News and Updates: 2005 News

Exciting new articles now on site...

Photo: gallopers.
Lionel Bathe's Galloper series.

We are pleased to announce an exciting new section on our website. Our 'from the archives' section will allow us to promote and present both current research within the NFA and also delve further into some of our collections. Initial articles include a comprehensive piece of research into Irish platform rides, a portfolio of Galloper images from the Lionel Bathe collection, a photo survey of Scenic Switchbacks during their last days, an insight into the workings of a dedicated 1950s enthusiast, and photo galleries of a Steam Yachts build-up and a Canadian 1950s fair. Future articles include an extensive history of fairground manufacturing in the Erewash Valley, a history of fairground support and enthusiasm in the UK, a gallery of rare 1950s Scottish images, and a tribute to King Kong from a fairground perepective.

To access this new section please click here.

Nottingham Evening Post - Goose Fair and NFA special

Photo: Goose Fair.
Jack Leeson's overview of the Goose Fair, 1959.

As part of their regular 'Bygones' series, the Nottingham Evening Post is producing a special on the Goose Fair co-curated by, and featuring, the NFA. Look out for this publication at the start of October.

Hal Fisher and Harder Jonsson - new publication

Photo: Harder Jonsson album.

The Archive has collaborated on a project with the Circus Friends Association to produce a King Pole Extra featuring Hal Fisher's collections and Harder Jonsson's breathtaking photograph album. The magazine is a 40 page special with many illustrations. Copies available through the Circus Friends Association. Our own section on Harder Jonsson is included here.

Arthur Jones Collection added to Archive

Photo: FCSF members at Bridgwater.
FCSF members gather on Cole's Gondolas, Bridgwater - Is that a young Guy Belshaw on the bottom right?

Arthur Jones was the librarian of the Friendship Circle of Showland Fans (FCSF). His extensive collection has been donated to the Archive in a kind gesture by his son Glynn Jones. As well as containing a full bound set of 'Merry-Go-Round' journals, the collection also contains numerous books, letters, journals and photographs. We have made considerable progress in accessioning the collection - all of the journals and books have been added to our main stock, and the photographs are currently undergoing digitisation and cataloguing for inclusion on our database. The collection includes various catalogues and notebooks documenting the use of traction engines on the fairground - a keen topic of the FCSF - and this material is available for consultation within the Archive. Many of these notes compliment the notebooks created by Stuart Johnstone, and the Archive is gradually building up a thorough documentation of this complex subject area. Once again, many thanks to Glynn for the donation of this material.

Dever Collection - digitised and catalogued

The Archive has now added the Dever collection to its holdings - this is a small photographic collection covering fairs and steam events mainly in the Oxford area. The majority of the collection is black and white, but we unearthed a small number of colour slides, of which we provide a sample below:

Photo: Dever collection.
Photo: Dever collection.
Photo: Dever collection.

Paratroopers - We have lift-off!

Photo: Paratrooper load.

The Archive has completed the second part of the article on Paratrooper rides - this one covering the evolution of the Lifting Paratrooper (or SkyDiver). The history of this ride occurs throughout the 1970s and is neatly sandwiched between a 1960s novelty called 'The Astronaut' and 1980s novelties called 'Tip Top' and 'Super Trooper' - all very similar rides. As a sneak preview of the article - due to be published in the forthcoming Autumn edition of The Fairground Mercury - we include this picture supplied by Pete and Tim Smith (Nottingham UK), showing the departure of Ronnie Bentley's Skydiver from Bennett's Mapperley Factory in 1975.

Tom Norman - aka The Silver King

Photo: Tom Norman.

Our article on showman Tom Norman - aka The Silver King is now online in our newly arranged 'history/shows' section of the database. The article was originally written for the website sideshow world.

Archive Publications and Sales

Photo: Book.

The Archive is proud to announce two new publications: A reproduced 'Paragraph Book' from 19th century illusionist Francis Testo(t), and the second volume of Visual Delights.

We now have a dedicated sales page for all our stock - please click here

Fairground Art / Miami Database - now on line

Photo: Miami.
Modern fairground art as seen on 'Limbo Dancer' Miami.

Our 'machine history' page on the Miami Trip is now added to the site, though we have used this opportunity to develop an index to the modern airbrush art era that was ushered in by the astronomical rise of the Miami Trip. The dedicated section is split into three pages as follows.

A contextual history that charts the success of the Miami Trip, click here.

A detailed analysis of the broad themes of airbrush art can be found here.

An indexed system to all the UK Miami Trips, classified by artwork, click here.

This section is an expanding area and we will strive to complete this through the next few months. In addition we will be adding new pages that document more traditional forms of fairground art.

Visual Delights 2005 - MAGIC DAY DETAILS

Image: Visual Delights

The MAGIC DAY at Visual Delights 2005 has now been confirmed, please here for details.

In addition to this, we have a very special NEW PUBLICATION to be launched at the conference. For those unable to make the trip then please look out for our new BOOK-STOCK page.

Family History page added

Following the second article prepared for a specialist family history magazine, the NFA has prepared its own page for those approaching the archive with a possible family history enquiry. This should indicate whether we can help you, how we can help you, and other online resources that might be of use.

To access this page click here.

Machine Lists - latest research added

New machine histories and lists have been added for Enterprise rides, Loopers (and all tall 'Looping the Loop' rides) and a complete history of modern 'Looping Roundabouts'. Further pages to follow.

Ian Trowell has just extended his research on Paratrooper rides to provide the first of a two part article for the Fairground Mercury.

Visual Delights 2005

Image: Visual Delights

For full details, programme and bookings for Visual Delights 2005, please click here.

Mitchell & Kenyon Project moves ahead

October 2004 saw the release of "The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon, Edwardian Britain on Film", followed by a launch event at Blackburn and a three part television series marking the culmination of the three year, AHRB funded research project between the National Fairground Archive and the British Film Institute.

The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon contains essays from leading historians covering film history, popular entertainment, the seaside, transport, the earliest sporting events and the social and economic context of Edwardian Britain. Together they provide a vivid commentary on an unparalleled collection.

New Image Database launched in the Archive

This winter saw a large scale project to rehouse the National Fairground Archive's digital holdings onto a new server-based software system. This project is nearly complete and will enable the image database (around 60,000 digitised and catalogued images) to be searched and viewed on all archive networked computer points.

The system has been designed by Michael Pidd, and a demo version is available here

Worlds Fair Exhibition

Amanda Bernstein has curated an exhibition on the classic Worlds Fair expositions. This is on display in the Library Gallery outside of Special Collections. In addition we have prepared a set of 'Fabulous Worlds Fairs' bookmarks - please email the Archive to receive a set.  

New 'Invited Articles' section

We have added a new section to our website - Invited Articles. Please click here.