For more than 700 years Pinner has hosted the annual Pinner Fair, one of the largest in London. The fair, which is held in May each year, has a lengthy and fascinating history that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Pinner Fair’s beginnings can be found in the fourteenth century when the community was a centre of agricultural activity. To sell their goods and livestock, local farmers and traders would congregate in Pinner. The fair was first conducted to commemorate the feast of St. John the Baptist, who served as the local church’s patron saint.
From there, the fair expanded in scope and acclaim over time. Pinner gained notoriety for its lace-making industry in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the fair developed into a centre for the industry. Visitors from all across the country would travel to the fair to purchase the lace manufacturers’ creations.
The original market stalls at Pinner Fair were joined by a variety of attractions and amusements in the 18th century, resulting in a more varied celebration. Rides, games, and other attractions including puppet shows and street entertainers were available for visitors to enjoy.
Pinner Fair underwent additional alterations throughout the 19th century. The fair expanded into a significant regional event once the railway was built in the 1830s, attracting a large number of visitors from London and other neighbouring towns. Every year, new rides and attractions were introduced as the fair continued to change.
The Pinner Fair had established itself as a yearly event by the turn of the 20th century. Local companies and groups actively participated in organising and managing this significant event for the neighbourhood. The fair was viewed as a chance to introduce tourists to the hamlet and to support regional business and industry.
Pinner Fair was put on hold during the Second World War but was brought back in 1946 and has been held every since, except of course for 2020 and 21 due to the pandemic.
The Pinner Fair is still a well-known and cherished occasion in the community today. Each year, thousands of people come to enjoy carnival rides, traditional market stalls, and other attractions. Together with a variety of live music and entertainment, the fair also offers some of the best street food that can be found across the borough. The fair is particularly famous for its doughnuts and coffee stalls that frequent the fair each year, and formerly Pinner Panto before it was cancelled.
Pinner Fair has a lengthy history, but it has not always been without controversy. Residents of the area protested the fair in the 19th century, citing the noise, litter, and pollution that were connected with it. Concerns about the fair’s effects on the neighbourhood’s ecology have arisen in recent years, and some locals have called for a reduction in size.
Pinner Fair continues to play a significant role in the village’s cultural legacy despite these obstacles. It is evidence of Pinner’s resiliency and flexibility as well as the allure of traditional fairs and festivals – something missing from many London boroughs. The fair serves as a reminder of the rich history in Harrow and of the value of honouring and maintaining regional traditions as Pinner develops and changes.