Find out how people had fun at the fair at new Stevenage Museum exhibition

People enjoying the fair in times gone by

People enjoying the fair in times gone by - Credit: Archant

Stevenage Museum is celebrating the history of the town’s historic Charter Fair in its new exhibition which opens tomorrow.

The sights, sounds and even the smells of fairs gone by feature in the exhibition called All the Fun of the Fair, which runs from Saturday, July 22, to Saturday, October 28.

Stevenage’s Charter Fair dates back to 1281, when King Edward I granted Stevenage the right to hold a weekly market and yearly fair for all time.

The exhibition explores its history and includes footage from early Victorian fairs, old rides and stalls, audio memories of people who went to fairs in the 1950s and 1960s, a tiger display and news of fairs in the war years.

It is part of a county-wide project called Traditional Hertfordshire, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


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Alongside the exhibition there will be themed family activities on some days and a model fun fair day at the museum on August 19 – featuring a scale model of a fairground.

Councillor Richard Henry, Stevenage Borough Council’s executive member for children, young people and leisure, said: “The fair is a much-loved part of the town’s history and this really captures the spirit of some of the fairs gone by. It always brings the town out in force and it’s great to be part of this celebration of our traditions and customs.”

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The model fun fair day on August 19 runs from 12 noon to 4pm. Fair-themed family activities at the museum run on Wednesday to Friday mornings, on August 2 to 4 and August 23 to 25, and cost £3 per child (concessions free). Activities on Friday afternoons are free.

The museum has also launched a new scheme, Stevenage Museum Friends, offering discounts and private exhibition views in return for an annual donation.

You can find out more about summer activities on Stevenage Museum’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/stevenagemuseum.

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