Marlborough's ancient Mop fairs face a bumpy ride

This Is Wiltshire: MP Claire Perry goes for a spin on one of the fairground rides with Marlborough Mayor Andrew Ross          (32833/10) PICTURES BY ADAM DALE MP Claire Perry goes for a spin on one of the fairground rides with Marlborough Mayor Andrew Ross (32833/10) PICTURES BY ADAM DALE

Marlborough's Mop Fairs do not please everyone as many traders long for them to be relocated from the High Street to the Common.

Jeweller David Dudley said he had spoken to many shop owners who were fed up with the noise, smell and disruption caused by the two ancient fairs on succeeding Saturdays in October.

But MP Claire Perry, who was at her first Mop in an official capacity on Saturday, said: “The Mop is absolutely brilliant. The fact that it takes place in the High Street is what makes it special.”

Traders though do not all agree. Mr Dudley said: “I went up and down the High Street and I was impressed by the feelings of many traders. The women’s fashion shops are fed up with the stench of diesel from all the generators impregnating their clothes. The noise is so loud you can’t hear yourself think and many of the people I spoke to said they got headaches from the fumes.

“They are now saying enough is enough. I think Wiltshire Council suggested that, because of all the disruption caused by road works this year, the Mop should move to the Common but the town council said no.

“They keep saying it is good for the town, but that’s rubbish. It is good for the pubs and restaurants but not for anyone else.” But Ramon Henderson, president of the Showmen’s Guild, said the majority of Marlborough people welcome the Mops, which date back to the reign of King John in the 13th century, and attract a lot of people to the town.

He said: “It would take an Act of Parliament to move the Mop to the Common and I don’t think the majority of people want that. It is a shame that a few people complain about one of the best events in Wiltshire.”

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