MOP FAIR AT CHIPPING NORTON
It's the annual Mop Fair again, when Chippy's High Street is closed to through traffic, the area being given over to rides, music, hot dogs and LOTS of noise.
The Mop Fair is a tradition that dates back centuries, to the time after the Black Death of the 1300s, when widespread deaths from the plague meant that labour was often short, and hiring fairs were held to allow workforce and employers to meet.
But where did the term 'Mop' Fair come from? According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898, so-called 'Statute' or job-seeking fairs were widely held.
Different trades attached a different item to their hats - cart drivers added a piece of whipcord, shepherds a strand of wool and so on. When hired they added streamers to show they had a job.
Some days later, a second fair was held for those not already hired - the Mop Fair - which mopped up the spare talent left on the job market.