The original Fair Charter was granted to Loughborough in 1221 for an annual event held on the 31st of July. This was renewed and extended seven years later to cover three days around the Feast of St Peter.
A third Charter was granted a year later in 1228 by Henry III to Hugh Le Despenser, Lord of the Manor of Loughborough, and related to the Feast of All Souls. Changes to the calendar introduced in 1752 resulted in the loss of eleven days and the date of the fair became the 13th of November.
In 1881 local officials obtained an order to stipulate that the opening day of the Fair would always fall on the second Thursday in November but in more recent years this has been further extended and the fair now opens on a Wednesday. The medieval fair was allied to the weekly Thursday Market (which with a variety of other markets is still a key feature of the town) and early fairs were largely related to trading.
As trading fairs declined in other parts of the country during the mid nineteenth century, Loughborough's November Fair continued to be associated with the sale of cattle on the opening Thursday. With the introduction of mechanisation and the impact of steam powered roundabouts by the end of the century the beast market was moved to other locations in the town and public amusements became the main theme of the fair.
The show families associated with Loughborough Fair from this period are still familiar to the present day fairgoers and include famous names such as Collins, Proctor, Hall, Richards and Holland. Approximately 100 individual show people attend each year, presenting between them some 20 large rides, numerous children's roundabouts, game and novelty stalls, and the usual popular refreshment stands.
For a fuller history visit the National Fairground Archive link below.