Tewkesbury Mop Fair

Andy Events, Fairs & Festivals

Tewkesbury Mop Fair is here for another year, in spirit to the old tradition, dating back as early as 1752.

TEWKESBURY - October 2014: Tewkesbury Mop Fair, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK. 10th October 2014 (Photo by Andy Sallis) (Andy Sallis)

Tewkesbury and other mop fairs typically take over the entire town centre for two days, attracting thousands of visitors. In recent times the mops have become little more than a fun fair with the traditional reason for the fair playing no part. Many of the rides at the mop are fast, brightly lit and very noisy including traditional rides such as carousels and dodgems.

For those who are unaware what the mop fair is, here is a little history lesson. The origins of the Tewkesbury Mop Fair go back to when Farm workers, labourers, servants and some craftsmen would attend the mop fair dressed in their Sunday best clothes and carrying an item signifying their trade. A servant with no particular skills would carry a mop head. The ‘tassel’ worn on their lapel was the emblem of the employee’s trade and was known as a ‘mop’ — hence the term “mop fair”.

Employers would move amongst them discussing experience and terms, and once agreement was reached the employer would give the employee a small token of money and the employee would remove the item signifying their trade and wear bright ribbons to indicate they had been hired. They would then spend the token amongst the stalls set up at the fair which would be selling food and drink and offering games to play.

Usually when the Tewkesbury Mop Fair is in town, I would go out and grab photos of the night life. This year I am taking a break from it and will be enjoying the fair instead. This does not however mean I will be leaving this post without any photos to view. For a new direction, instead of putting each mop fair into a separate album, I have instead merged them all into one. You can view this album by following this link.

The Tewkesbury Mop Fair is loved by both the young and the old, and will return again next year. I shall be taking the photos like usual in 2015 if I am available to do so.