CLA celebrates 110 years with successors of founder members

26 January 2017

Today (26 January) the CLA celebrates its birthday, a 110 years since the Yorkshire Land and Property Defence Association, the forerunner of the CLA, held its first ever meeting at The Principal York Hotel. 

From that point, the organisation began to lobby MPs on topical agricultural issues. The following year it joined forces with the newly established Central Land Association in London, creating an influential industry body that is today the association now known as the CLA.

Today the Principal York Hotel (recently renamed, the newly restored grande-dame was formerly The Station Hotel) has been revisited by successors of founder members to celebrate the 110th anniversary.

CLA Director North Miss Dorothy Fairburn said: “It is exactly 110 years this week since the Yorkshire Land and Property Defence Association – the forerunner of the CLA – held its first ever meeting at The Station Hotel in York.

“Over the past century, the organisation has grown from a small regional lobbying group into one of the country’s most active and influential rural economy campaigners, representing more than 30,000 members involved in more than 250 different types of businesses. CLA members own and manage over 50% of rural land in England and Wales. I am delighted to be able to mark this historic occasion with members of the families that have helped shape our agricultural heritage in the CLA’s birthplace of York.

“Despite all the changes over this period, the CLA has remained steadfast in amplifying the voice of rural landowners and farmers, and will continue to do so in future.”

Lord Middelton, current President of the CLA’s Yorkshire Branch, said: “As Lord Harewood, who chaired the first meeting of the CLA said ‘...there was never a time during his lifetime, and he was born in the famous Corn Law year, when agriculture in this country so greatly required united organisation to put pressure on Parliament.’ The CLA is as relevant today as it was then, especially with regard to Brexit and its implications for landowners and farmers.”

Lord Middleton’s great grandfather was a founding committee member. Past Chairman of the CLA’s Yorkshire Branch, Charles Forbes Adam’s great grandfather, Lord Wenlock, chaired the third meeting in May 1907.

Pictured above are Hotel Manager (The Principal York Hotel) Christo Botha, Lord Middleton of Birdsall, CLA Director North Dorothy Fairburn, and Charles Forbes Adam of Escrick at The Principal York Hotel toasting to the 110th birthday of the CLA.