One of the most famous attractions that ever appeared at St James’ Fair was Patrick O’Brien (born Patrick Cotter) known as the Irish Giant. He was 8 foot and 1 inch tall (about 2 metres and 40 cm) and would have had to stoop a bit in some modern day houses so as not to bang his head on the ceiling. The Guinness Book of Records states that he was the seventh tallest man in the world.
He came to Bristol from Ireland in 1779 and first appeared at St James’ Fair that year. People were charged to come and see him and he was reported to have earned £30 (the equivalent of £3,000 in today’s money) in three days in 1780, possibly whilst he was at The Full Moon, Stokes Croft.
He used his money to buy property in Kingsdown and bought two houses on Kingsdown Parade. He died in 1806 at the age of 46 and was buried at the former St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Chapel on Trenchard Street.