Sweeps Festival

The annual Sweeps Festival has returned to the city of Rochester, Kent, this weekend.  The Festival, now in its 36th year, recalls the traditional holiday enjoyed by chimney sweeps in the 19th Century.  The holiday – usually held on 1st May each year – was a chance for the sweeps to have a day off from their poorly paid work and have some fun.  The holiday ended in the early 1900s, until its revival in 1981.  Today, the Festival includes Morris dancing, music and a fun fair.

My sister and I visited the Festival today on our way home from London.  With the weather so good – a welcome change after the cold, windy, even wintry conditions we have experienced recently – the streets were crowded.  The grounds of Rochester Castle played host to the fair and main stage, whilst Morris dancers from around the country performed in the High Street.  Our visit was brief, but we still found time for a few photos!