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Ferry Fair (Clip)

Annual local festival in South Queensferry

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A local fair day in South Queensferry featuring the Burry Man and the crowning of the Queen.

The fair has been held since 1930, but was reinstated from an earlier event which dates back to King Charles I in 1687. The film features shots of the "Burryman" and the crowning of the Festival Queen, Margaret Anderson. The Forth Rail Bridge is seen in the background.

The Burry Man (or Burryman) may have been a pagan harvest ritual. The Burry Man traditionally paraded around the town collecting gifts as he went. This was believed to bring good luck.

His costume is made from sticky burrs (from the burdock plant) and flowers.

Questions & Activities


  • Why is he called the 'Burry Man'?
  • What local event is the Burry Man part of?
  • Who are the men with the Burry Man?
  • Where does this event take place?
  • Why does this event take place?


Look into the traditions of the Burry Man and the Green Man and the pagan rituals they belong to. How did this work in the pre-Christian calendar. How is the Burry Man chosen?

Write a story about the Burry Man.

Invent a new tradition for your town. Include a mythical character to represent your town for today.Compose a soundtrack for this film or use instruments to create a mood.

Devise a school fair character to present your school.

Note down the heraldic and pageantry references you see in the film. Are there other gala/fair days in Scotland?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-181-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1281
Date 1937
Genre Local Topical
School Subject English, Social Studies, History, Music, Art and Design, Media Studies, Religious and Moral Education
Subject Matter Creative Writing
Who Mr Miller (filmmaker), Regal Cinema, Broxburn (sponsor)
Where Broxburn, Queensferry
Event Fair Day
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 2:52
Film Length 05:30