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©2019 by Fuse Projects

Each year in August, Andover High Street comes to life at Andover Shilling Fair – an unmissable free day out celebrating the town’s Georgian heritage. We'll be back in 2020!
 
Andover’s stunning Georgian streets light up with a programme bursting with colourful street performers, Regency costumed dancers, vintage entertainment, a food, drink and craft market, traditional fairground attractions, local musicians, donkey rides, fun hands-on family craft activities and lots more.

 

HISTORY OF THE ANDOVER SHILLING

AND THE SHILLING FAIR

The picturesque market town of Andover, in the Test Valley, with its attractive high street and narrow walk ways, dates back to Saxon times. Most of the town's buildings are from the 18th century when it was an important stop over destination for coaches on their way to London, Southampton and Oxford.

Andover Shilling Fair was named to celebrate the fascinating history of Andover Old Bank.

During the late 18th century, the country was almost in a state of war with France and the country at risk of a full-scale invasion. Small change became scarce and government resources were being deployed elsewhere, so much of the coinage in circulation was forgeries or very badly worn. 

Rather than wait for a government who had other matters on their mind, local bankers and tradesmen took things into their own hands and they decided to issue their own local banknotes and coinage. The Bank of England attempted to alleviate the shortage of silver coinage by issuing silver dollars, valued at 5 shillings, which they would also exchange for the counter-stamped Spanish dollars in circulation (valued at 4 shillings and 9 pence – 4/9). 

Traders were very annoyed that counter-stamped dollars were valued lower and they were making a loss forcing the Bank to stop using the dollars and melt down both the official and unofficial dollars as they got them back. 

Once again local banks and traders took matters into their own hands during the early years of the 19th century and primarily issued silver shilling and copper penny tokens. The Andover Old Bank, owned by William Steele Wakeford and Joseph Wakeford, who were woollen drapers in the town, in keeping with other town banks, began issuing their own banknotes and sight notes in 1811 in denominations of £1, £5, £10 and £20 and sight notes in denominations upwards.

They also had manufactured silver one shilling and copper penny tokens. Both the banknotes and the tokens bore the towns crest (the lion and oak tree) and on one side the words - Andover token for X11 pence, and on the other side – Payable by W.S.& I. Wakeford 1811, within a wreath of oak leaves. 

The tokens were very popular in the town and widely used. Over the rest of the country these coins were widely copied and forgeries were prevalent, forcing the government to declare them illegal by 1817, as new official coinage became available. A run on local banks was inevitable as people attempted to get at the monies they had deposited and by December 1825 saw the collapse of one of the big banks and with it fell 44 provincial banks, including Andover Old Bank.

Today these banknotes and tokens are avidly collected but values have risen dramatically due to their scarcity and Andover banknotes can fetch upwards of £50 for a £1 note and £30+ for an Andover shilling.

Written by Tony Raper

The Town Mills, next to the River Anton, heralds the start of the town trails. The Andover Time Ring features key historical events from the town's past along the high street, marked by 10 mosaic panels. There are also two poetry trails one along the high street and one meandering along the River Anton, where you will find poems set in stone, metal plaques and etched glass.


For more on the rich history of the area visit the Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age in the town centre, or the Museum of Army Flying in nearby Middle Wallop.

In contrast The Lights is a contemporary arts and entertainment venue offering comedy nights, dance, theatre and music. The town hosts a series of free live events each year including Andover Live and Andover Carnival. There is also a busy traditional street market every Thursday and Saturday in the High Street.

To learn more about the Test Valley, visit the Council's website by clicking here

The Town Mills, next to the River Anton, heralds the start of the town trails. The Andover Time Ring features key historical events from the town's past along the high street, marked by 10 mosaic panels. There are also two poetry trails one along the high street and one meandering along the River Anton, where you will find poems set in stone, metal plaques and etched glass.


For more on the rich history of the area visit the Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age in the town centre, or the Museum of Army Flying in nearby Middle Wallop.

In contrast The Lights is a contemporary arts and entertainment venue offering comedy nights, dance, theatre and music. The town hosts a series of free live events each year including Andover Live and Andover Carnival. There is also a busy traditional street market every Thursday and Saturday in the High Street.

To learn more about the Test Valley, visit the Council's website by clicking here

Discovering Andover

& the Test Valley

 

About Us

Andover Shilling Fair is an exciting  new event, spearheaded by Barbara Long and managed by local events company Fuse Projects Ltd with the support of local organisations. 

 

For more information, please click on the logos.

About the Organisers

Contact Us

Please send all Shilling Fair enquiries to: jenny@fuseprojects.co.uk. 

If you are interested in booking a stall at the fair, please visit:

 

www.fuseprojects.co.uk/upcomingevents

We would like to give a huge thank you to all of our Shilling Fair volunteers, their friends and family. Thank you! 

About our Sponsors & Supporters

We are delighted to be generously supported by grants from Test Valley Borough Council and Andover Town Council, together with support from The Lights in 2019.