Whitsun Fair. London’s Best Memorial Plaque?

Near Bow Church DLR station, where the Old Poplar Town Hall now stands, is the site of the annual Bow Fair. Referenced as early as 1630 and hugely popular in the 18th and early 19th Century, it took place the day after Whitsun (the Christian festival of Pentecost) on the 7th Sunday after Easter.

It was sometimes referred to as ‘Green Goose Fair’ firstly because they often sold roasted geese, but the name doubled as slang for ‘loose women.’
“The Three merry wives of Green-Goose Fair” poem, published anonymously in 1694 contains the verse:

“The Fair is full of Feasting then,
from one end to the other,
And Maids are Treated by the Men,
who can’t their Passions smother:
Then they to Courting, and frequent Sporting,
with Kisses out of measure…”

It seems the fair, and behaviour associated with it, started to get out of control because that last ever recorded was in 1823. The plaque commemorating the event is on Fairfield Road and reads:

SITE OF THE ANNUAL WHITSUN FAIR
STOPPED IN 1823 DUE TO ROWDYISM AND VICE

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