Upholding the 19th-century tradition of finding the heaviest gooseberry has always been of utmost priority at Egton Bridge in North Yorkshire. Now into its third century, entrants to this competition at Egton Manor are as enthusiastic as ever.
Gardeners enter their biggest gooseberries into one of four classes: red gooseberries, yellow ones, greens and white ones. The heaviest gooseberry is determined by an apothecary scale, measured in drams and grains. Past record winners have weighed in at 33 drams – that’s the size of a golf ball but in 2019 a new record was set at 36 drams, 12 grains.
Only members of Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society can enter berries into the competition and subscriptions must be paid by the first Tuesday after Easter in order to enter that year’s show. Membership of the society costs just £5 per year and if you would like to join please contact the Secretary at:
In 2021 a writer and a photographer, both from the area originally attended the show and produced an article capturing the spirit and nature of the show wonderfully. Featuring black and white photographs of the show that were shot on film, this piece looks at the personal and communal fascination behind growing gooseberries: the time and dedication that it takes to compete at this level of fruit-growing, the communities that have grown around it, and the heritage and history that is present in each of these delicate fruits.
Photography is by George Hutton. After growing up here in the Esk Valley, George attended the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and graduated with a degree in Fashion communication and Promotion . Having produced collections that profile the landscape and people of the Whitby area, he is now a professional photographer living and working in London. You can find more of his work here.
Words are by Cameron Hill. Cameron grew up in Grosmont, just downriver of where the show is currently held in Egton Bridge, before studying English Literature at the University of Cambridge and subsequently completing a post-graduate research degree at the University of York. A recent recipient of The White Pube’s Writers Grant for emerging, working-class authors, he is now a freelance writer living in Argentina. You can find more of his work by clicking here (and scrolling down a little bit).
You can read the article on George’s website by following this link:
Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show