Introduction and Main Index

The story so far..... the view from 2022
The 'new era' of Winsham Street Fairs was started in1985, with its roots in a long tradition in Winsham of carnivals and similar celebrations. In 1262, the Bishop of Bath & Wells granted the village of Winsham a charter to hold an annual street fair on 29th June, the feast of St. Peter & Paul.
 Unfortunately, no records have been found giving any details of Street Fairs before 1985, although they flourished during pre-industrial revolution times, and probably well into the 19th Century.

Initially,  photographs of the 1985 event commemorating the Monmouth Rebellion were very scarce.  Over a ten year period, some did emerge, and  notably, in 2012,  Jim Loaring provided a considerable collection of additional pictures of Street Fairs over the years leading up to the Millennium, mostly taken by his parents, Arthur and Roma Loaring. Ann Bevis also contributed some pictures from her father's collection in 2018. These have enhanced considerably the collection of pictures of the earlier Street Fairs displayed in this gallery. In recent years, with the advent of digital photography, the volume and quality of pictures has improved, although at present we have no pictures of the 2004 event, something the web museum would like to remedy. We appeal to all visitors to this site to help remedy this by checking their own collection of pictures and allowing us to reproduce them for everyone's enjoyment.
In addition to photographs, the Web Museum has obtained details of the organisation that went into the 1985 Street Fair, the first to be held since in Winsham since the seventeenth century. To see these very interesting documents CLICK HERE. They give an insight into the heavy task that falls to the Winsham Street Fair Committee in organising each event. As soon as one Street Fair ends, planning and fund raising for the next begins.

Reproductions of the printed programmes also are displayed when available, together with photographs and programmes of the drama events that have also been part of some of the Street Fairs , together with some of the fund raising events that have been held. Just Click on the links when you see them.

Street Fairs  are usually held on the last Saturday of June, in line with the original Charter. The success of each event is inevitably dependant on the weather, although even during the worst rainfall, the crowds that come from a wide surrounding area, invariably enjoy themselves.

In 2013 a new Street Fair Committee was formed, replacing the committee, which was, for many years led by Colin  and Margaret Slade . The problem facing the new committee was how to inject  new ideas, without changing the very popular character of the event.

Although times were changing, entertainment events aside, the backbone of the Street Fair remained the many small 'charity' stalls that took the opportunity to raise money for one good cause or another. They provided colour and entertainment, with participation sometimes being rewarded by a small prize. Over the years they had proved their popularity; but the stalwarts who used to enjoy running such stands were getting fewer. The Street Fair was finding it more difficult to attract the number of stands to make a good show.

On the positive side, the Street Fair continued to attract many small businesses -craft stalls-weavers, jewellery, walking stick makers-all sorts of food,  drink and Ice-cream vendors and so-on.

The passing years also made clear that more volunteers were needed to mount such a relatively large event. Younger people were needed to take on the challenge.

When the new committee was formed. Roger Beer, who had been involved in the Street Fair for many years, became chairman of the committee, and gathered around him Steve Weller  as vice-chairman, and recruited some younger people  such as Harriet Dougherty as Secretary, and Dominic Douglass as Treasurer to form the basis of the new group. Sue Ward-Rice also joined to help with administration and fund raising.

The 2014  event would be the first Street Fair to be organised by the new group.

The Winsham Street Fairs that followed were all successful until the fateful year of 2020,when the Corona virus pandemic struck, resulting in many deaths and hospitalisations in the UK, especially among older people. An account of how life in Winsham changed during this period can be found by clicking HERE, but one result was the cancellation of the 2020 event , with the intention of holding it in the following year, only to be cancelled again as the pandemic continued. It was not until 2022 that it was considered relatively safe to hold the event. Government restrictions had been lifted , and although the virus continued to infect people in high numbers, due to high levels of vaccination which generally reduced its severity, it was decided to reinstate the event.

During the 'gap' period the Street Fair Management Committee  experienced many changes, due to retirement and moves from the parish. However, the parish also gained new residents, so replacement members were found to take on the considerable effort required to stage such an event. The 2022 event took place under the leadership of  Alison and John Llewellyn.

Below is an index that will take you to pictures and information on all but one of the Street Fairs held since 1985.

JSS-July 2022

(Select topic and left-click on picture) 

'Flower Power'

'Food & Farming'
'Celebrating Rio 2016'
'Winsham by the Sea'
'Best of British
'Swinging Sixties'
'Story Book'

or any information as to the theme.
Please contact: 
'Christmas in June'
'Back to the Future'
'The Wild West'
'Winsham Wonderland'
'Roaring Twenties'
'The Pitchfork Rebellion'

The Street Fair Committee do not aim to make a profit. As a result, in order to raise the money each 'gap year' to fund the set up of the next Street Fair. This leads to other fun events which are always well supported

Click HERE to return to Browse Index