King’s Lynn Mart

Gallopers at King's Lynn MartFor a period of two weeks each year, starting on February 14 Valentines Day, the Tuesday Market Place pulsates with the sound of loud music, screaming youngsters and whirling machines.

Traditionally, this is the first funfair in the Showmen’s calendar where new rides are tried out and old favourites brought out from winter storage.

Some of us dread the Mart, as we know it usually brings with it a spell of cold weather. But others look forward to all the fun of the fair, having a go on the side stalls and buying candy floss, rock and all types of other sweeties from the mobile shops.

500 years ago, Lynn had two marts and these were important trading fairs which would attract visitors from as far afield as Italy and Germany. Over the years trading fairs became less important and the Mart’s nature changed from a trading fair to a funfair. It also became an annual event.

The Mart is also a memorial to the great work of Frederick Savage, who worked in partnership with the Showmen’s Guild to develop new rides. Mr Savage lived in Lynn, and pioneered the application of steam power to fairground barrel organs and went on to develop a unique industry manufacturing power-driven roundabouts, swings and joy-wheels.

In the 1870’s he founded St Nicholas ironworks on what is now St Nicholas Retail Park off John Kennedy Road.

See Also: National Fairground Archive: King’s Lynn Mart