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Ideas / Album / October Plenty
Photos from October Plenty on Bankside

October Plenty is a festival about this season's nature. It celebrates the apple harvest, the use of the new corn and grain, and the planting of trees and seeds. Each year a group of actors called The Lions Part ( put on a free event in the area known as Bankside ( on the South Bank in London (if you want to support the event, please buy one of the programmes or make a voluntary donation). It starts in front of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre ( and ends in the Green Market at Borough Market ( Everyone is welcome to come and join in the fun ...

In 2011 October Plenty will be on Sunday 21 October 2012 (starting at noon).
For further details, see:

The event starts at noon, where people warm up in front of the Globe Theatre.


"Take your partners"

Dances with bears

We go inside the Globe Theatre to view a short ceremony and enjoy some more music and entertainment.
The Berry Man carries a young apple tree inside - this will be planted nearby in National Tree Week in November.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre ...

... where "all the world's a stage"

The ladies show off their grace ...

... style ...

... and education

While the men get on a Hobby Horse ...

... sing for their supper ...

... or carry trees for planting

It is a short walk along the back streets of Bankside to reach Borough Market.

Time for a
royal street procession ...

Leading the Corn Queene ...

... into the Green Market area
at Borough Market

In part of the market an "orchard" is created using young apple trees. Stories are read to children. They are asked to make wishes - these are written on paper apples and attached to the trees.

Children enjoy listening to stories ...

... and hang apples on the trees ...

... to make their wishes come true

The game of conkers is popular in schools at this time of the year. Two people take turns to hit each other's conker until one of them breaks. Apple bobbing involves using your mouth to eat an apple which is floating in water - no hands are allowed.

One person holds a conker ...

... the other uses his/her own conker to hit it

Apple bobbing: eat the apple with your mouth

A medieval play is performed each year. On this occasion it was "Marrige betweene Wit and Wisdome" (the old spelling of "marriage between wit and wisdom"). This comic play was written by Francis Merbury in 1575. There was also a performance of the traditional "Execution of John Barleycorn".

Apples are one of the themes of the event. A popular alcoholic drink made from apples is cider - hot cider is served from one of the stalls in the market.
Apple Day (21st October) is organised by Common Ground; for details of events connected with this, see:
If you are interested in fruit, visit the National Fruit Collections at Brogdale in Faversham, Kent (map). Website:

"Look what I've found"

Many types of apple are on sale

Hot cider will warm you up

Apple Games and Customs
Illustrator: Geraldine Bracey
Publisher: Common Ground
Date: October 1994
CAMRA's Good Cider Guide
Author: Campaign for Real Ale
Publisher: CAMRA Books
Date: October 2005

At the end of the event, the parts of the Corn Queene are removed and offered to the audience.

Anyone for a red pepper ... ?

... or a cabbage?

The Queene with no clothes

Let's thank The Lions Part for organising a great event
(you can also see them on Bankside at the Twelfth Night celebration in early January).
Borough Market normally opens on Fridays and Saturdays - please visit it when you are next in London.
Finally, let's give special thanks to ...

The Corn Queene ...

... the Berry Man ...

... and the local police (can you spot the imposter?)

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Twelfth Night celebrations (also organised by the Lion's Part): Ideas/Album/TwelfthNight
British food: Britain/Food
Morris dancing: Ideas/Album/MorrisDancing
English literature: English/Reading/Literature
Events in the UK in October: Ideas/Events/October

Home page: Home

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