KEEN photographer Harold Sparrey was out with his camera to record the work that goes into setting up the Mop Fair.

The annual event, also known as the October Fair or Hop Fair, opened yesterday (Monday) and will close later today (Tuesday). It’s arrival in town has been particularly welcome after the disappointment of last year's cancellation due to the pandemic.

The declaration of the official opening of the fair was made by the town crier at 5pm yesterday.

Mayor Andrew Manns said: "After the difficult times that the people, traders, and businesses of Ledbury have had, it will be a welcome return to something more normal.

“With a bit of luck we shall also see bonfire night and the Christmas lights switch-on.”

During the fair, the High Street and Homend, including a section of Bye Street, has been closed to traffic from 4.30pm each day.

While the modern Mop Fair is all about fun and frivolity, it originally served as as a sort of labour exchange, where people looking for work would gather with the tools of their trade, such as mops.

It also marked the end of the hop harvest, a season when anyone would have found temporary employment. 

The fair was first recorded in 1138 and was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1584.