Bartholomew Fair

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  • Intro

    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: tumblers, acrobatics and tightrope walkers, for example, or exhibitions of exotic animals, boxing competitions, puppet shows and displays of human strength. There were dozens of ‘booths’ selling a wide range 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. This image from 1721 shows details of these entertainments.

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