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Jed Famous juggling on uni-cycle

The Cockermouth Georgian festival took part over 4 days in May with the highlight being the Georgian Fair on Saturday 5th May. Taking part in the beautiful Georgian market place and along the main street which has been renovated since the floods and is now looking better than ever, dozens of people dressed in costume and provided entertainment. The date was set at 1778 the year John Paul Jones invaded nearby Whitehaven and the mother of poet William Wordsworth died whilst he lived in Cockermouth as a boy of eight. His father's house, now a National Trust property, has been renovated to that period and was open to the public.

Stalls on Cockermouth Main Street

Half the road was closed and stalls were set up along the street with various crafts for sale along with information and charity stalls.

Traditional Dancing

A dance group called Regency Re-Jigged performed a selection of traditional dances from the Georgian era, which included the once risqué dance My Lord Byron's Maggot, on the main street.

violin player Bagpipe player

The dancers were accompanied by live music from a pair of musicians playing fiddle and bodhrán. From further down the street came the skirl of the bagpipes.

Clog Dancing

Accompanied by concertina player these two clog dancers did a few sessions featuring some rather impressive steps.

Cumberland Militia

A marching display was given by this military re-enactment group whose leader kept in character to explain a little of the soldier's life in the eighteenth century.

Magician produces white dove Magician ineteracts with victim

One of the entertainers who kept audiences amused throughout the day was the magician who with a droll banter performed a series of traditional tricks, which are always more impressive when seen live.

Morris Dancers in car-park

There were also several troupes of Morris dancers performing at various locations throughout the day - this particular group were performing in the car-park at the back of the market place where there was also some Maypole dancing.

Black faced morris dancers on Main Street

Among the morris teams was this group of Border style morris dancers (that's Welsh Border not Scottish) with the traditional ragged costumes and blacked faces.

Traditional Music

Another group is seen here preparing to perform some songs accompanied by traditional instruments on the main street.

History guide

History was brought to life with a series of short plays at various locations in the town and a guide took people from one to the other.

Hiring fair

One such play illustrated how young people would be taken on at hiring fairs to become servants in the houses of the wealthy.

Girl clubbing

Street theatre was performed all day by several different acts. This group performed macabre comedy and got plenty of big laughs from the crowd that gathered.

Tongue skewered

Of course the slightly gory bits really appealed to the kids especially as it was always served with a large dollop of over acting that turned it into a living cartoon.

Being shot by cannon in street

The finale of this particular show involved a large canon, a trick that went wrong and a very loud bang which shocked everyone despite the fact they were half expecting it.

Georgian costume parade

The afternoon finished with a grand parade through the town of all those that had dressed in Georgian costume.

Procession of Georgian characters

The procession started at the market place and marched down the main street and over the bridge to the memorial gardens.

Crowd gathered for race

In this picturesque setting, beside the River Derwent opposite Wordsworth House, a large crowd gathered to watch the sedan chair race.

Men racing with sedan chair

The race teams consisted of five members, one to hold each corner of the chair and one to take a seat inside.

Ladies racing with sedan chair

First the teams sprint to the far end and pick up the chair and then charge towards the finish line - but at any stage a call can be given from the referee to change - and the seated person has to exchange places with one of the carriers.

Sedan chair crash

Running whilst carrying such a heavy object can cause problems and it is not uncommon for a bearer to drop their corner, leading to an exciting crash as the chair digs into the ground and throws out the occupant.

Ford motor sport winners

After several races the overall winner was the team from Ford Motor Sport who are used to dealing with much higher powered vehicles but their teamwork shone through with the speed of the changes.

Gallery of Photos at the Georgian Fair


Cockermouth Georgian Fair 2006

Return to Western Lakeland Events

Visit the official Georgian Fair website

The website of Regency Re-Jigged dance group