Bartholomew Fair A Georgian Delight.

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Entertainment’s on offer at Bartholomew Fair in 1721. Illustration taken from the British Library.

Most fairs were more than simple markets. Bartholomew Fair was by far the largest and most spectacular event of its kind, and was the scene of much public excitement. Held in London every September for four days, the thousands of visitors who went there could witness dozens of entertainments and spectacles: tumbling, acrobatics and tightrope walking, for example, or exhibitions of exotic animals, boxing competitions, puppet shows and displays of human strength. Fairs were also the scene of much eating and drinking. There were dozens of ‘booths’ selling a vast array of foods, such as gingerbread, nuts, puddings, sausages and hot pies to the huge crowds. Vast quantities of alcohol were consumed there, which was the cause of much concern to local authorities.

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Bartholomew Fair. Illustration taken from the British Library.
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