After many centuries most of the big fairs were closed down during the mid 19th centurey, mostly on the grounds that they were haunts for criminals, but mostly with the rise of large markets and shopping arcades, they were no longer needed.
“Bristol’s St James’ fair was largely discontinued as a result of Mr George Thomas who, with some friends, paid off the various rights of £8.000-9,000. The last fair was held from 1 September 1837, “attended by about 30 dealers in merchandise, 2 menageries, 3 companies of strolling players and many peep-shows. The average attendance every night in the beer and bush houses was 750; 530 of whom were labourers and mechanics, 220 thieves and prostitutes. The churchyard was railed in some years previously at a cost of £1,000 out of the accumulated profits of the fair.”