King's Lynn Mart
Established by Henry VIII in 1537 and disrupted only by the occasional outbreak of civil war or bubonic plague, the King’s Lynn Mart is the UK’s oldest continuous fair and the first event in the Showmens calendar. Beginning on February 14th each year the Mart takes over the Tuesday Market Place for two weeks when its gaudy neon illuminates the town for miles around. During its heyday in the late 19th century the Mart was at the cutting edge of technology when in 1897 Randall Williams became (arguably) the first to show moving film to a paying public. Despite its continuing popularity with the people of King’s Lynn the town council have come to regard the Mart as an inconvenience as it disrupts their their ambition to monetise every inch of pavement. They would dearly like to see it relocated out of town, but sadly for them a 450 year old decree from a long dead king still carries more weight in law than the opinion of local government officials. The Mart stays, no longer at the cutting of technology but a place where anxious teenagers got to look and be looked at and the grumpy showmen with their dubious ride-hands try to scratch a living in the winter months.