By Michèle Copeland
Which residents of Hurstpierpoint would not have heard of, or been to, the St Lawrence Fair? Yet how many of us know its history and the role that the Harris family has played over 100 years?
Though the Fair has been around for over 700 hundred years in Hurstpierpoint, it presumably started then to coincide with a cattle market trading day, which would have been very popular, first on Church Green (where the War Memorial now is) - the 1897 OS map has the area around the crossroads as ‘Market Place’. Later it moved a short distance away to the north to Lamb Platt, where London Terrace and North Terrace are now, opposite the entrance to Trinity Road. There are even entries in the school log citing occasions when the cattle spilled over into the road and prevented children going to school!
However, the link to Hurstpierpoint with the Harris brothers started in the 1860s and was made by John Harris, who had five sons and was a timber merchant with a yard in nearby Cuckfield.
He came to the fairground business at the time of horse powered roundabouts and went on, with his sons, to be the first operator of steam roundabouts in Sussex. They first opened at Brighton Racecourse in Victorian times by supplying ‘amusements’ to fairgrounds .
[The full article is featured on the pages of the July 2017 issue of Hurst Life magazine]