on together." "Not a doubt of it," answered the Britisher, "and we deserve our success." And so will say all those who wander for the next six months through the flowery land and the rough prairie, which are now so happily united in the region roundabout the bricks and mortar of Earl's-court. At night the gardens were beautifully illuminated with variegated lamps, and the building and grounds, together with the Wild West show, were brilliantly lighted up with a very extensive installation from the works of the Brush Electric Light Company, under the direction of Mr. Wood.

Title: Royalty at the Horticultural Exhibition

Periodical: Daily Telegraph & Courier

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.03.01 (1892 London)

Date: May 8, 1892

Topic: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: Band of the Grenadier Guards (Great Britain) Bands (Music) Cocktails Cowboys Electric lighting England. Parliament Exhibitions Flags--Great Britain Flags--United States Flora Horse racing Horses Indians of North America Lancers Lasso Mexicans Music Photographs Pony express Prairies Scouts (Reconnaissance) Scrapbooks Shooting Stagecoaches Targets (Shooting) Traveling exhibitions Windsor Castle

People: Arthur, Prince, Duke of Connaught, 1850-1942 Baker, Lewis H., 1869-1931 Godfrey, Dan. (Daniel), 1831-1903 Oakley, Annie, 1860-1926 Temple, Frederick, 1821-1902

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) London (England) South Kensington (London, England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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