Friday, September 28, 2018
REVEALED: THE YEAR WHEN BRIGG HORSE FAIR BEGAN
A new book features Brigg and reveals a start date for the town's famous horse fair.
The early August event as we know it today is widely thought to have been founded during the middle or latter part of Queen Victoria's reign.
However, the impressive new railway book Gainsborough to Sheffield including Brigg and Torksey suggests that Brigg Horse Fair was first held in 1835 - two years before Victoria became monarch, succeeding William IV.
Authors Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith say horse boxes were once used to bring steeds to town by rail - another little-known fact.
The book begins in Brigg and goes on to feature Scawby & Hibaldstow and Kirton Lindsey stations in a 22-page opening section detailing the route to Gainsborough.
The story then continues through Retford and other town and village stations on the original Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway mainline.
Brigg joined the railway network in 1849 with the opening of our station with its rather grand buildings.
It had a roof that the book says was still in place as late as 1961.
Lavishly illustrated with pictures from the steam and diesel eras, the book also has very informative maps showing, in Brigg station's case, the goods shed and extensive sidings, including those used to bring in coal for delivery to homes and businesses.
The local government boundary between Brigg and Bigby ran right through the station, the book shows, with a platform edge providing the dividing line.
Many old timetables are reproduced, recalling a time when trains were the main form of public transport, demanding a very frequent service.
With Christmas not too far away, this book will make a great present for friends or relatives who take an interest in local history and Brigg as it used to be.
Brigg Blog gives it a highly recommended rating.
Gainsborough to Sheffield including Brigg and Torksey (Middleton Press) contains 96 pages, is hard-backed and costs £18.95p - post free from the publishers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.middletonpress.co.uk
The postal address is Middleton Press, Easebourne Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9AZ. Telephone 01730 813169.
A period picture of Brigg station when it still had its roof, charred by the exhausts of passing steam locos. You can just see the cast iron footbridge, removed in recent years but now to be restored for future use on a heritage railway in North Yorkshire. This picture from the J. Alsop Collection is used here with permission from the publishers.
Brigg Blog has also been sent another book from the same Middleton Press series that's worth considering for your 'presents for friends and family' list.
Branch Lines North of Grimsby including Immingham is also by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith and costs £18.95p.
Extensively covered is the route from New Holland and Barton via Goxhill and Ulceby, with references to the Humber Ferry.
Also included is the old Barton & Immingham Light Railway which operated until 1963.
The picture below (credited to LOSA) features in the book and shows East Halton station.
Brigg Town cricketers of decades past may recognise the wooden booking office behind the station nameboard.
It later provided changing accommodation at the village cricket ground, which Brigg visited for matches over many years from the mid-1970s onwards.
The book, also highly recommended, recalls the fascinating 'light railway' trams that linked Grimsby and Immingham until the early 1960s.