The Goose Fair at Nottingham

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In Nottingham in England on the first Thursday of October a huge fair comes to town, it used to be held in the old Market Square. The name came about when the traders would have flocks of geese come running through the market and the geese were sold in preference to chicken or turkey as geese were much more common. As years went by it became much bigger and it was moved to the site it still returns to today, on Nottingham Forest, a large site with easy parking and plenty of access roads for buses.

Today there is great excitement in the town when the Lord Major opens the fair, on the stroke of twelve noon he rings a hand bell and declares the fair open for three days only, on the stroke of midnight Saturday it closes down and during the night on Sunday morning all that is left is the rubbish and the council workers clearing up.

No one would want to miss it and for children it was a magic time. When you get to the top of the hill the aroma of onions being cooked, hot dogs, toffee, apples, candy floss, and every one’s favourite – mushy peas with the mint sauce. Oh! how they smell good and taste ever better.

When my mum was young it was a place where families came together, you were safe and except for police to guide in and out the traffic, police men were never seen. Today, next to Hull it is the biggest fair in England.

Once you come in site of the fair you see lights, even if it is daylight, all coloured bulbs everywhere. Two big wheels stand proudly in the middle, organ music grinds out so loudly you can never hear what people are saying to you. Dodgems are spread all over and today new rides are there; the Pirate Ship, The Whip and many more.

The children’s rides are always kept up at the top so that they can taken out if tired. All around the edges are the side shows like for example, The Flea Circus, still going strong today, The Freak Show with the bearded lady and the midget and the tallest man in the world, you always have to queue outside by the big rails, then you would go under the stage and come out in the large tent.

Rides to scare you, food to fill you and of course the trader’s stalls with such great bargains, toys, clothes, food, sweets and jewellery, anything and everything it was every child’s dream that the fair was coming and best of all every Friday was a school holiday so the children could see the fair and manage to get on the rides before the adults were on the scene. Each child went home with a balloon and a hat, usually it was a cowboy hat or Robin hood hat, they were the favourites.

Once the goose fair had been, everyone would say it will soon be CHRISTMAS.

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About this record

Written by Matthew Griffin

Published here 21 Apr 2023

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