No Mop Fairs this year for Marlborough – the first time that the Town hasn’t staged a Mop Fair since WWII. Originally scheduled for the Saturdays of 10 and 17 October, on the advice of Public Health Wiltshire the Council along with the Showman’s Guild who run the fairs every year Councillors regrettably acknowledged that staging any fair this October would be impossible.
At last night’s (Monday 10 August) Extraordinary meeting of the Full Town Council Town Clerk, Shelley Parker informed Councillors that “Following discussion with officers, Public Health Wiltshire has confirmed today that in current circumstances it cannot support the running of the 2020 Mop Fairs”.
Councillors expressed disappointment but understanding of Public Health’s unavoidable judgement, and agreed to support the Showman’s Guild regarding their inevitable decision not to hold the 2020 Mop Fairs.
Mayor Mark Cooper asked Councillors to consider what else the Town could do to mark the two fairs as the Mops are “an important part of the Town’s history and heritage”, and show the Town’s commitment to the Showman’s Guild “who have done such a tremendous job for this town”
Councillor Nick Fogg was keen to take the opportunity to honour Billy Whitelegg, former National President of The Showman’s Guild “who has been a great friend to this town for seventy years”.
Following the meeting the Town Council issued the following statement: “The Town Council and the Showmen’s Guild recognise that with such a high attendance at the annual Mops the risk of the transmission of the COVID virus would be high. The Town Council will be working with the Guild to ensure that the Mops are still marked this year (a low key event on the first Mop Saturday, 10 October.
So, sadly no opportunity this year for local landowners to find prospective employees to work on their estates. A would-be housekeeper would carry a mop (or brush head) to signify their skills, and it was from this that the name ‘Mop’ Fair originated. Why Mop Fairs on two consecutive weeks? If the employment decision made in week one didn’t work out, then either or both parties could look for an alternative employer/employee the following Saturday.