News and Updates: 2011 News
Our reading room will be closed throughout the festive season and will re-open on Tuesday 3rd January 2012. During this period we will not be able to answer email enquiries so please bear with us as we catch up with things in the new year! One of the first things we will be doing will be to announce forthcoming plans and events for 2012 here on this news page.
Erich Knocke - a tribute
We include a short tribute and memory to Erich Knocke, key German showman and founder of a the fairground musuem in Germany.
Alex Kingham has sent us a link to a short film based around a fairground love-story. Just the thing for Christmas. So here is wishing all our visitors and supporters a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Click here to view the film.
Deatils of Professor Toulmin's show at the London Roundhouse are now available on the Roundhouse website. More details to follow in the new year!
Strictly Come Dancing brought the Blackpool Tower Ballroom into our front rooms at the weekend. The Express newspaper celebrates Professor Toulmin's work in reviving and celebrating this iconic building. Click here for further details.
rumbles in the jungle
You can follow the adventures of Frank Bostock's second Sheffield Jungle with day-by-day reprints of the activities from 1912/13. Throughout November we saw Jungle chimpanzees 'Hans and Greta' take an aeroplane flight around Redmires. In addition we have a series of informative articles - new material recently added to the project website includes:
A Magical Christmas at Sheffield Botanical Gardens - Enjoy a truly magical evening at Sheffield Botanical Gardens and be entertained by Illuminations, Christmas Music, Traditional Children's Rides, a Miniature Steam Train ride in the gardens and enchanted fairies in the Pavilions. See our very own Professor Vanessa presenting early films with musical accompaniment by acclaimed silent film pianist Stephen Horne in the bearpit - 9th to 11th December 2011, 4.30pm and 8.30pm, entry is £6 adults and £1.00 for children (tickets on the gate), further details here.
Professor Toulmin has added her thoughts to the localism debate, featured in the Guardian newspaper on 22 November 2011.
Leeds show for Professor Vanessa
Professor Vanessa's Performing Wonders are in town at the 25th Leeds International Festival on Thursday 17th November. Click here for details.
Showzam 2012 preview
Preview film for Showzam 2012 available to download here (this is 5Mb file requiring QuickTime to view). Check the website to see the latest attractions booked to appear.
Blackpool Tower new book
Professor Vanessa Toulmin's new book on the history of the Blackpool Tower has now been published - we have a limited number for sale on our sales page and copies can also be ordered from the Visit Blackpool website.
Ian Trowell from the NFA will be presenting a talk and slide show for the East Midland Steam & Vintage Society meeting on Monday 21st November 2011. The two hour talk will look at vintage images of a local interest from various collections. The meeting will take place at The Kegworth Town Cricket Club, Kegworth, Derby with the presentation starting at 8.00pm and doors opening at 7.30pm. Visitor fees just £2.00.
Paul Angel collection
Paul Angel's collection has been accessioned. The superb photographs are being digitsed throughout winter and are being added to the website through discrete galleries, whilst other material available for consulting is listed here. Many thanks to Hannah Riggott for preparing this collection.
magic day 2011
Click the link to see a selection of images from our magic day.
Advance notice - the NFA reading room will be closed on Wednesday 5th October to allow the setting up of a new exhibition.
The NFA has commenced a four-part article for the Fairground Mercury - this documents the Paul Angel Collection through his travels in 1980. The articles will serve a greater purpose in analysing the changes that would occur through the decade. Click the link to see the FAGB homepage with details on subscribing to the magazine.
Click the link to see a selection of images from our Summer 2011 events.
september magic day
The National Fairground Archive is holding an open day on Tuesday 20th September to highlight magic and illusion items within the collections. In the reading room there will be examples of posters, film, photographs, journals, handbills and programmes which range from the 1800s to the present day. Staff will be on hand to guide people through the collections and show best how to use the database and request other material for future research.
Around the campus magicians will enthrall and delight creating illusions and providing entertainment with street magic and bringing the tricks and magic to life. We also have one member of staff being who may become three!
The event will run from 10-4 taking with magicians mainly at the IC and Western Bank libraries with the ephemera in the NFA reading room. Click here to download a pdf poster for the event.
Who Do You Think You Are?
For details of the NFA featuring on the BBC programme where Larry Lamb discovers his fairground heritage please click here.
Our quiz at the Norfolk Park Heritage Fayre proved a great success. Click here to see the answers.
circus poster donation
We have just received a large number of circus posters donated by Mark Copeland and Sarah Munro from the Insect Circus. They include many examples from the Bertram Mills' Circus, Fossetts circus and a Barnumn and Bailey Circus poster. The items will be sent for conservation and once back we hope to be able to show some of the images.
The National Fairground Archive will be appearing at two events over the next two weekends. Firstly the Sheffield Fayre at Norfolk Heritage Park, and secondly the popular Art in the Gardens event in Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
For details of these events see the Sheffield City Council website.
a welcome return
After a few years without activity we welcome the return to production of the Miami ride in the UK. Manufacturer Harry Steer, in business for 48 years, have built a new model with a UK machine debuting in August for showman James Danter - with artwork by Frazer Day. We hope this continues the exciting dynamic of fairground art as seen over the last 20 years. Click here for documentation on this new ride.
Our first Timeshift 'All the Fun of the Fair' drew some fantastic responses and reviews. Next up is our programme on the circus, broadcasting at 9-00pm Tuesday 9th August on BBC4. Click here for details on the programme and for links to reviews.
The National fairground Archive is thrilled to announce two forthcoming television programmes in the Timeshift series - a history of fairgrounds and circuses will feature interviews with NFA staff and material from the collections. Click here for details on the programmes.
reading lists / new material
We have added new stock to our book collection, including newly published material on the anniversary of the Festival of Britain. Our book collections can be browsed on-line, or check our reading lists.
Kelham Island event
The weekend of 30/31 July 2011 sees the National Fairground Archive link up with Kelham Island Industrial Museum for a 1940s Wakes Weekend. Themed entertainment, music and dancing, vintage costume and stalls with history workshops will provide something for everyone. Click here to access the Sheffield Industrial Musuems Trust webpage for the event.
Blackpool book publicity
Professor Toulmin's recent book on the history of Blackpool Pleasure Beach has resulted in a feature in the Yorkshire Post newspaper - click here to access the full article.
in flight entertainment
Congratulations to Henry Danter for restoring and opening one of the few surviving examples of the Dive Bomber ride. Henry's machine is a twinned 'double' version and now stands at his park in Stouport-on-Severn. Click here to recap on the NFA's history of the Dive Bomber.
backflash flash back
A recent outing has given us a chance to present a photographic audit of the Miami resident in Porthcawl - a resplendent Paul Wright representative of the final years of the Nottingham UK production line. Click here to see the full set of pictures.
We have just catalogued a collection of music hall posters and programmes mentioning the artist Cyrus Dare. His bill matter over time variously describes him as a "Marvellous imitator of Funny Little Children, Humorist, Society Entertainer, Vocal Wonder, Refined Comedian" and also "The Musical Mimedian". He was a singer and entertainer in the late 1800s and early 1900s performing around Britain and Ireland.
A discussion of what we have seen in fairground art and design following the creation of our pages 2 years ago. Click here to see new ideas and images.
Frontline NFA staff at the recent Weston Park Fayre - left-to-right - Angela Greenwood, Jane Donaldson, Lesley Allen.
The Sheffield Jungle Project has initiated an enquiry into living spaces, developed and displayed by Doctor Karen Harvey's History MA students (Emma Collins, Jose Cree, Sally Gawthorpe, Nicola Walker) as part of the forthcoming Inhabiting Space exhibition.
The images, and answers, from our 'seaside picture quiz' are available here. The winner will be notified shortly. Many thanks to everyone who had a go.
Weston Park Whit Fayre
The NFA will be hosting a tent at the Weston Park Whit Fayre, taking place this Sunday, 22nd May. On display will be models from our own collections, guest model-makers including the Sheffield Ship Model Society, visual displays on Barnum, Circus of Wonders, Sheffield Jungle and our popular picture quiz. The event runs from 11-00am in Weston Park, Sheffield.
Author Al Stencell has donated a large number of Hanneford posters to the Archive, available to view for anyone visiting the NFA. To coincide with this generous donation Al has written of his time working as a billing agent for Hanneford...
"On Hanneford, Bill English would sometimes buy outdoor advertising in large cities - these were Billboard size hits. Posters for them were four sheets high and maybe four sheets or more wide. Bill would send up a number of these for each town for me to try and get up in stores. You needed empties for them or big places like an auto body shop, places with lots of glass that didn't need the windows for display purposes. Just getting half of the number in the date took up four feet of window glass. By the time you got July 12 in the window the poster could cover a surface of eight by fifteen feet. ('Sir, I would like to give you some passes and put up a poster in one of your side windows...would that be O.K.') Many store owners were surprised to see the entire window filled in."
To see the full article please click here
Professor Vanessa Toulmin presents her Performing Wonders at Anglia Ruskin university Cambridge on Friday May 13th. See the following flyer for full details.
Thanks to the help of placement student Rob Phillips the NFA has significantly progressed access to holdings:
- Further indexing of World's Fair newspaper between 1990 and 2009 to create a continuous 50 year index.
- Accessioning of approximately 500 plans covering parks and gardens associated with the Rhyl organisation (Morecambe and Belle Vue included). This material is not yet listed but please enquire at the NFA for further details.
- Listing of previously accessioned and digitised plans to create a new index for our parks plans. Click here to see our new overview index and follow the links (178M) for new listings of plans.
- Cataloguing of further Rhyl images.
The NFA has contributed towards a series of articles for the Kirmes Revue magazine. Issue 164 saw an article on the development of the Tip Top ride, whilst a future issue will look at the development of the early Orbiter scene in the UK. The magazine can be ordered through the website here
Our regular contributer Shaun Martin has been an early activist capturing the latest batch of re-paints on the prestigious UK Miami scene. First up is the Americana re-theming of Arthur Silcock's 'Reach for the Stars'.
Click here here to see the extensive set of images.
Al Stencell's 'Ballyhoo'
We have a limited number of copies of Al Stencell's fanstastic new book 'Ballyhoo' for sale. The book was completed Autumn 2010 by the esteemed researcher and documenter of the American sideshow sub-culture.
The book can be purchased from our sales page for those wishing to use cheque payment. Alternatively our Online Shop allows transactions over the internet.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach book launch
The recent Showzam Festival in Blackpool saw the book launch of Professor Vanessa Toulmin's luxurious history of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This 146 page full colour book gives a definitive history of the origins, exapansion and diversity of the operations. Pictured above at the launch are Professor Toulmin, Mrs Barbara Thompson, Amanda Thompson (managing director BPB) and Nick Thompson (deputy managing director) - photograph with permission from Anthony Johns.
The book can be purchased from our sales page for those wishing to use cheque payment. Alternatively our Online Shop allows transactions over the internet.
Memoirs of a Showwoman
From 9 February through to 13 May 2011 the Western Bank Library Exhibition Space will be given over to Marisa Carnesky to present her dizzying, disturbing and spectacular 'Memoirs of a Showwoman' - this exhibition charts her 20 year career in the fringes of performance and illusion, and forms part of her AHRC Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship in the archive.
Image above from a larger selection of the show. The Library's Exhibition page gives full details of opening hours.
Images from the opening event can be found here.
The Showzam! festival of circus, magic and new variety runs from 18-27 February at Blackpool. Curated by the NFA's director Professor Toulmin, a full list of attractions and details can be found on the Showzam! website.
Deakin history book
Brand new - The history of the Welsh showland family Deakin has been lovingly detailed in a superb book by Bill Treen and Robert Deakin. This lavish publication features many pictures from the NFA collections. Running to 119 pages and hardbound, the book retails at £20-00 - copies available by calling the NFA on (01142) 227231.
John Buckley kindly sent us a batch of photographs composed at Lincoln Pleasure Fair from 1971.
more weird, more wonderful
The Dick Scott-Stewart gallery of the weird and wonderful has been extended - enter at your own risk by clicking here.
We continue adding to our galleries of material from the Dick Scott-Stewart Collection - latest material includes images covering iconographic artwork.
Bradford Industrial Museum has worked with the National Fairground Archive for a new exhibition on Showmen in Bradford. This will run from 11 December 2010 through to 13 March 2011 - see the website for opening times and details of the exhibits and events.
The above picture shows artists Anthony Bennett and Mark Copeland with showman Ernest Johnson and NFA director Professor Toulmin at the opening ceremony.
Opening press can be viewed from the Telegraph and Argus and Yorkshire Post.
regular face at Joe's Bar
The acquisition of the 'Joe's Bar' collection from a kind donation by Howard Grey has certainly given us something different and very exciting. Even more incredible is this image sent by Sideshow Illusion proprietor (and long-standing NFA collaborator) Jon Marshall at Joe's Bar back in the mists of time.
coming in 2011
The National Fairground Archive has
great plans for 2011, look out for further details of the following:
- Showzam 2011 (18-27 February in Blackpool) featuring the best of the variety and illusion world
- Continued indexing of NFA material including World's Fair newspaper plus all plans and blueprints held in collections.
- Completion of Paul Angel and Dick Scott-Stewart colections.
- Sheffield Jungle Project - exciting new developments and collaborations.
- Continued partnership with Kelham Island Industrial Museum.
- Further articles for 'Kirmes Revue' magazine and the expansion of the fairground rides history section of the website.
- New exhibitions in the Western Bank Library exhibition space - check the website for an exciting update on this.