Photo of Superstar fairground ride

Three Mop fairs for the price of two in Cirencester

by Graham Downie

2021 was one of those years when the Cotswold town of Cirencester played host to three rather two Mop fairs

Usually, the first is held on the Monday before October 11, with the second on the Monday following that date. But in the year when the 11th falls on a Monday that, too, becomes the opportunity for a fair. And by a neat coincidence, this treble comes up every 11 years!

When it last happened, in 2010, the Mops were held on a town centre car park to which they had been moved some years before. In 2015, however, the local council agreed to restore the fairs to their traditional home in the broad market place and surrounding streets. It is a marvellous setting for the Mops, with the cathedral-like parish church – built on the proceeds of the medieval wool trade – dominating the amusements.

With three Mops at Cirencester this year lessees Nichols Amusements had a busy time in October, oscillating between there and Buckingham where they stage that town’s two annual Mops. With the firm not operating its Dodgems this autumn, there were changes in the line-up at Cirencester, with even some variations over the three fairs.

South Wales Section member Denzil Danter, who was on a grand tour of the Midland Mops this year, occupied part of the Dodgem position with his Waltzer as well as presenting his Bomber in a side street.

George De Vey Jnr’s Freak Out appeared at the first Mop, but a technical problem prevented its appearance at the second. His father-in-law, Keith Stanworth, stepped in at the last moment to fill the breach with his Twist before doubling back to take up his usual position at the Warwick Mops.

The other major attractions included Luke Shufflebottom’s Super Star, Thomas Benson’s Meteorite, John Flack’s Jumper, Darren Williams’ Casino Royale Miami and Charles Muggeridge’s Fun House, making its first appearance since its owner had succumbed to a bout of Covid-19.

Mop fairs are a rich tradition in the Midlands and the West. Read Graham Downie’s round-up from 2021 in the January issue of the new look World’s Fair by subscribing here

Picture: Luke Shufflebottom’s Super Star at Cirencester.

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