Barton upon Humber Tourism

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Carousels to candyfloss – all the fun of Barton Fair over the centuries

Do you remember those blissful summer days wandering home with a goldfish in a plastic bag that you won at the fair, the scent of candyfloss and fried onions in the air? It sounds poetic, whimsical almost, when we explore the changing nature of Barton Fair, with tales of circus tricks, homemade toffee apples and steam-powered carousels aplenty.

Barton Market Place (Courtesy of Brian Peeps) Barton Market Place (Courtesy of Brian Peeps)

Reading through Barton Parish Magazine archives, a semblance of the Barton Fair began in 1202 and was part of a celebratory religious feast. It was customary for a fair to be held on the first Sunday after the great feast of Whitsun, Trinity Sunday, and was naturally transferred to the following day when the Market in Barton was moved from a Sunday to a Monday in 1202. The fair became chartered in 1248, and apart from its subsequent change to a Thursday (to coincide with the new Corpus Christi Day in about 1312), the Barton Fair continued for many years as a “pleasure fair”.


The fair, being of religious origins, was often held in the church grounds and in 1312, St. Peter’s Church hosted the

Fair 1907 (Beretun Green) courtesy of Dr J B Ball Fair 1907 (Beretun Green) courtesy of Dr J B Ball

festivities as a celebration of its opening. Since then, different fairs are recalled over the years, from a horse fair off Barrow Road to a large fair on Top Field, and the more recent celebrations in Baysgarth Park. The traditional Barton Fair most remembered started in the George Hotel paddock (now Beretun Green bungalows) with offshoots onto the Market Place, Whitecross Street and Brigg Road, before moving to Tofts Road Park for several years. When the fair became known as Barton Carnival, the festivities moved to Baysgarth Park, which is now the hub for many of the town’s community events and celebrations.

More floats from Carnival's gone by More floats from Carnival’s gone by (Courtesy of Brian Peeps)

The arrival of the Barton Fair generated great excitement amongst the children of the town, who would eagerly watch preparations days in advance with their shillings clamouring to be spent. Just inside the George Hotel paddock entrance would be stalls selling toy windmills, dolls and balls on elastic strings, and Castledyke South became known as “Donkey Lane” when the donkeys’ owner “Donkey Brown” conducted rides up the lane and back.

The fair was a place of wonder and traditional fun – you could try your luck on the coconut shy or hoopla, stock up on boiled sweets, ride on the roundabout or simply listen to the organ playing music on a Sunday afternoon. Occasionally, the circus would join the fair with their exotic animals in tow. In the 1960s, the circus came by train into Barton Railway Station and when it was time to leave, an elephant objected so strongly to being loaded into a carriage that it wrapped its trunk around a railing, leaving a large dent!

It is unclear when the fair became rebranded as the Barton Carnival, with floats being decorated by local groups and

Another photograph from Barton Carnival (courtesy of Brian Peeps) Another photograph from Barton Carnival (courtesy of Brian Peeps)

businesses and paraded through the streets. Preparations originally began at Junction Square, where Barton Town Band would be warming up and the floats were dressed. People would don fancy dress, or costumes in a particular theme dictated by the organisers. A traditional parade through the streets of the town would ensue, with the floats arriving at Baysgarth Park to the band playing on the original bandstand. The Carnival itself evolved from an agricultural show with horse jumping, cattle and sheep competitions, to a family run day with children’s races, obstacle courses and games on offer. Whereas the Carnival today boasts live music, dance and acrobatic shows, traditionally music played at Barton Fair was an opportunity to fundraise. In July 1914, the Vicar took charge of an outdoor organ recital and preached to parishioners to fundraise for Hull Infirmary.

Photographs taken at different fairs in Barton over the centuries show the sheer popularity of these events. Crowds

Junction Square (Courtesy of Brian Peeps) Junction Square (Courtesy of Brian Peeps)

of all ages are gathered around the fairground rides and perusing the stalls. Men are in suits, women in dresses and hats, children wear their smartest attire – these annual gatherings were a celebrated tradition and community occasion. What links the Barton Carnival we enjoy today with the early fairs of the 13th century is that same feeling of giddy excitement, that rush of nostalgia, when the lights and sounds and smells of the fair remind us that we were all once a child on their first carousel ride.

Heritage Open Days Events Part 2: Walks and Talks

P3 Far IngsThey say you shouldn’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. Well when it comes to Barton’s Heritage Open Days, we can do plenty of both, and we do it with style. Come along to any of our six walks and talks to see what we mean.

Guided tours and open building – St Peter’s Church – Sunday September 10, 10am – 3pm with guided tours at 10am, 12 noon, and 2pm

St Peter’s is one of the most historically important churches in England. Its Anglo-Saxon tower, and medieval nave and chancel are archaeological and architectural treasures and they are open to the public for free for one day only by kind permission of English Heritage.  Guides will be on hand to help visitors learn more about the historic church and there is an exhibition of medieval life.

 Guided nature walk – Far Ings National Nature Reserve – Thursday September 7, 11am – 12.45pm

A place of serenity given over to nature, where once there was an abandoned industrial waste, Far Ings nature reserve is a popular stop off for migrating birds as well as a nesting site that has seen fledgling Bitterns and Marsh Harriers only this year. Come along on Thursday morning to learn about the nature and nurture of the landscape.

 Hidden Histories Family Trail – Wilderspin National School Museum – Saturday September 9, 10am & 11am

Ever fancied travelling through time? The Hidden Histories Trail will let you take a step into Barton’s past to meet our ancestors and search for relics of the town’s history all while learning the hidden histories of some of the town’s most interesting buildings. When you’re finished, download the app and go all Dr Who whenever you want.

Guided tours and free children’s quiz – The Ropewalk – Saturday September 9, 10.30am and 2.30pm

The Ropewalk is one of the most extraordinary buildings around. At a quarter of a mile long and only a few dozen yards wide, the rope making factory turned arts centre certainly looks unlike any other building you are likely to see. Get to know the history of this strange place, from its beginnings in the 18th century today with guided tours and quizzes to keep the little ones entertained.

 Train up a Child lectures – Wilderspin National School Museum – Saturday September 9, 11.30am – 2.30pm (half hour intervals)

Learn how to set your precious young boys and girls on the path to becoming clever, respectful ladies and gentlemen using Samuel Wilderspin’s ground breaking new method.

With the young Queen Victoria on the throne and the British Empire encircling the globe, Wilderspin believed that every British youngster, rich or poor, ought to be well educated and he saw to it with the aid of his lectures among many other efforts.

Guided tours – Tyrwhitt Hall – September 10, 2 – 4pm

Tyrwhitt Hall is a shining gem in Barton’s medieval crown. A timber framed great hall restored by the late, great Philip Pape, it is open to the public for one day only with no entrance fee. The hall will be hosting two guided tours at 2 and 3pm, which are expected to fill up quickly, so book soon.

With less than a week to go until the Heritage Open Days, we are getting everything ready and looking forward to seeing you there. Don’t forget to check the relevant pages for more information and to ring up and book where necessary on the numbers below.

Don’t forget to check the relevant pages for more information and to ring up and book where necessary on the numbers below.

Heritage Open Days Events Part 1: Special Events and One Offs

RopewalkEveryone from near and far will get the chance to take part in a range of exciting one off events taking place between September 7 and 10, Barton’s Heritage Open Days 2017. From walks and talks to special openings and children’s quizzes, it’s all there.

These two special blogs will give readers a sneak preview of what is to come over the long weekend, so you can decide which events to put at the top of your list. Continue reading »

Theatre through the ages in Barton

If William Shakespeare is correct in writing “all the world’s a stage”, then that certainly seems to apply to Barton-upon-Humber, which continues to celebrate a proud tradition of theatrical performance, writes Jo Marwood.  Many venues in the town, from the historic Joseph Wright Hall to the natural landscape of Baysgarth Park, have played host to professional and amateur performances alike over the years, and 2017 is no exception.

With two family performances in Baysgarth Park already under its belt, including internationally renowned Bash Street Theatre’s “Bellevue Hotel”, and a busy schedule at Ropery Hall, the Temperance Hall (Assembly Rooms) and Joseph Wright Hall planned for autumn, the town certainly has little opportunity to pause for dramatic effect! Continue reading »

Wildlife Day at the Waters’ Edge Visitor Centre and Country Park

This coming Sunday, July 30, the Waters’ Edge Visitor Centre and Country Park is giving everyone the opportunity to get out and enjoy their local countryside while learning about the wildlife that calls it home.  The park will be hosting its biggest event of the year; a family focused, activity filled Wildlife Day. To get involved and support local wildlife, just pop along to the Waters’ Edge in Barton between 10am and 5pm on Sunday. Most events are free and it’s a great day out.

Special events will be taking place throughout the day, all over the country park and the centre itself for children and adults alike. See noble birds of prey in all their airborne glory, watch really wild drama courtesy of Rhubarb Theatre, go bug hunting, make pottery snails and garden plaques in the Activity Zone and learn about bees, woodlands, flowers and natural medicines during a range of walks and talks throughout the day. Continue reading »

The ‘Big Daddy‘ of Bike Nights

After 20 years of burning rubber and shiniBBNng chrome, Barton’s annual Bike Night has become as much a part of the fabric that makes up Barton-upon-Humber as the town’s roads or houses. A gold star day in the diaries of bikers around Lincolnshire and beyond, the night draws more than 15,000 people to town from as far away as Holland and Cornwall to enjoy all things two wheeled.

In anticipation of this year’s Bike Night on Saturday, July 8, we talked to organiser, Barrie Newton about the history, the memories, and the excitement behind the event.  He didn’t mince his words.

“It’s the big one,” he told me.  “The others are all great and I go to many of them, but it’s the big daddy of them all.  It’s the biggest public show of bikes in the area and a meeting of bikers and like-minded people and a really big family friendly night.  It’s exceptional that the town accommodates Bike Night. No other town can accommodate Bike Night how Barton can. It’s a right proper community event.”

Continue reading »

The Sounds of the Humber – from concrete to opera

Photo credit: David Lund Photo credit: David Lund

The gentle hum of traffic crossing the Humber Bridge has provided a backdrop to the lapping of water, chirruping of wading birds and wind tickling the rushes since it first opened to traffic 36 years ago tomorrow, and this year marks 40 years since the cable spinning began to connect those two iconic towers writes Jo Marwood.

From the first “Humber Bridge Act” of 1959, to the official opening by Her Majesty The Queen in 1981, residents on both sides of the Humber closely observed its construction as the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world.  Indeed, the Humber Bridge enjoyed this accolade for 17 years, until Japan’s Akashi Kaiky? Bridge opened in April 1998. Continue reading »

Sue Wilsea on The Fathom Writers’ Showcase and the Local Literary Scene

Next Wednesday at 7.30pm, local writers of all levels, ages and backgrounds will be reading their work to the people of Barton in the Ropery Hall bar.  This is all down to the Fathom Writers’ Showcase, a free event organised by Sue Wilsea so that her students can unveil their work to the public.

Past Forward project worker Jamie Smith spoke to Sue about the showcase. Continue reading »

Contact Details

Tourist Information
Telephone: 01652 631500

Barton Town Council
Telephone: 01652 633598

Barton-upon-Humber Tourism Partnership
Telephone: 01652 660380