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Town Moor Newcastle

Founded 1882

Pinder’s Circus all packed up, Town Moor 1930’s the family were also well known to Fenwick. Photo T&W ArchivesThe Town Moor in Newcastle has a long history as a home to Circus, The Races and as a Fair Ground. Initially known as the Temperance Festival, it started in 1882. Barnum & Bailey’s show appeared and 1898 & 1899 with 960 men & 420 horses in 1904 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West appeared with 1380 men & horses. For a few years before 1924 the festival was removed to Jesmond Dene. On 26 June 1925, the entire proceeds of the festival were donated to the Royal Infirmary & cheap tickets were give to poor children. For years the public were presented with circus & side shows, rides and novelties like cinema & innovations including the Iron lung exhibited (1940‘s) & a mobile bank. The huge annual festival was also an opportunity for the traveling folk to meet (and Arthur Fenwick too). It was “The biggest Fun Fair in Europe”. In Fenwick’s scrapbooks there are also many mentions of ongoing struggles between the fairground and the Freeman of the City, about using the Town Moor, with issues similar to today including damage to the ground. In 1924 when the festival returned to the site there were 1/4 million visitors. Circus & Fairground no longer travel together but still use the Town Moor. Ironically there was no festival/Hoppings on the Town Moor in 2013, due to damage in 2012 as a result of horrendous rain at the festival. It went instead to Penshaw Monument, Sunderland. Talks are ongoing about it returning to the Town Moor in 2014.

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