Our story about the joys of St Giles Fair reminded one reader of an occasion when a fair wasn’t too welcome in Oxford.

Families in East Oxford were unhappy when they heard that a fair was planned on a council-owned site off Meadow Lane.

They protested that the amusements planned by fair owner William Hebborn in 1976 would create too much noise and cause disturbance, particularly at night.

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However, much to everyone’s surprise and to Mr Hebborn’s credit, he assured everyone that steps would be taken to make sure their peace wasn’t disturbed.

The times of operating would be cut and the noise level strictly controlled, he promised residents.

Local city councillor Margaret Butler told the Oxford Mail she had been approached by families who were angry they had not been warned about the fairground.

She was also incensed that the decision to allow the fair to operate had been taken by council officers and not councillors.

Oxford Mail: She added that she and council officers had had meetings with Mr Hebborn and were satisfied with his concessions.

Mrs Butler said: “Mr Hebborn told me that the fair will not open on Thursday as planned but will now go ahead on Saturday.

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“He has assured me that it will close at 9.30 each night and that the noise will be kept down.”

However, she was still angry about who decided to allow the fair in the first place and had protested to the council’s chief executive.

The council’s recreation manager, John Walker, said: “We have told Mr Hebborn of the problems which have been expressed by local people and he has willingly agreed to co-operate. He is a man of integrity.

“What we are trying to do here is to inject some colour and life into that area and provide something for the youth of the district to do. If there is criticism or any problems when the fair opens, we will think again.”

As we recalled (Memory Lane, September 4), thousands of people flock to St Giles to enjoy the rides and sideshows at the annual fair.

We featured fairgoers from past years on the galloping horses, the Orbiter, the Big Wheel and the helter-skelter.

One stallholder, John Carey, had more to think about than selling sweets – his wife Susan had just given birth to 6lb 15oz baby Jay in the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The fair is usually held on the Monday and Tuesday following the first Sunday after St Giles’ Day - September 1.

The fair dates back to 1625 when it was a parish festival to celebrate the feast of the patron saint, St Giles.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.