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History of Goose Fair - outdoor exhibition

Old Market Square

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History of Goose Fair - outdoor exhibition

29th September - 8th October 2017
Where: Old Market Square

Discover the history of Nottingham's Goose Fair though an outdoor photography exhibition at the Old Market Square.

The majority of fairs held in this country trace their ancestry back to charters and privileges granted in the Medieval period. In the thirteenth century, the creation of fairs by royal charter was widespread, with the Crown making every attempt to create new fairs and bring existing ones under their jurisdiction. When Nottingham Goose Fair was granted a Charter by King Edward I in 1284 it was actually already in existence. The name Goose Fair was first documented in 1541 in the accounts of Borough Chamberlain. It is associated with the sale of 20,000 geese which were driven from the fens to be sold in Nottingham to provide the traditional Michaelmas dish, which is believed to bring luck for the next year.

As well as the Fair being famous for the sale of Geese, it was known for its autumn trade and enjoyed a reputation for its high-quality cheese. In 1764 there was a cheese riot due to an increase of a third on the price of cheese compared with the previous year. Outraged punters ransacked the stalls and huge cheeses were rolled down the slopes of Wheeler Gate and Peck Lane. The Mayor’s attempts to calm things down resulted in his dignity being flattened by a 100lb cheese.

The Fair has not run continuously over its 700 year history, as it was cancelled due to the Great Plague and again during the two World Wars. 


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