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Famous Fairs and Their Origins page 2


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The fair ground at Barnet is not of great size, and was to great degree spoiled by the making of Telford's new road approach to the town from London, about 1825. Barnet is a horse and pleasure fair of very Cockney or Hampstead Heath holiday kind, full of typical London rough jollity. But the business in the sale and purchase of horses is still very considerable. Here are an astonishing number and variety of horses. Irish horses, Welsh ponies, Scotch horses, cart horses of the Suffolk Punch type and New Forest ponies. Young cart horses look proud, with their manes and tails plaited in straw.

The very pick of the horses does not, however, reach Bar-net at all; but is snapped up by knowing buyers on the roads, for many of these horses come by road from very long distances.

S. Bartholomew's, popularly "Bartlemy," Fair, held for more than seven centuries in Smithfield, London, was a famous gathering; so famous and with so long a story that it has had a history written and published to itself. This great fourteen days' fair was, so far back as 1708, reduced by the City of London Court of Common Council to three days. But "hardship" was pleaded, and in 1739 the fair was extended to four days; and in the following year the Prince of Wales visited "Bartlemy," giving it an increased lease of life. Theatrical shows were then, and for long after, a feature; and the "stars" of Drury Lane Theatre did not consider it beneath their dignity to act in booths at "Bartlemy," and licences were granted for three and even four weeks.

Again, in 1798, the City sought to restrict this fair, and proposed to reduce it to one day; but the scheme was abandoned for fear of a riot.

The proprietary rights in S. Bartholomew's Fair at this time belonged to the Corporation of the City of London and to Lord Kensington. The City was prepared, if the fair were abolished, to forfeit its revenue from tolls and licences; but up to that time Lord Kensington had refused. The Corporation at length purchased his rights, and in 1843 prohibited the assemblage of shows of any kind in Smithfield.

At the same time a new site was found for the fair, in Britannia Fields, Hoxton, close by the Britannia Theatre. But fairs, like markets, are growths that seldom bear transplanting; and the new Bartholomew Fair languished and died. Indeed, although for the country fair there may yet be some reason, fairs in towns have no excuse, and many such have been abolished; notably the ancient fair of Manchester, which lasted three days. It was ended in 1876.

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Pictures for Famous Fairs and Their Origins page 2

WASHING DAY, BARNET FAIR
WASHING DAY, BARNET FAIR >>>>
Inspecting the Wares at Barnet Horse Fair, held every Year in September
Inspecting the Wares at Barnet Horse Fair, held every Year in September >>>>
Great Key which is always used in opening the Historic Fair at Mitcham
Great Key which is always used in opening the Historic Fair at Mitcham >>>>
HOW OLD S. BARTHOLOMEW FAIR AT SMITHFIELD USED TO LOOK
HOW OLD S. BARTHOLOMEW FAIR AT SMITHFIELD USED TO LOOK >>>>
SHEEP FAIR OF WEYHILL AND THE GOOSE FAIR, NOTTINGHAM
SHEEP FAIR OF WEYHILL AND THE GOOSE FAIR, NOTTINGHAM >>>>
WHEN THE STEAM ROUNDABOUT INVADES THE PEACE OF OXFORD
WHEN THE STEAM ROUNDABOUT INVADES THE PEACE OF OXFORD >>>>
GOOD QUEEN BESS REPRESENTED AT CORBY
GOOD QUEEN BESS REPRESENTED AT CORBY >>>>
ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR AT STRATFORD-ON-AVON
ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR AT STRATFORD-ON-AVON >>>>

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