Esoteric London

No. 1077: Rosebery Avenue, EC1

Posted in Amusements, Drink, Entertainment, Events by esotericlondon on April 15, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_7788 copy

Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

Mystic London; Or, Phases Of Occult Life In The British Metropolis – Charles Maurice Davies, 1875:

Chapter XV – Fairlop Friday

AMONGST those customs “more honoured in the breach than the observance” which are rapidly being stamped out by the advancing steps of civilization, are the institutions which we can yet remember as so popular in the days of our childhood, called pleasure fairs. Like that social dodo in a higher section of society, the “three-bottle man,” with the stupid Bacchanalian usages of which he was the embodiment, these fairs are slowly but surely disappearing as education spreads among the masses of the people. In the country a fair is a simple and a necessary thing enough. At certain seasons of the year, according to the staple commodities for the sale of which the assemblage was originally instituted, our bucolic friends gather at early morning with the products of their farms; a good deal of noisy buying, selling, and barter takes place. Later in the day the ladies invest their profits in a little mild finery, or in simple pleasures; and, later still, when the public houses have done their work, comes a greater or lesser amount of riot, rude debauchery, and vice; and then, voila tout – the fair is over for a year. One can easily imagine the result of the transition when, from the quiet country, the fair removes to the city or suburb. In such places every utilitarian element is wanting, and the gilt ginger-bread and gewgaws are only a speciously innocent attraction towards the drinking and dancing booth where the mischief is done. Well-wishers to society are unromantic enough not to regret the decidedly waning glories of these gatherings, from the great Bartholomew Fair itself down to that which, on the Friday of which I write, converted many miles of thoroughfare at the East End of London, as well as one of the prettiest forest scenes still surrounding the metropolis, into a vast al fresco tavern, where the “worship of Bacchus” was as freely indulged as in any heathen temple of ancient times.

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