Ilkeston - Another Year, Another Fair
w/e 19 October 2014
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
Another year has passed and once again car parks
and streets were closed in Ilkeston's town centre to enable the
762nd staging of the Annual Charter Fair.
St Mary's Church has stood in the midst of the Fair for all of
those previous 761 years and the tower, with one or two notable
exceptions, still looks down on the Fair today. In recent years
there have been some nay-sayers who complain about the disruption
to the town centre but in all honesty the only real Chaos on
the Market Place, as this picture taken just after the official
opening at noon on Thursday shows, was a thrill ride.
All eyes at noon though were turned in the direction of the Town
Hall where the Chief Executive of Erewash Borough Council, Jeremy
Jaroszek read the ancient Charter of 1252 and the Mayor of Erewash,
Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal rang the bells to officially declare
the Fair open.
The following day, a little bit earlier in the morning, the same
area where they crowds had thronged for the opening was much
less populated but this picture shows that three favourites,
the Big Wheel, the Cakewalk and the Waltzer were standing in
the regular positions near the Town Hall.
Seen from near the fountain in the corner of the Market Place
one of several Helter Skelters at the Fair appeared like a twin
tower to St Mary's but the church tower is much higher of course.
I mentioned earlier that St Mary's had looked down on the Fair
with one or two exceptions and one of those seen at the Fair
for the first time this year was the Sky Swing which was about
double the height of the church. There were probably some fantastic
views from the top and no doubt someone will have gone up there
with a camera but my feet stayed firmly on the ground! At night
the circling lights on the swinging chairs as they rose and descended
the tapering structure brought to mind a "Close Encounter
of the Third Kind".
The Sky Swing stood on the car park on Pimlico but the height
of it meant that it could be seen from many places around the
town. Here it can be seen towering above the Co-Op building from
South Street where another of those Helter Skelters stood among
the other attractions.
It's at night that the Fair really comes to life
and the Pimlico car park was filled with mainly white knuckle
rides. Another with a space theme was the spinning and twisting
Stargate that was just one to satisfy the thrill seekers. The
Tagada on Wharncliffe Road also whirled the riders around at
phenomenal speed and it was near here too that we bumped into
our friendly neighbourhood Policemen. PC Hamilton topped our
poll in last year's "Pick A Picture" vote so this one
is included by special request.
The roundabouts on Bath Street were much gentler aimed at the
younger members of fair-goers but none the less exciting for
the children. It was still quite noisy here with rides vying
for trade but not as deafening as the loud music and calls to
take a seat on the various rides on Pimlico.
During the daytime, it was usually the smaller rides and roundabouts
that were operating and adults were encouraged to ride with their
children. I remember the last time I was tempted onto a ride
like this many years ago in Great Yarmouth, the Tea Cups were
spun round so quickly that I had to be helped off and it was
several minutes before my head cleared and I got the use of my
a tradition now to call in at the Erewash Museum on Fair Saturday
where fairs of times gone by are fondly remembered with the appearance
of a steam engine and the playing of a Gavioli organ. For one
brief moment the smell of the engine and the music of the organ
transports us back through the years but both will be gone before
dark and overnight most of the Fair will disappear too. The town's
streets will soon return to normality but in another 51 weeks
the travelling showmen will trundle into town to erect the rides
and stalls which will magically appear in the blink of an eye
and we'll be able to do it all again at the 763rd Fair.