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A day at the fair

The Barton Fair

By 1880 Barton Fair had become so popular that traffic diversions were required, even in the days before motor cars! A mop or recruiting fair was attached to Barton Fair in the 1880s. This is the 1882 mop fair in Eastgate St. The livestock market remained an important element of Barton Fair in the early 20th Century, as here from 1909. By 1925 the Fair's reputation was such that it even attracted overseas visitors, such as this group of French dignitaries. The local vicar (left) and the annually elected Barton mock mayor (right) celebrate the heritage of Barton Fair.

For centuries, markets have provided an important place for local people to buy, sell and socialise.

In 1465 the Abbot of Gloucester was granted the right to an annual fair in Barton St.  It was called a pig fair in 1586, but became famous for selling cheese by the early 18th Century, taking its product from the Vale of Gloucester. 

During the 19th Century it was increasingly important as a livestock market, particularly for sheep and horses.  It also became a hugely popular pleasure fair, surviving several attempts to close it down on grounds of public order and morality. 

Since 2010 it has been reinvented as a smaller scale multi-cultural heritage fair, celebrating the diversity of the Barton St area.


Images: Copyright Gloucestershire Archives - NV30.9GS, SR9_49274.29GS, SRprints_GL3.9GS, NQ14.17GS, 

Audio and Images: Copyright Gloucestershire Archives – Molly Fielding remembers the Barton Fair.

Molly Fielding remembers...

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