Ilkeston - It's Fair Time Again (No.
w/e 19 October 2008 All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
As the leaves begin to turn and we wake to misty mornings in
mid October, it can only mean one thing in Ilkeston - it's almost
time for the Annual Charter Fair and this year it's the 756th
anniversary of the granting of the Charter. The showmen and women
turned up early in the week as usual and the town centre roads
and car parks were closed to allow the stalls and rides to be
erected. By a wet Wednesday lunchtime, there were not many people
about but most of the amusements were in place. All the shutters
were up and tarpaulins acted as protection against the rain before
the fair opened that evening.
Although the fair started on Wednesday evening the official opening
was not until midday on Thursday when the weather had changed
for the better. A good number of people gathered around the Town
Hall to witness the reading of the Charter, speeches by Civic
dignitaries and the singing of the National Anthem before the
bells were rung to signify the start of the fun.
Part of the opening speech by Councillor Mike Wallis.
A lot more people, some of them seen here on South Street, turned
up on Thursday evening and they continued to do for the rest
of the week as the weather held for the duration of the fair.
Some of the rides and amusements on South Street.
There were a couple of thrill rides on the small Queen Street
car park just off South Street but although the lights shone
out brightly against the dark night sky, there is little in this
image to pinpoint it to Ilkeston.
It is possible however to pick out some features in the two images
on the right in the above compilation that say "Ilkeston"
such as the canopy of the Co-Op and the clock on the tower of
St. Mary's Church in the distance. All three images show Wharncliffe
Road but the one on the left taken earlier shows that it would
be pointless waiting for a bus this week as the usual routes
have been diverted until Sunday.
Whilst some of the fairground images taken at night could be
anywhere, these three definitely say they can be nowhere else
but Ilkeston. The shops on Bath Street, the old Post Office building
and the Ritz Bingo Hall on South Street plus the view of St Mary's
across the Market Place not only identify the place but also
show the extent of the fair through the town centre streets.
This one too with the Sir John Warren public house sign (SJW)
on the left and the Scala cinema as a backdrop to the sideshows,
food stalls and Helter Skelter should be sufficient to pinpoint
the location. There is usually a food stall positioned outside
the Market Inn on the right and this year it was selling among
other consumables, Hot Dogs and Chips. I remember back in the
sixties most of the stall was taken up with cockles, whelks,
winkles and many other shellfish but the one thing that has remained
constant throughout the years is mushy peas and mint sauce.
The final image from this year's selection is another one taken
at night. This is the Pimlico car park adjacent to the Scala
which must have been the noisiest part of the fair with the various
thrill rides blasting out their music as they competed for the
fare paying customers. It was also one of the busiest places
with people shoulder to shoulder as they enjoyed all the fun
of the fair. The Annual Charter Fair is not to everyone's taste
and the disruption to the town centre for one week each October
causes resentment in some quarters but it is one of the highlights
of the year for many Ilkeston folk who are justifiably proud
of one of Europe's oldest and largest street fairs. It has lasted
756 years and long may it continue.