Barts Fair to return after 150 years | News from St Bartholomew's

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Barts Fair to return after 150 years

Barts Fair old and new

A spectacular city fair last held in 1855 is to return later this month coinciding with the 900th anniversary of St Bartholomew's hospital and church.

Founded during the reign of King Henry I to raise money for the local priory, the Bartholomew Fair became one of London’s pre-eminent summer events.

Held in August each year in the nearby West Smithfield district of the City of London, it included puppet shows, wrestling, fire-eaters and tight-rope walkers.

It was banned in 1855 due to complaints about public debauchery.

A reimagined event returns for 2023 – the 900th birthday of St Bartholomew's Hospital and Barts the Great church – and will include spectacular live performances, night-time projections and walking tours.

There will also be market stalls placed around the City.Bartholomew Fair logo

The City of London Corporation’s policy chairman Chris Hayward said: “We are reimagining the capital’s greatest event and creating something that is truly extraordinary – a new landmark London cultural spectacular.

“With fantastic free fun for everyone, we are bringing the extraordinary story of the City to life, attracting audiences from across the capital and beyond.”

The Bartholomew Fair will take place each Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 31 August to 16 September 2023 across the Square Mile.

Week one (31 August - 2 September) will focus on Paternoster Square, St Paul’s Churchyard, Carter Lane Gardens, Carter Lane and New Street Square.

Week two (7 - 9 September) will be held in Aldgate Square, Middlesex Street and Broadgate.

The final week (14 - 16 September) will be located in Cloth Fair, Smithfield Rotunda Gardens, Smithfield Market, the Cheesegrater, Lloyd’s Building and Leadenhall Market.

All Barts Health staff and their families are warmly invited to take part in the festivities.

A full schedule including performance times is available on the event website.

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