The May Fair, London c. 18th century


The May Fair Riots:
Just to inform you my friends, a word of warning, as the May Fair became particularly brutal in the early part of the century.  Here is an actual account from an eighteenth century newspaper of the madness that became the May Fair:

26-28 May 1702, St. James's, May 25:
"Whereas on Tuesday the 12th of this instant May, a riot was committed in May Fair, in which (amongst other disorders) John Cooper of St. James Parish, Constable, being with other Constables and Officers, employed in putting in execution Her Majesty's Proclomation for the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue, and for the Preventing and Puniching of Vice, Prophaneness, and Immorality, he (amongst others) was dangerously wounded, whereof he is since dead" [3].

First Stop: The May Fair
Our fist stop is Greenwich for the annual May Fair.  The May Fair originally beganas a fertility celebration on May Day [1].  Traditionally this fair is to be held during the Easter season.  And being that the weather is so pleasant, who would not enjoy a Greenwich jaunt on the sunny first day of May!
Keep in mind, my friends that this fair originated as a religious celebration, when we observe some of the more lewd and scandalous aspects of the May Fair.
I should warn all of you this fair is not for the faint of heart. In fact, many contend it is not for ladies like myself at all. A local newspaper publication recently stated, "can any rational men imagine that her Majesty would permit so much lewdness as is committed in May Fair" [2].

To the left are the rope dancers, it is even said that a dancer died at the fair after a horrific accident. Yet, I find myself enthralled by their acrobatic acts, albeit dangerous. Although the May Fair has some of the same entertainment and delicacies as the Bartholomew Fair, which we will visit later, many are appalled by the prostitution evident by the whores dotting the landscape. Often, I have been scared for my own life because of the riots at the fair, and usually what sparks the riots is the lewd women. I would not be surprised if the Queen Anne attempted to rid the Fair of all the whores.

Oh, look just ahead is Barrady, a comedian. He is one of the best entertainers at the Fair, and we will probably see him throughout our journey because he performs at numerous fairs. I am getting hungry--let us find a bite to eat!!!!! Fairs, especially the May Fair and the Bartholomew Fair have the best food in the land.


















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