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A Brief History of Loughborough Fair. By Justin Smith. PLEASE CLICK YOUR MOUSE TO ADVANCE TO THE NEXT SCREEN. Markets & Fairs Staff. PLEASE CLICK YOUR MOUSE TO ADVANCE TO THE NEXT SCREEN. A Brief introduction to Loughborough Fair.

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A brief history of loughborough fair l.jpg

A Brief History of Loughborough Fair

By Justin Smith

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Markets fairs staff l.jpg

Markets & Fairs Staff

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A brief introduction to loughborough fair l.jpg

A Brief introduction to Loughborough Fair

Traditionally the ending to the travelling season, Loughborough has a special place in the hearts of the travelling show people. Loughborough commences on the second Thursday of November, dating back to a charter granted by Henry III in 1228. The fair was traditionally held on the Market Square, but now covers most of the town with showmen occupying major streets and spaces.

According to The World's Fair reporter writing in 1949: "The People of Loughborough are very proud of their ancient Fair, dating back to the thirteenth century and held in the streets and squares of the town."

Over the past seven centuries the relationship between the local people and the November fair has survived despite various attempts to move the festivities to the outskirts of the town. Like any Charter Fair, Loughborough has a rich and varied history and in the words of Henry Morley reveals the unwritten story of the history of the people. The original Charter was granted in 1221 and pertained to an annual event on the 31st of July. This was reaffirmed seven years later and extended to cover three days around the Feast of St Peter. A third Charter was further granted a year later in 1228 by Henry III to Hugh Le Despenser Lord of the Manor of Loughborough and related to the Feast of All Souls. The changes to the Calendar introduced in 1752 resulted in the loss of eleven days and the date of the fair became the 13th of November. However, in 1881 local officials obtained an order to stipulate that the opening day of the Fair would always fall on the second Thursday in November and the date has since remained constant.

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A Brief introduction to Loughborough Fair

The medieval fair was allied to the weekly Thursday Market which has also been granted by Henry III and many of the goods on sale reflected the trading nature of the original event. By the 14th Century Loughborough had became associated with the buying and selling of cloth and wool and such was its fame as a Market town that it was mentioned as such on Saxton's map published in 1576. Over the centuries two more fairs were granted and the 1783 edition of Owen's New Book of Fairs lists five separate fair including November 13 for the selling of horses cows and sheep. Despite the decline of trading fairs in other parts of the country during the mid nineteenth century, the November Fair continued to be associated with the sale of cattle on the opening Thursday. With the introduction of mechanisation and the impact of steam powered roundabouts on the fairground landscape, by the end of the century the beast market was gradually moved to other locations in the city and the dispensing of amusements became the main theme of the fair. Like many of the late Victorian steam fairs, the local people patronised the array of stalls, booths, mechanical wonders and shows to be found on display.

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A Brief introduction to Loughborough Fair

The show families associated with Loughborough Fair from this period are still familiar to the present day fairgoers and include famous names such as Collins, Proctor, Hall, Richards and Holland. The arrival of cinema in the form of the bioscope in 1897 had been preceded by the annual visit of Wall's Phantoscope from the 1880s and the popularity of the shows continued in the twentieth century with Harry Hall's boxing booth, Sedgwick's lion show and Proctor's cinematograph. The 1913 fair featured rides such as Pat Collin's racing motors, gallopers by Harry Hall and Bolesworth and Richard's cake walk.

Loughborough Fair like many of its counterparts was closed for the duration of the Great War and opened again after hostilities ceased. By the 1920s the showmen introduced the latest attractions to entice the local fairgoers with the arrival of the Globe of Death and the Wall of Death in 1929. However, the fair attracted its usual dissenters with some commentators describing "as a Fair with a mile of caravans" and "that it should be removed from our streets" with the now familiar argument over the disruption caused to motorists due to the loss of parking for the duration of the fair. The people of Loughborough remained loyal to the tradition of their street fair and this was reflected in the editorial that appeared in the Leicester Mail which stated: "That most ancient form of diversion, the fair, is still attractive because it appeals to the people's robust sense of fun ... Thousands of people are attracted to the town to participate, much to their own and other people's enjoyment ... if they remove it from the centre of the town it would dwindle and decay as so many other fairs have done, and an old age channel that has brought grist to the town would be permanently closed. So Loughborough as a whole, is not only disposed to grin and bear it, but to welcome it somewhat in the spirit of the song that bids us `Come to the fair.'"

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A Brief introduction to Loughborough Fair

By the period leading up the Second World War, the fair settled back into its traditional routine with an average of twelve major rides attending every year including regular attendants such as the Collins', Proctor's and Holland families. Although The World's Fair reporter in 1933 laments the decrease in side stuff, the report includes a multitude of spinners, wheel em'ins, sheets, and shooting saloons on offer presented by the Hall's, William's and Richard's family to name but a few. By 1933 the Ghost Train, Noah's Ark and the Dodgems were the dominant attractions at the fair with Shufflebottom's Wild West Show and Wood and Sketchley's boxing academy continuing the tradition of live entertainment.

The 1940s saw the arrival of the Farrar family with their Waltzer and Dodgems standing alongside such familiar attractions presented by long term tenants such as the Collins family. Henry Armstrong and Sons Noah's Ark, Dodgems and Airways stood alongside Arthur Holland's Monte Carlo Rally and Moon Rocket in Bedford Square with the spinners retaining their popularity among the stall holders.

By the 1950s the annual event has become one of the main fairs of the year for show people and locals alike with the World's Fair reporter commenting in 1955 that: "On the stroke of twelve the Mayor declared the fair open and for three hectic days Loughborough lost its customary dignified character as the centre of the famous Quorn Hunt and gave itself up to the spirit of carnival ... The powers that be are to be congratulated on providing a really outstanding fair this year. The rides were far more varied while the introduction of fresh machines definitely attracted a lot of interest."

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A Brief introduction to Loughborough Fair

The World's Fair reporter describes the 1955 event as five fairs held in various fairs and linked together by stalls, games and juvenile machines in the streets adjoining. The attractions included John Farrarr's modern Waltzer, Charles Thurston's Skid and Henry Armstrong's Caterpillar and alloy Dodgems. Ten years later the fair underwent another change with the whole of the Market Place given over to amusements and resulting in the fair attaining greater prominence in the town centre. Over the following years the fair continued to adapt and develop in line with the improvements taking place on fairgrounds around the country as the show people continued to invest in new equipment and constantly providing the latest in high speed technology and innovation.

The story of Loughborough historic association with its annual fair can be found in Loughborough Markets and Fairs by George W. Green and M. W. Green published in 1964. Over seven hundred or so years the fair has been the cause of dispute and merriment in equal measures, but the strong relationship that exists between the town people and the fair is emphasised by the authors when they paid the following tribute: "The `fun of the fair' is still very much in evidence and the November Pleasure Fair remains an `occasion' in the local calendar and a time for family reunions."

Loughborough also serves as a gathering point to the many fairground enthusiasts

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Some of the Royal Charter papers from 1221

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LATIN TEXT

De mercato de Luteburg

Dominus Rex concessitHugoni Dispenser quod habeatusque

Ad etatemsuamunummercatumsingulisseptimanis per

Diem Jovisapudmaneriumsuum de Luteburg,Nisi

Mercatumillud etcetera .Et mandatumestvicecomite

Leics quod mercatumilludeihaberefaciat,Testeut supra. (TesteH,apudTurrim London xxii die Januarii).

De feris de Lugteburg?

Dominus Rex concessitHugoni le Despenser quod habeat

Usque ad etatemdomini Regis unamferiamapud

Maneriumsuum de Lugteburg’ singulisannis in

Vigilia et in die sancti Petra ad vincula et

Mandatumestvicecomitem Leicester ‘quod feriam

Illameihaberefaciat,Testeut supra per eundem

(ApudWestmonasterium xxxvii die Januarii anno

Regninostri v)

TRANSLATION

Of the Market Of Loughborough

The lord the King grants to Hugh Dispenser that

He have ,until his (Lawful ) age ,one market every

Week, on Thursday, at his manor of Loughborough.

Unless that market and the Sheriff of Leicestershire

Is ordered to cause him to have that market.

Of the Fair of Loughborough.

The lord the King grants to Hugh le Dispenser that

He have until the (lawful) age of the lord the King

One fair at his manor of Loughborough every year

In the vigil and in the day of St Peter ad Vincula

And the Sheriff of Leicestershire is ordered to cause him

To have that fair. Witness as above by the same

(at Westminster, xxviith day of January in the fifth

year of our reign

Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC54/24

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/18

LATIN TEXT

Pro Hugo Dispensar – Innovatur Alibi Cart.13 H.No .249 3m.13.

Henricusdei gratia etcetra, Archiepiscopis,Episcopisetcetra

Salutem,sciatisnosconcessissedilecto et fidelinustroHugoni

Dispensar quod ipse et heredes sui habeant et teneant in perpetuumunum

Mercatumsingulisseptimanis per diem Jovisapudmaneriumsuum de

Lucteburg et quod habeantibidemunamferiamsingulisannis per tres dies

Duraturam scilicet in virilla et in die et in crastinobeati Petri ad

Vinculaitatunc quod mercatumillud et feriailla non sint ad nocumentum

Vicinorummercatorium et vicinarum. Concessimuseciameidem

Hugonem quod ipse et herdes sui et homines sui de Lucteburg’ Burton

Hukelescot’ Fretheby & Erendesbysintimperpetumquieti de sectis

Comitatis & hundredo et de auxiliisvicecomitis et de visufranciplegio.

Quarevolumis et firmiterprecepimus quod predictoHogo et heredes sui

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/18

LATIN TEXT

Habeant et teneant predictum mercatum et predictam feriam libere quiete et

Integrecum omnibus liberatibus et liberis consuetudinibus ad predictum

Mercatum et predictam feriam pertinentibus et quod ipsi Hugo et heredes

Sui et predicti homines sui de predictis villis de Lucteburg’ Burton

Hukelescot’Fretheby et Erendesby sint quieti de sectis comitatu &

Hundredo et de auxilliis vice comitis et de visu franceplegio imperpetuum

Sicut predictum est Hiis Testibus E.London’J.Bath’ & R.Sarr’ episcopis,

H de Burg’ Justicio nostro Rand’ Comite Cestrie & Lincoln’ Steph’ de

Sedgrave Willelmo de Eyneford’ Ricardo de Argent’ Senescallis nostris

Willelmo de Cantil’ Henrico de Capella et aliis,Datum ut supra apud

Westmonasterium XII die Februarii anno etcetra XI

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/18

TRANSLATION FORM PREVIOUS PAGES

For Hugh Dispensar’ Renewed elsewhere Charter 13 H.No.249.3.m.13.

Henry, by the grace of god, & c. To the Archbisops,Bishops, & c.greetings,

Know that we have granted to our beloved subject Hugh Dispensar’ that he

And his heirs have and hold for ever one market every week on Thursday

At his manor of Lucteburg’ and that they have there one fair every year

For three days duration, to wit , in the vigil and in the day and in the

Morrow of St .Peter ad vincula. So then that market and that fair

Be not to the damage of neighbouring markets and neighbouring fairs, We

Grant also to the same Hugh that he and his heirs and his men of Lucteburg’

Burton’ Hukelescot’ Fretheby and Erendesby be for ever quit of suits

To the county and hundred and of Sheriff’s aids and of view of frankpledge.

Wherefore we will and firmly order that the said Hugh and his heirs have

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/18

And hold the aforesaid market and the aforesaid fair freely, peacefully

And wholly, with all liberties and free customs to the aforesaid market

And his aforesaid fair belonging and that the same Hugh and his heirs

And his aforesaid men of the aforesaid vills of Lucteburg, Burton

Hukelescot’ Fretheby and Erendesby be quit of suits to the county

And hundred and of Sheriff’s aids and of the view of frankpledge for

Ever as is aforesaid. These witnesses, E.London, J.Rath, and R.Salisbury,

Bishops, H..de Burgh’our justice, Rand’Earl of Chester and Lincoln,

Stephen de Sedgrave, William de Cantil’,Henry de Capella and others.

Given as above at Westminster 12th day of February, the year & c 11th

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/21

Pro Hugo Dispensar’ alibi Cart. H H.3.p.1.m.34

Rex ArchiepiscopisEpiscopis etcetera salutem, Sciatisnosconcessisse

Dilecto & fidelinostroHugni Dispensar quod ipse et heredes sui habeant

Et teneantimperpetuumunummercatumsingulisseptimanis per diem Jovis

Apudmaneriumsuum de Lucteburg et quod habeantunamferiamsingulisannis

Per tres/dies duraturam scilicet in vigilia in die et in crastinobeati Petri

Ad vincula. Italunc quod mercatumillud et feriailla non sunt ad

Nocumentumvicinorummercatorum et vicinarumferiarum. Con cessimuseciam

Pertinentiis et de Burton HukescotFrethebi et Erendelbysintimperpetuum

Quieti de sectiscomitatu et hundredo et de auxiliisvicecomitis et de

Visufranciplegio. Concessimuseciam pro nobis et heredibusnostriseidem

Hugonemetheredibussuis quod ipsihabeantimperpetuumhincliberatem

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/21

Videlicet quod non ponantur in assisis Juratis vel recognitionibus.

Quare volumus etcetra quod predictus Hugo et heredes sui habeant et

Teneant imperpetuum predictum mercatum et predictam feriam libere quiete

Et Integre cum omnibus libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus ad predictum

Mercatum et predictam feriam pertinentibus et quod ipsi Hugo et heredes

Sui et predicti homines sui de prodictis villis de Lucteburg cum

Pertinentiis et de Burton Hukelescot Frethebi et Erendesby sint quieti

De sectis comitatu et hundredo et de auxiliis vicecomitis et visufrancipleg

Et quod ipsi Hugo et heredes sui habeant imperpetum predictam libertatem

Quod non ponantur in assisis Juratis vel recognitionibus sicut predictum

Est Hiis testibus J.Bath’ R.Dunhelm’ ct W.Carled’ episcopis H.de Burgo etc.

R.Comite Cestr’ et W,Comite Mareseallo, W.Comite de Ferr’ J.Constab’

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/21

TRANSLATION FORM PREVIOUS PAGES

For Hugh Dispensar. Elsewhere Charter II Henry III pt.1, m.34.

The King to the Archbishops, Bishops,& c.greeting.Know that we have granted

To our beloved subject Hugh Dispensar that he and his heirs have and hols for

Ever one market every week on Thursday at his manor of Lucteburg and that they

Have one fair every year for three days duration, to wit, in the vigil in the

Day and in the morrow of St.Peter ad vincula. So then that the market and

That fair are not to the hurt of neighbouring markets and neighbouring fairs

We grant also to the same Hugh that he and his heirs and his men of Lucteburg

With the appurtenances and of Burton’ Hukescot, Frethebi & Erendelby be for

Ever quit of suits of the county and hundred and of Sherriff's aids and of view

Of frankpledge. We grant also for us and our heirs to the same Hugh and his

Heirs that they have for ever this liberty, to wit, that they be not placed in

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Translations of the Latin Text from the Royal CharterC53/21

Assizes, juries and recognisances . Wherefore we will , do. that the aforesaid

Hugh and his heirs have and hold for ever the aforesaid market and the aforesaid fair

Freely, peacefully and wholly with all liberties and free customs

To the aforesaid market and the aforesaid fair belonging and that the same

Hugh and his heirs and his aforesaid men of the aforesaid vills of Lucteburg

With the appurtenances and of Burton Hukelescot Frethebi & Erendesby be quit

Of suits of the county and hundred and of Sheriff’s aids and view of frankpledge

And that the said Hugh and his heirs have for ever the aforesaid liberty

That they shall not be placed in assizes, juries or recognisances.These

Witnesses, J.Bath, R.Durham and W.Carlise, bishops, H.de Burgh & c. R.Earl of

Chester, W.Earl Marshal, W.Earl Ferrers, J.Constable, S.de Sedgrave, H.de Molis,

Richard de Argent, Henry de Capell, Bartholomew Peche and others. Given by the

Hand of R.Bishop of Chichester, & c. at Westminster 6th day of February, the

Year & c.13th.

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Some old fair pictures

Armstrong's Machines in the School Yard 1958

Rose Brothers “Meteorite” in Market Place 1958

Henry Warwick's traditional Shooter in the 'Golden Fleece' yard, 1960.

Devonshire Square, 1963.

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Pictures of the fair in modern times

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Further Information

Approximately 100 individual show people attend each year, presenting between them some 20 large rides, numerous children's roundabouts, game and novelty stalls, and the usual popular refreshment stands.

The Fair aims to cater for everyone, young and old alike, and those who just like to sample the general fairground atmosphere and observe the various spectacles, which are visibly stunning, particularly at night, when they are all lit up Amongst those pleasure rides presented this year will be the old favourites such as Waltzers, Twist, Dodgems, Galloping Horses, together with the more spectacular rides such as the Freak Out, Big Ben, Move It, Wild Mouse, Sea Storm, Kiddies' Corner and the Extreme Ride and perhaps one or two surprise attractions

The Council's Markets and Fairs Service has responsibility for directing the arrangements connected with the Fair. Tel 01509 634624 or

email [email protected]

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Thank you for watching

2009 OPENING TIMES

WEDNESDAY 11TH 18.00 TO 23.00

THURSDAY 12TH 12.00 TO 23.00

FRIDAY 13TH 11.00 TO 23.00

SATURDAY 14TH 11.00 TO 23.00

We hope you’ll pay us a visit soon.

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