Ilkeston - It's Fair Time Again (No. 756)
w/e 19 October 2008
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

A Wet Wednesday

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.
The Opening

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.
South Street

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.
Queen 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.
Wharncliffe Road

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.
Town Centre Streets

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.
Scala Backdrop

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.
Pimlico Car Park

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.

Some of the rides and amusements on Pimlico.

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