Hiring fairs, also called statute or mop fairs, were regular events in pre-modern Great Britain and Ireland where labourers were hired for fixed terms. They date from the time of Edward III, and his attempt to regulate the labour market by the Statute of Labourers in 1351 at a time of a serious national shortage of labour after the Black Death. Subsequent legislation, in particular the Statute of Apprentices of 1563, legislated for a particular day when the high constables of the shire would proclaim the stipulated rates of pay and conditions of employment for the following year. Because so many people gathered at a fair, it quickly turned into the major place for matching workers and employers. Hiring fairs continued well into the 20th century, up to the Second World War in some places but their function as employment exchanges was diminished by the Corn Production Act 1917. This legislation guaranteed minimum prices for wheat and oats, specified a minimum wage for agricultural workers and established the Agricultural Wages Board, to ensure stability for farmers and a share of this stability for agricultural workers.
Annual hiring fairs were held, during Martinmas week at the end of November, in the market towns of the East Riding of Yorkshire in places like Beverley, Bridlington, Driffield, Hedon, Hornsea, Howden, Hull, Malton, Patrington, Pocklington, and York. Both male and female agricultural servants would gather in order to bargain with prospective employers and, hopefully, secure a position for the coming year. The yearly hiring included board and lodging for single employees for the whole year with wages being paid at the end of the year's service. These fairs attracted all the other trappings of a fair, and they turned into major feasts in their own right, and attracted poor reputations for the drunkenness and immorality involved. Later, when wage rates and conditions were no longer officially set, the hiring fair remained a useful institution, especially as much employment in rural areas was by annual agreement. Prospective workers would gather in the street or market place, often sporting some sort of badge or tool to denote their speciality. Shepherds held a crook or a tuft of wool, cowmen brought wisps of straw, dairymaids carried a milking stool or pail and housemaids held brooms or mops; this is why some hiring fairs were known as mop fairs. Employers would look them over and, if they were thought fit, hire them for the coming year, handing over a shilling to seal the arrangement.

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    Ruger is Hiring Again in Prescott

    Job fair Tuesday August 10th, 09:00 to 17:00 at the Event Spot, 6520 E 1st ST, Suite B in Prescott Valley, AZ. They're looking for production associates with starting salaries up to $20.00 per hour, depending on experience.
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