Nottingham Goose Fair in Pictures: Pictorial of over 100 Years

Goose Fair is traditionally held in Nottingham on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of October every year. Although for the past few years it has started with a special charity night on the Wednesday.

It is thought that the Saxons and the Danes established a market/fair in Nottingham over a thousand years ago. The first official recognition came when King Edward I granted Goose Fair a charter in 1284 to mark the Feast of St. Matthew. (Until 1752 the fair was always be held on St. Matthew’s Day : 21st September.)

When the calendar was revised in 1752, omitting 11 days from September, the date of Goose Fair was switched to October 2nd and this remained until 1875.

The Fair has failed to take place on only 11 occasions since being made ‘official’ in 1284. The plague of 1646 intervened and there was also the matter of two World Wars, though it was back by 1944, albeit only during the day to avoid the blackout.

Below are a selection of pictures showing the Goose Fair decade by decade. We start as early as 1890 to the present. The below pictures are only a selected few in our collection:

Goose Fair 1890s:

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Nottingham Goose Fair, Market Place, 1890s
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

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During Goose Fair on Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham, 1898
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

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Goose Fair, Market Place , Sideshows showing news events 1899
Credit: Picture the Past

Goose Fair Early 1900s:

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Goose Fair in the Market Square early 1900s
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

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Goose Fair, Market Square, c 1908
Credit: Picture the Past

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Goose Fair, Market Square, c 1910
Credit: Picture the Past

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Goose Fair in the Market Place. Seen from Beastmarket Hill, c early 1900s?
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

Goose Fair 1920s:

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Helter Skelter, Goose Fair, Old Market Square, Nottingham, c 1925
Credit: Picture the Past

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Goose Fair, Market Place 1926. East aspect, looking towards the empty space left after the demolition of the Exchange and which will soon be occupied by the Council House.
Credit: Picture the Past

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Goose Fair, Market Place, Nottingham, c 1927. The east aspect of the last Goose Fair in the Market Place. The Goose Fair was originally held in Nottingham for 8 days of October, reduced to five days in 1876. It was first mentioned in the Nottingham Borough Records of 1541, though it was probably in existence much earlier than this. The fair grew and gradually spread to other streets in the vicinity and, with the growth of traffic, there were complaints about congestion and disruption in the city. Eventually, the Goose Fair is held on the Forest Recreation Ground, about a mile north of the Old Market Square. The new Council House, which replaced the Exchange, can be seen under construction in the background.
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

Goose Fair 1930s:

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The 1935 Goose Fair being officially opened by the Lord Mayor .
Credit: Nottingham Hidden History Team

Goose Fair 1940s:

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Goose Fair, Forest, Nottingham. An aerial view showing the Goose Fair, looking south west from over Manning School. Image dated to 1948.
Credit: Picture the Past

Goose Fair 1950s:

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Goose Fair, c 1950s.
Credit: Picture the Past

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Goose Fair, Forest, Nottingham, 1950. Looking north west towards Forest Road and Mansfield Road, showing the attractions of the Goose Fair.
Credit: Picture the Past

Goose Fair 1960s:

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Goose Fair, 1966. The Town Clerk, Mr P Vine, reading a proclamation at the Goose Fair.
Credit: Picture the Past

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Harry Lee’s ‘Steam Yachts’ swingboat ride, Goose Fair, Forest, 1968.
Credit: Picture the Past

Goose Fair 1970s:

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Goose Fair – ‘House of Laughter’ childrens playhouse sideshow. c 1973.
Credit: Picture the Past

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Opening Ceremony, Goose Fair, Forest, 1973. Opened by the Lord Mayor, Alderman E Foster. The Declaration is being read by Mr P Vine, the Town Clerk..
Credit: Picture the Past

Goose Fair 1980s:

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View of Goose Fair from Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, 1983.
Credit: Picture the Past

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Two Big Wheels, Goose Fair, Forest Recreation Ground, Hyson Green, Nottingham, 1984.
Credit: Picture the Past

Goose Fair 1990s:

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The Goose Fair Public House – sign, c 1995.
Credit: Picture the Past

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Goose Fair at night. Late 1990s?
Credit: Nottingham Hidden History Team

Goose Fair Early 2000s:

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Goose Fair, c 2001.
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

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Goose Fair, c 2001.
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

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Mushy Pea Stand, Goose Fair, c 2001.
Credit: The Paul Nix Collection

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Saturday Night at the Goose Fair 2011.
Credit: Joe Earp- Nottingham Hidden History Team

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The Goose Fair 2012. Image taken from the top of The Forest.
Credit: Joe Earp- Nottingham Hidden History Team

All above images credited to The Paul Nix Collection, Nottingham Hidden History Team and Picture the Past website. 

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About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
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2 Responses to Nottingham Goose Fair in Pictures: Pictorial of over 100 Years

  1. Kathy Veal says:

    I don’t know if I remember correctly, but when I was at college (some 40 years ago), I was reading about the “old” Goose fair, and how it started and slowly progressed to what it is today. I read that one of the first shows to start it off on its progression was “Wombwells Wild Beast Show”.

  2. Steve Oliver says:

    Nice to see a picture of ‘the’ mushy pea stall, although they did nearly end the fair thanks to mushy pea-gate the year before last. They saw sense last year and I have my fingers crossed they’ll continue this year.

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