From Barsham to Albion – an exhibition

“This is history. Dig this jazz. And it’s beautiful jazz.”
On June 18th 1971 a meeting was held to consider the proposal for a medieval fair. By the second meeting, held in Mutford on the 30th June, Barsham had been agreed as the most suitable site for such a venture.

Now here we are, forty years on, preparing the exhibition on the years that followed.

Can you help?
How did you come across the fairs?
What are the lasting impressions which come to mind? Which were your favourite moments? What do you think made them special?

Beyond the nostalgia factor is the need to convey what was different about the fairs to the people who never went to any, have never heard of them or weren’t born until they had stopped happening.

It would be for the best if the texts of the exhibition were dominated by quotes from participants rather than by dry explanation. The subjects we are aiming to cover are
East Anglian Arts Trust
The Waveney Clarion
The Fairs:
The network
Planning and construction(s)

If you would like to contribute to this please send us, as soon as possible, your memories, reflections and comments. We probably need to get stuff to the printers in three weeks so don’t delay if you want a chance of your choice words being included.
If you had a particular role, (stallholder, musician, site crew…) please include something on those areas.


One fragment of Albion still in existence is the Albion Kids Show, Hackney’s mobile playscheme since Ted and Dinah landed there in 1984.
Are there other fragments out there, still calmly carrying on. Do you know of any events that have happened since the mid 1980s which have been inspired by the fairs, especially ones still happening?

Poster designs
It would be a tidy touch if we could identify the various artists who produced the posters and leaflets which make up the exhibition. If you have any information to help us with this please get in touch.
We have recently been donated a fine collection of Barsham 1973 and 1975 photos taken by the late Ken Tipple who then worked at Clowes printers in Beccles.
His brother says that he was involved in Barsham and may have done poster designs. Can anyone cast more light on this?
Some of the photos can be seen at

Gaps in the records

A (slightly out of date) list of contents of the Archive can be found at

We are still lacking posters from the following fairs
Downham Market 1978
Eye Show 1978
Lyng 1980
Oaksmere 1981
Westleton 1982
Barsham 1986
All the Follye Fairs
Castle fair in New Buckenham.
Photographs of them will do for the exhibition, though it would be good to add copies to the archive at some point.

There are large gaps in the EAAT minutes: between September 1971 and July 1975. Andy Bell explained the gap thus:
“…as to minutes I should remind you of what now seems like the alarming informality of the exercise – you understand the sweet spirit of anarchy as well as I – there was NO NEED to write things down… Lionel knew what was expected of him; Keith knew what was expected of him; I knew what was expected of me…”

However, he did concede that there were people involved with a more formal approach, and therefore minutes may well have existed.

If anyone can confirm this or even come up with copies it would be appreciated. This does mean that for this exhibition the Arts Trust’s non fair activities are likely to be patchily represented. Hopefully we can remedy this for later shows.


3 Responses to From Barsham to Albion – an exhibition

  1. ifhammond says:

    i have a lot of photos taken at barsham 74/5/6 not quite sure !!….anyways the one with the dragon tunnel for the kids and the clown show on stage with an enthusiastic audience of both kids and adults…….i can try to get them organised if of use ??

  2. Rob says:

    Hi, I have a Harvest Fete at Blackthorpe Rougham Poster. This was from 1988, it has a blue top, green bottom with a picture of a half sun above a big top in the trees. It says Harvest Fete 12am – 12pm Blackthorpe, Rougham, Bury St Edmunds. Music from 7 Kevins, Nik Turners Fabulous Allstars & many more etc. The original draft of this poster was created by my lodger at the time. the draft was then professionally drawn by an artist. You are quite welcome to use this poster. This fair was put on by Green Deserts & was only a one day event to avoid local backlash which had started to occur.

    • fairsarchive says:

      Thanks for the offer Rob, but our cut off point with Green Deserts events is the 1984 Thorpe Woodlands Fair. I recently spoke to someone planning a Green Deserts archive – he may well be interested. Drop us an email to pass on.

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