West Sussex Unwrapped – Fairs – Ancient and Modern

This month West Sussex Unwrapped features one of West Sussex’ most ancient fairs – Hurstpierpoint’s St Lawrence Fair which has taken place on the first Saturday in July ever since its Royal Charter was granted in 1313. Unfortunately, due to current Covid measures, this year’s Fair will be more of a virtual event than the usual mass gathering of townsfolk and visitors. With that in mind, Screen Archive South East and the West Sussex Record Office have come together to make their own jolly contribution to the digital revels with a blog that features film extracts, archive photographs, letters and charters. There is also an amusing report from the Chichester Police which reprimands a certain P.C. No 4, otherwise known as Joseph Phillips, for being drunk on duty on the night of the city’s Sloe Fair in 1884.

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West Sussex is home to a number of fairs, both ancient and modern, and we have selected a small number of them for you to view. Simply click on the links below to watch and enjoy.

Balcombe Fair – watch local scouts and guides performing and giving demonstrations for the public in the grounds of Balcombe House

Do You Remember? – this jolly compilation features donkey races, the cowboy ‘Buck Ryan’ and the Lindfield Fair

Hotham Park Country Fair – there’s some frenzied Morris Dancing going on at Bognor’s Hotham Park in 1962

Coronation celebrations; Old Rectory Fete; Horsted Fair – there’s ‘fair-fun’ at Hosted Keynes with May Queens, Lady Astor, a barbecue and the inevitable invasion of the Morris Men

Findon Sheep Fair – enjoy this beauty contest for sheep as they pose for the judges in this film from 1978

Our next West Sussex Unwrapped presentation on the 10th of August, takes on a nautical theme when we’ll be looking at our county’s maritime heritage.