Wednesday 7 December 2016

Time to bring historic horse fair into present

Published 06/05/2011 | 05:00

Smithfield Horse Fair last Sunday
Smithfield Horse Fair last Sunday

Smithfield Horse Fair is not a popular subject at the moment but let's not be so hasty to condemn this institution.

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Horses have been sold at Smithfield since 1640. Is that something to be proud of or embarrassed about? By sheer dint of persistent attendance, the early 1800s saw the exclusive right to trade in horses established in that location.

Richard Bruton recognises the complexity of the trading rights attached to this monthly gathering. Amid calls for its abolition, Mr Bruton reiterates the subtle obligations of a local authority seeking to extinguish Smithfield Horse Fair. If ever there was a catch 22, we have one here. The authority can close the horse fair only if it can satisfy all interested parties that a suitable alternative, which provides equal facilities -- has been found in the immediate vicinity.

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