The Hoppings

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The Hoppings in 2006

The Hoppings is an annual travelling funfair held on the Town Moor in Newcastle upon Tyne, during the last week in June. It is one of Europe's largest travelling funfairs.[1][2][3] In recent years, over the course of the nine days it is held, it regularly attracts around 300,000 visitors.[4] Its forerunner was The Blaydon Races, which was held in Blaydon.[citation needed]

Several origins have been suggested for the name, most of which relate to dancing. The word "hopping", means a dance in Middle English (Old fairs included dancing). Another idea stems from the clothing which the travellers used to wear; that being of old, sack-like tops and pants. Clothing often became infested with fleas from the animals that travelled with the fair. People were often seen "jumping" or "hopping" about itching from the bites which they received. Or the name may derive from the Anglo-Saxon word "hoppen" meaning funfair.

The fair began as a Temperance Fair in 1882.[5] It was scheduled to coincide with Race Week at Newcastle Racecourse, during which the Northumberland Plate was awarded.

Aerial view of the Hoppings in 1960

The fair took place at Jesmond Dene from 1914–1918 and returned to the more spacious Town Moor, just north of the city centre, in 1919.[citation needed] There was no Festival on the Moor between 1920 and 1923, but it returned in June 1924, where it continued annually until 1946; a non-Showmen's Guild Fair was held that year but proved to be unpopular.[citation needed] The Guild showmen returned in 1947 and the Hoppings was a success with a record attendance.[citation needed]

The Hoppings inspired the song Katie Was There by Eric Boswell which was part of his 1983 musical Katie Mulholland, based on Catherine Cookson's novel, staged by Newcastle Playhouse.

In 2013 after a dispute between the Showmen's Guild and Newcastle City Council over pitch and rent terms, alternate fairs were held at Nuns Moor Newcastle upon Tyne and Herrington Country Park, Sunderland.[6][7] Newcastle council held an alternate event with "broader appeal" which included a funfair held on the Town Moor.[8] The Hoppings returned to the Town Moor in 2014 after the dispute was resolved.[9]

In 2020, the Hoppings was cancelled due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic,[4] the decision was taken jointly by Newcastle City Council the Freemen of Newcastle who manage the Moor.[10]

Panorama of The Hoppings, 2006


  1. ^ "Millions go hopping mad". The Independent. 29 June 1995. Retrieved 7 October 2013. Europe's largest travelling fair, the Hoppings, is a week of frenzied activity.
  2. ^ "Plans to postpone historic Hoppings". 15 March 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Newcastle Town Moor Fair". National Fairground Archive. Retrieved 7 October 2013. In terms of size Newcastle is perhaps the biggest fair in Britain, if not in Europe
  4. ^ a b "Coronavirus: Hoppings fair cancelled due to virus outbreak". BBC NEWS. 26 March 2020.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lanagan, Paul; (2010). The Hoppings: Newcastle's Town Moor Fair. ISBN 978-0-9555059-0-4
  7. ^ "Sunderland to host Hoppings–style funfair after Newcastle event cancelled". Sunderland Echo. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  8. ^ "Axed Newcastle Hoppings to be replaced by new community event". BBC News. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Hoppings cancelled for 2020 as Newcastle battles to restrict spread of coronavirus". Evening Chronicle. 25 March 2020.

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Coordinates: 54°59′31″N 1°37′59″W / 54.992°N 1.633°W / 54.992; -1.633