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The Forgotten Fruit

Ribes uva-crispa, better known as the Gooseberry, recipient of hours of devotion

Egton Bridge, eight miles from Whitby in the North York Moors National Park, is the setting for the oldest surviving gooseberry show in the country, established in 1800.  The show is held on the first Tuesday in August each year by the Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society.


The 2009 show was truly a record breaking event.  Champion grower Bryan Nellist took the R. Harland Challenge Cup with, at the time, a record breaking berry.  Coming in at exactly 35 drams (2.19 oz. or 62.0 grams) the Woodpecker berry was the heaviest ever shown in the United Kingdom, beating Kelvin Archer’s previous record by just over 2 grains or 0.1 grams.  It was recognised as an official World Record.  Bryan’s success received widespread coverage in the local and national press.  The Whitby Gazette hailed it as “Bryan’s berry best in world” (follow this link to see the full article, reproduced by kind permission of Whitby Gazette). 

The Middlesbrough Evening Gazette proclaimed “Bryan smashes fruity record” (follow this link to see the full article, reproduced by kind permission of the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette).

Kelvin Archer has subsequently reclaimed the World record but Bryan’s berry remains the heaviest ever entered into competition.

Bryan Nellist with his record breaking berry

©Middlesbrough Evening Gazette 2009

Copyright © Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society.  All rights reserved

Egton Bridge

Gooseberry Show

The 2016 show saw some excellent entries, but no new records.  Graeme Watson retained the R. Harland Challenge Cup with a yellow Montrose berry weighing 26 drams, 16 grains (1.66 oz. or 47.1 grams).

The 2017 show will be held on Tuesday 1st August and it is open to the public from 2 PM.  There will be music playing in the afternoon and the prize giving will begin at 6:30 PM.

Graeme Watson, seven time show champion