Seeing the carousel last week with the beautiful horses brought back memories of the fair on Midsummer Common in Cambridge – historically the annual fair was on Stourbridge Common in Cambridge. It happened every year when I was a child, and I guess it still does. When we were at junior school, we were taught history, starting with local history, so the history of Cambridge which had grown up round the bridge over what was then the Granta – and Grantabridge or Grantebrycge gradually became Cambridge over the river Cam. The Granta still exists, it is one of the Cam’s tributaries… how many times have I swum and boated on the Cam and the Granta… but that’s another story, back to the Midsummer Fair.
The original fair wass medieval, dating back at least a thousand years, and along Newmarket Road there are streets which bear the name of what was the old rows of stalls selling particular produce such as garlic Row, Mercers Row and Oyster Row… and others which have disappeared and I have forgotten. It probably started in the late 1100’s to raise money for the Leper Chapel – leprosy was a dreaded disease brought back by the crusaders.
The fair was a big event when I was little, it seemed so exciting and all the rides and stalls… I remember my sister Andy once won five goldfish by getting ping-pong balls into empty goldfish bowls… the stall holder wasn’t pleased!
But Always loved Jollity Farm, which did not just have horses but had a wonderful selection of other beasts. The horses were my favourite and I love them still
I have a fancy to write a children’s story about a carousel horse which escapes!