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Opened by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Sir Sidney Pearson-Hill. The Charter of King Edward I, the first charter to refer to the city fairs, makes it clear that a fair on the Feast of St. Matthew was already established in Nottingham in 1284. It is possible this occasion has come down through the ages to be today's Goose Fair particularly as, until 1752, it was always held on St. Matthew's Day (September 21). On that day there was worship at what was then the tiny church of St. Mary. The Danes had a settlement in Nottingham and it is very likely they established a market. As markets and fairs are known to have common origins, they may well have also held a fair. So, it is just possible that Goose Fair could have its roots in an event which occurred more than a thousand years ago. When the calendar was revised in 1752, omitting 11 days from September, the date of Goose Fair was switched to October 2 and this remained the starting date until 1875. The year of the calendar change was one of the few occasions Goose Fair was not held. The plague caused another cancellation in 1646 and it was suspended during the two World Wars this century. The original purpose of Nottingham's autumn fair was trade. It was held in the Old Market Square, with its sprawl of makeshift stalls and produce, and goods scattered all over the ground. Thousands of people, from beggars and pickpockets to wealthy tradesmen looking for new stocks are crowded into the square. There is a cacophony of noise as the shouts of tradesmen and farmers advertising their wares complete with the noise of farm stock and the chants and songs of minstrels and other entertainers. Jugglers, tumblers, dancers and men on stilts performed. Freak animals - a five-footed sheep, a two-headed horse - were on show for a small entrance fee. Most of the food on offer is produced locally, and it became famous for its cheeses. During the nineteenth century, the character of Goose Fair changed considerably. With the coming of the railways, transport became easier and people no longer had to stock up with goods in the autumn. Gradually, Goose Fair became just an excuse for a good time. Some people also began to question the need to continue Goose Fair, they considered in particular that eight days was much too long for what had become a largely pleasure festival. So, in 1876 it was reduced to five days and, four years later, to three. However, these changes coincided with the introduction of more sophisticated roundabouts and amusement devices. Steam and, later on, electricity played an enormous part in their development. The fair gradually spread to other streets in the vicinity and, with the growth of traffic, there were complaints about congestion and disruption to the day to day life of the city. By the 1920's the City Council had plans to develop the Market Area and in the new scheme of things there was no place for Goose Fair. On the Sunday evening before the last Fair in the Market Place, a public meeting of 12,000 people was held in the Square to protest about the move. Speakers included Pat Collins, President of the Showman's Guild, and a resolution was passed objecting to the move. Despite this public outcry, the Council stood firm and in 1928 a new site was found on The Forest Recreation Ground, a mile or so to the north of the Old Market Square. The fair continues to be nationally renowned, with newer and larger rides. By 1990, only the Snake Girl, Carousels, boxing ring and Mouse Town were left from the traditional rides and today only the carousels remain of these, replaced by high power hydraulic 'thrill' rides. The fair is, however, as popular today as it ever was.