The Barnet Horse Fair 2015

The Barnet Horse Fair is a three-day event that first started in 1588 (the 16th century) when Queen Elizabeth I granted a royal charter permitting two fairs a year in June and October.

In 1758, the dates changed to April and September and in 1881, moved to just once a year, thus converting to an annual event. The sale of horses and other livestock declined during the 20th century, and the funfair is now the main attraction. The fair became so popular that Barnet became cockney rhyming slang for hair (Barnet Fair = hair).

The fair was also the subject of a short black and white silent film made by pioneering film maker, Robert Paul, in 1896.

The Barnet Horse Fair gives Travellers an opportunity to get together for a meeting and also sell horses and carts to each other and the general public.

Many Irish Travellers and English Gypsies attend the Barnet Horse Fair each year. Travellers first came to the Barnet Fair in 1921.

The Barnet Horse Fair still operates under its royal Charter, which is issued by Barnet Council.

The traditional dates for the above fair are: 4th, 5th and 6th September 2015.

On Friday 4th September 2015, CommUNITY Barnet attended The Barnet Horse Fair, which took place at Mays Lane. There were amazing opportunities to participate in horse riding activities and be tested for diabetes in the Silver Star Diabetes van. The fair was attended by a high number of guests of all ages: children, adults and a number of photographers, who were willing to get several snap shots of the variety of horses at the fair, either stationary or in action. It was estimated that there were 100 horses present at this year’s event. There were a number of stalls that sold horse reins and other essential items, in addition to beautiful-looking horse statues and horse pictures for the home, ideal for horse lovers. Other stalls which sold non-horse-related products, such as clothes and jewellery, were running as well to cater for the various needs of the guests who turned up in their doves that day, so it was not entirely a horse-related event.

Furthermore, hungry guests were treated to refreshments during their visit and were well looked after to ensure their day was as pleasurable as expected.

To the delight of all guests and organisers, the weather held up well. A huge thank you to the organisers of The Barnet Horse Fair for a fantastic job and for making it a huge success. It was a very intriguing and memorable experience.

Kelly O'Driscoll, Family Liaison Officer and member of the GRT community, presented her views on the event: “The Silver Star Diabetes van was an excellent motive for members of the community to be tested for those who don't regularly access health services.

The draw backs were that because of the forms to be filled in, many people, who are illiterate, shyed away and did not want to give out personal information, which then lead to members then missing out on being tested.

The horse fair, in itself, was a great way for us to get out in to our community and let local community members know what is available in their borough and what services they can access.

Outreach work, like the horse fair, is a crucial part of our work, as it lets us connect with the community and offer support and signposting when most needed.”

We look forward to returning to next year’s fair for what is envisaged to be another spectacular event.

Click on the following links to view photos taken at the above event, as well as the GRT web pages and Facebook page:

1. The Barnet Horse Fair 2015

2. GRTM London

3. Gypsy Roma Traveller Project

4. GRT Facebook Page