Society of Independent Roundabout Proprietors (SIRPs)

The following information is taken from the educational leaflet, supplied by the Society of Independent Roundabout Proprietors, Educational Officer.

The Society was founded in 1985 for all independent Showmen. Members specialise in restored or preserved traditional equipment, wooden, hand turned or steam driven - swingboats, gallopers and flying chairs etc. The fairground is steeped in history and goes back to at least Roman times. The early Fairs were really used for trading in animals and wares which attracted many people to them. Side shows were put up for selling food, drink and various forms of entertainment. The fair as we know it developed from acrobats, puppets and shows who moved around from Fair to Fair using horses or hand carts. Steam power led to the development of rides, usually yachts, switchbacks and galloping horses known as "jumpers". These have survived until today but electric power has brought high tech machines to the public as well as making it easier for the Showmen.

Nowadays high flyers and disco lights are what attract the young people. There is nothing like the Fair for atmosphere.

The Society was established by John Carter of 'Carter Royal Berkshire Steam Fair' and currently has 140 members from all areas of the country. The society appoints an Education Liaison Officer to help pupils, parents and teachers.

The National Fairground Archive holds material relating to Carter's Royal Berkshire Steam Fair and that of other members of S.I.R.P., including copies of the Carter's magazine and publications by Paul Braithwaite.

Further details of S.I.R.P. can be found by contacting:

Ann Perret,
Turnip Hall Farm
Radwinter Road
Saffron Walden
CB10 2LB