Hull Fair: history

Hull Fair, on Walton Street Photo: ITV Calendar

Hull Fair, the largest travelling one of its kind in Europe, begins its week-long residence at Walton Street in Hull tonight.

It's been popular for years, but did you know just how many?

The fair celebrated its seven hundredth anniversary in 1993. But the first charter granting permission for a fair to be held, from 9 to 23 March, was granted in 1278. The anniversary celebrated by Hull City Council dates from 1293, when Edward I allocated six weeks in May and June for the festivities. By the 16th Century the festivities had become a 16-day fair, with 20 September as the start of the annual feast after an additional Charter was granted by Charles II.

Why did the date change?

Local tradition states the fair changed to October in 1751 because local people were outraged at losing eleven days of the fair.

After protests, from that year onwards October 11, or the Friday nearest to it, became the official date for Hull Fair.

Change in the function and location

The original function of the fair was as a market, but over the years merriment and entertainment became the focus.

The introduction of mechanisation in the 1870s brought new life to the fair. Over the centuries the venue for the celebration changed, including Nelson Street, Wellington Street and Queen Street and Park Street.

In 1888 Hull Fair moved to its present home on Walton Street, with the original eight acre site doubling in size in 1906, making it the largest fair in England.