Friday, April 29, 2016

Fairs ancient and modern

click photo to enlarge
Many of the fairs that take place across the country have their origins in medieval fairs held on "holy days" (holidays). One of the largest to be held annually is the Nottingham Goose Fair. This is thought to have started around 1284 under a charter granted for a fair in the city by Edward 1. Its name arises from the large numbers of geese that were walked to Nottingham from locations in Lincolnshire to be sold at the fair. Inevitably other trades and suppliers set up stalls and sold their wares at the Goose Fair, and entertainers joined in too, also keen to take advantage of the large number of people who congregated in the city for the eight days of the event.

Like most such fairs the one at Nottingham was truncated (to three days) and in time became an event that largely offered entertainment of one kind or another. Today "amusements" (roundabouts, helter-skelters, sideshows, stalls, etc) predominate in what are essentially funfairs. During my lifetime the fairs that I have known best have been the small event that visits Settle in the Yorkshire Dales and the very large fair held annually in Hull that was first held in 1278. Today's photograph was taken at the Boston May Fair in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire. It shows the outside of a large amusement that includes a covered helter-skelter tube. This fair is held in the town's market place where it is reputed to have been staged annually since at least 1152.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On