Conniscliffe Leek Club



The “Baydale Beck”,Low Coniscliffe, Co Durham


Coniscliffe Leek Club began its enjoyable and productive association with the Baydale Beck in 2010. Formerly the Duke of Wellington Leek Club, the club had been based at the Duke of Wellington, High Coniscliffe for 38 years, until the pub became a casualty of the contraction of the pub industry. In that dark hour, Joanne and Tony offered us a new venue and a warm welcome. Thanks to their generous cooperation and the enthusiasm and resilience of the club’s members, the club staged its two annual shows at the Beck for the first time in 2010 with great success.


The club holds a summer show in July for sweet peas and roses, and its main autumn show in September. The autumn show dates back to 1972, when the club was founded by the then landlord of the Duke of Wellington, Tommy Elliot, as a small friendly bunch of gadgies competing against each other at leek growing, purely for the fun of it. It seems likely that the show would have been a leek show pure and simple, showing only pot leeks. It now includes 60 classes covering leeks (naturally), vegetables, flowers, wine and home baking, and four children’s classes. It attracts more than 300 entries, and stands comparison with shows of many of the larger clubs and associations. Thanks to the club’s relationship with the village school at High Coniscliffe, the children’s section is one of the best in the North East. Apart from the leek classes, entry to all classes in both shows is free and open to non-members. Competition is keen but friendly, with the cash prizes taking very much second place to the desire to unseat the resident specialists in the various classes, and the glory of having one’s name on a club trophy.


The club remains a small and friendly affair, although we are always glad to welcome new members. Membership costs an initial joining fee of £5, with an annual membership fee of £5 thereafter, (which is waived for all members who exhibit in one of the leek classes), and participation in fundraising involves a commitment of about £15 a year.  It is self governing, with three officers to handle the administration and everybody else pitching in with the practical stuff when the need arises. It is self financing, raising funds from its Christmas raffle and quiz and its popular Easter Egg Raffle, with some help from generous sponsors. All produce left after the shows is auctioned off to the public, with the proceeds, (£500 in 2010), going to local charities. We meet once a month, usually on the last Sunday of the month at the Baydale Beck at 11-00am, and prospective members are welcome to join us. Alternatively, the club will contact any interested party who leaves their contact details at the Baydale Beck.