• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Oxford: Take a look at St Giles’ Fair in 1891


Sep 3, 2022

A picture of St Giles’ Fair which dates back more than 120 years has been found in an old family photograph album.

The grainy black and white image, taken in 1891, shows a crowd of people enjoying the outdoor fair.

Several stalls, which may have held games or food and drink, are also visible in the image.

READ MORE: Oxford's famous St Giles' Fair returns next week

The photograph was shared with the Oxford Mail by Kidlington resident Jane Gould whose great aunt Emily Hull captured the image.

Oxford Mail: St Giles' Fair in 1891. Picture: Jane GouldSt Giles' Fair in 1891. Picture: Jane Gould

Mrs Hull was a nurse who was believed to have been born around 1874 and lived in Thorncliffe Road, Summertown before moving to the Marston Court care home in Harberton Mead, Oxford, in her old age.

Mrs Gould, 73, described her great aunt as “quite a character” who inspired her to chose a career as a nurse.

The photograph taken in 1891 is a world away from the St Giles’ Fair we know today, which features huge fairground rides and attracts thousands of visitors to the city.

St Giles’ Fair dates back to 1625, making it one of the longest running fairs in the country.

Initially, it began as a parish festival to celebrate the feast of the patron saint, St Giles.

It went on to become a children’s fair and a toy fair in subsequent centuries.

The funfair element of the event grew during mid and late Victorian times.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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