The history of the Carloway Agriculture Show is taken from the Golden Jubilee Commemorative Book.

The first Cattle Show to be held on the West Side of Lewis was at Carloway on Friday 25th August 1911, and there were shows for the next three years, with a growing number of entries.  Annual Cattle Shows had begun in Stornoway in 1909.  Other areas soon followed:  West Uig & Bernera in 1912, Lochs at Knockiandhu in 1913 and Park in 1914. The first Show planned for Ness was to be on 19th August 1914 but it was cancelled because of the outbreak of the First World War. Stornoway also cancelled that year, as was Carloway, which didn't begin again until 1922.

The 1922 Show was a very successful day, with good Diary, Vegetable and Home Industries sections, but with disappointing entries in the Livestock categories.  Sports and the Board of Agriculture Special Prizes were introduced.  Three more shows were held, in 1923, 1924 and 1928, but by then there was a concern at the lack of funds available, and the next one was until well after the Second World War.

The First Cattle Show after the war took place in 1954 and was held in the grounds of Carloway School on the first Wednesday of August - a date which is now well known to all who look forward to the main annual event of the West Side calendar!  Exhibiting was restricted to residents of the Shawbost to Garynahine area.  The only competition open to Lewis and Harris was a Special Prize for Best Ram, any age, any breed. A year or two later, Grimersta and Linshader were brought into the catchment area.

Highlight of our young and not-so-young lives, the Cattle Show, resurrected in the early fifties was something very special in these early years. Post war austerity was slowly being forgotten, looms were booming in every village, hopes for something better were permeating in our midst:  within a very few years, Harold Macmillan would tell us all, "you've never had it so good."

The Cattle show [was] a day when many people, particularly in the early years, felt they could relax, have a day away from the normal chores and meeting friends and relations from across the community.  The show was a major social event.  And that was the great feature of the Cattle Show, the opportunity to meet friends and relatives from places as remote as Bragar and Achmore and points in between.

-Donald G Macleod (Donnie a' Chidhe), formerly Quay House, Breasclete 

In 1954, the categories were:  Sheep Dog Trials, Best Kept Croft, Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Poultry, DOAS Special Prizes, Flowers, Vegetables, Dairy Produce, Home Baking, Woven Articles and Rugs, Knitting and Crochet, Sewing and Embroidery, and Crafts.  Main prizewinners are listed here.  There were 84 different competitions in 1954, 98 in 1955 and 103 in 1956, with a total of approximately £300 in prize money that year.  In 2002, there were 175 competitions plus Sports and Highland Dancing, and the total prize money was £2300.

In the early years, free transportation within the Show area was provided on the eve of the Show for indoor exhibits. On Show Day, buses left Stornoway for Carloway at 2pm. There were also additional bus services operating within the Show area during the day.

From 1955 to 1961, a Boat Race was a popular aspect of the Show, run under the supervision of Robert Macleod (Rob Calum) Blar an Gheoir, Garenin, and John Macarthur (Iain Dhomhnaill Mhoir) 5 Borrowston. The practice came to an end due to safety difficulties and a lack of time within the day.

In 2003 a commemorative book marking the Golden Jubilee of the Carloway Agricultural Show was published.  It offers much detail and many photographs from past shows and is available for £6 on Show day or via the Contacts page.