Ilkeston - Fairground Art At
The 758th Charter Fair
w/e 24 October 2010
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
In previous years I have photographed the Fair from all angles
showing the rides, the sideshows, the food stalls, the people
and even the vehicles associated with the travelling showmen
both during the day and also at night, One constant that has
always been seen but often overlooked is the artwork displayed
on many of the attractions so this selection of images aims to
put that right.
It was this Crazy Beach Party attraction halfway down Bath Street
near the edge of the Fair that gave me the idea of featuring
the fairground art. The tropical image was somewhat at odds with
the cool October weather but was a foretaste of the colourful
sights to be seen elsewhere in the Fair.
The scary faces and menacing appearance of the Ghost Train on
the Lower Market Place did little to dissuade punters from sampling
the delights of the interior.
Although photographed at a quiet period, partakers of this ride
across from the Town Hall did not need much encouragement to
copy the name of the ride. The artwork of the Scream showed a
distinct American bias with a large image of the Statue of Liberty
The Mach 1, a large windmill type ride outside the library that
promised it was "faster than the speed of sound", featured
a large and colourful backdrop of which this is just one half.
Three old favourites were in the usual positions on the Market
Place and the artwork of the Cakewalk was of a typically old
fashioned fairground ride which is not surprising as the sign
tells us it was built in 1895.
The second old favourite is the Big Wheel and although pictures
of pop stars from the sixties and later adorn the main structure,
there is a much gentler image on the side of the pay kiosk. There
was a time when the Big Wheel was the ultimate thrill ride but
now this picture exemplifies the fact that is is regarded as
a more family orientated attraction.
The third favourite is another traditional ride but the artwork
on the Waltzer seems to have been given an update for a more
It's at night though when the Fair really comes alive with all
the artwork given a lift by the flashing lights and the noisy
music. The Crazy Bulls on Wharncliffe Road is another ride with
an American feel where cowgirls are superimposed on an arid landscape
to say nothing of the flag.
On Queen Street the backdrop to another thrill ride which I believe
is called the Superspin although there was no sign to confirm
it, reminded me of the type of images usually associated with
graffiti or street artists.
In more recent times the traditional wooden Helter Skelter has
been replaced by a more easily assembled lattice work structure
and there are usually several examples scattered about the Fair.
This one on South Street though has retained an old typeface
for its nameplate and is typical of old time fairground art.