Park free of charge for the Charter Fair

Buckingham Charter Fair.'131012M-C601 ENGPNL00120131210171016
Buckingham Charter Fair.'131012M-C601 ENGPNL00120131210171016
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Parking will be free this year for people to enjoy all the fun of the fair.

Buckingham’s historic Charter Fair comes into town on Friday, October 17, and opens to the public on Saturday, October 18.

Parking will be free in Cornwall’s Meadow Car Park on Saturday, thanks to Aylesbury Vale District Council.

The High Street and Market Hill will be closed to traffic from 10am on Saturday, and any cars still in place when the road closure kicks in will be towed away.

The fair will be opened at 1pm by the dodgems by Mayor of Buckingham Lisa O’Donoghue and the town crier.

And as usual, the showmen, Nichols Brothers, are offering free rides for disabled children and their carers for the first hour. Carers should call Buckingham Town today on 01280 816426 for a sticker, or get one from them by the dodgems at 1pm tomorrow.

The fair will shut down at 10.30pm. It is then dismantled and taken out of town on Sunday – returning the following Friday for a repeat performance.

This year is the 460th anniversary of the Charter Fair, after Buckingham’s Charter of Incorporation was given to the town by Queen Mary Tudor in 1554.

One right bestowed on the borough was that of holding regular markets and occasional fairs, and this tradition has continued, virtually unbroken for over four centuries.

The 400th anniversary of the charter in 1954 was marked by a big celebration in Buckingham that looked back to how the fair would have looked like over the centuries.

There was dancing, choirs and appearances by historical figures, with King Henry VIII popping into the Chantry Chapel, and an ox was roasted in the market square.

Roasting oxen was an old Buckingham tradition that had been revived in the early 1900s. One year, probably 1907, a London photographer arrived in the morning to take pictures of the crowd around the ox.He rushed them back to London by rail, developed them, ran back to Euston to catch a train back to Buckingham and them showed them as living ‘moving’ pictures the same evening in a Bioscope (primitive cinema) he had erected in front of Buckingham’s Town Hall.

Thus, the first movies seen in Buckingham were of Buckingham folk waiting for their ‘collops’ of beef to cook.

A century ago, 1,500 or more visitors would come to Buckingham’s Charter Fairs on special charter trains.

Over the last 25 years and more, Denis Tunks born, to an old north Bucks family, has liaised between the showmen and the town council.

With thanks to local historian, Ed Grimsdale