Painting the Town Red

'Painting the Town Red' conjures up images of revelry. In the early hours of Thursday 6th April 1837 the Marquis of Waterford and other 'gentlemen' literally painted the town red! After attending the Croxton Park Races and consequently enjoying the hospitality of local inns, a large inebriated group, including the Marquis, arrived at the tollgate at Thorpe End.

The toll keeper refused entry into the town until the tolls were paid. On this occasion though, the unruly crowd with nails and tools barricaded the toll keeper into his house, painting the gates red.

Reportedly staying in Melton at the time of the races, the Marquis' party ould not stop at the tollgate. Proceeding down the Beast Market (now Sherrard Street) they continued with their 'decorating'. They painted doors, knocked over plant pots, rampaging through the Market Place and Burton Street. This culminated in the Marquis being hoisted up onto the Swan Porch to paint the Swan.

When the local constabulary of the time attempted to stop the Marquis' shenanigans, they were given a coat of paint also.

The following day, the town was in uproar. When Waterford finally sobered up he was made to pay handsomely for the damage that had been done to people and property.  The culprits were found not guilty of causing a riot but were fined £100 each for common assault.

Taken from the commemorative plaque in Melton Mowbray Market Place.


On June 18th 2017, we will be Painting the Town Red once again - this time with yarn and fabric.

We welcome any volunteers to contribute to this - all knitters and crocheters welcome! Just call us for details.