Heritage

Timeline:

  • The Hoppings first arrived in Newcastle 136 years ago as a temperance fair at a time when Victorian do-gooders across the country chose to preach the virtues of being tee-total. The event was designed to be a counter-attraction to the boozy goings-on at the annual Race week at nearby Newcastle Racecourse.
  • The next 50 years saw the introductions of the well-known rides and attractions we still use today. For example, In 1951, The Rotor was introduced– the first ever spinning wall ride, and in 1958 the Hook-a-Duck made its first appearance.
  • Free fairground outings were organised for underprivileged children, where the Showmen’s Guild donated the rides. This brought in over 3,000 Variety Club Children.
  • In 1985, attendance dipped to 100,000 as the recession hit.  The Hoppings was even at risk of closing, but after reducing policing costs and increasing the use of the car park, The Hoppings saw a great profit in 1991. To mark the end of The Hoppings that year, a firework display took place.
  • 2002 saw the Fair celebrate it’s 120th  anniversary
  • Unfortunately, in 2013, due to bad weather the Hoppings was cancelled. It returned in 2014.
  • The Hoppings has always been a popular event and now sees over 300,000 visitors during it’s 9 days in Newcastle.

Where does the term ‘Hoppings’ come from?

Several origins have been suggested for the name

  • Most relate to dancing, the word ‘hopping’ meaning a dance in Middle English (old fairs included dancing)
  • Another idea stems from the clothing which the travellers wear-old, sack-like tops and pants, clothing often became infested with fleas from the animals they travelled with. People were often seen ‘jumping’ or ‘hopping’ about, itching from the bites they received.
  • Or the name may derive from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hoppen’ meaning funfair.