Nobody knows for certain when Shipley first held its annual horse fair. Its roots were lost in the mists of antiquity, along with countless other annual festivities.

The traditional Easter Tuesday horse fair was a place where prize breeds of horse could be bought and sold on Northcliffe Playing Fields, sealed by a traditional hand slap. By the late 1960s the event suffered a dramatic decline and it shifted to land off Valley Road in the early 1970s.

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By 1988 Shipley’s annual Horse Fair barely lived up to its name with only a small bunch of animals being shown. Bluntly labelled as a dead loss by one dealer, its decline marked a painful severing of ties with Shipley’s rural past.