Ilkeston - Living The Dream
w/e 25 October 2015
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Dream Slogan

Some people dream of running away to join the Circus, others of travelling to far flung places. I suppose being a member of the Showmen's Guild comes close to combining those dreams as they move around the country from place to place with their fairground attractions.

Fair Lorries

In previous years I have photographed Ilkeston's annual Charter Fair from various angles, high and low, near and far. I have looked at various themes such as the artwork and the people but it was the slogan on the back of one of Pat Collins' vehicles that inspired this year's selection on the 763rd anniversary of Royal Charter that enables the Fair to be held in the town centre.

Fair Lorries

To live the dream of being a travelling showman, you must be able to manoeuvre a large vehicle, like these at the top of Market Street some of which generate power for the rides, into the tightest of spots.
Covered Up

And you'll have to get used to working in all weathers even before the Fair opens to set up the stalls and rides. Wednesday was a wet day but waterproof covers kept the rides dry for the evening start.
Waltzer & Chaos

The day before had been a lovely autumn day but as lorries and trucks rolled up to unload the rides there was some sort of organised chaos on the Market Place. No pun intended but the ride next to the Waltzer is called Chaos.
South Street

Getting ReadyHelter SkelterAlso on Tuesday more vehicles stretched from the Market Place (left) along South Street (above) as another roundabout was inched into place. A few locals complained about the disruption but this is what dreams are made of. Others eagerly anticipate the Fair although some of the Fair workers must feel like it's working on a building site as another panel was hauled into position on the Helter Skelter (right).
Caravan Park

The showmen form their own little communities and take over many of the town centre car parks as well as part of the recreation ground but moving from place to place means they are unlikely to find their dream location and find they have new neighbours each week. This one was on the Mount Street car park.
Ringing The Bells

On the Thursday of the 763rd Fair, civic dignitaries from other local councils and children from local schools were invited to witness the reading of the Charter and see the Mayor of Erewash Councillor Val Custance ring the bells to signify the official opening the Fair. Maybe some of the children will dream of becoming Mayor themselves one day and performing the same ceremony.
On The Dodgems

Like many of her predecessors, in her opening remarks the Mayor commented that the opening of the Fair was one of the highlights of the civic year and then, also like her predecessors, enjoyed a free ride on the Dodgems accompanied by Chief Executive of the Council, Jeremy Jaroszek.
Over The Top

But if you do dream about the Fair it's probably the loud music, flashing lights of rides like Over The Top and the nightly atmosphere that encapsulates what most people think of this week in Ilkeston's October calendar.
Food Stalls

It's probably the only time of year too when you can buy German Sausages, Mexican food, Hot Chestnuts or Pasty and Potatoes in the town centre.


In addition of course there was as all the other usual fast food, burgers, chips, hot mushy peas and this year you could even buy a portion of noodles. With sweets, candy floss and biscuits also on sale throughout the Fair, there must be several hundred people employed in manning the stalls at what many people would regard as unsocial hours. Bear a thought too for the showmen who must work through the night on Saturday to dismantle everything and pack it all away. There will be no dreaming for them on Saturday night as they work to clear the town centre and get ready to move on by Sunday lunchtime.
Riding High

So the showman's life may not be the one everyone dreams of but you'll know where to look if you want to see me on top of the Big Wheel or high up on the Sky Swing, won't you? In your dreams!

Home Page
Back to Annual Charter Fair Index
Special Features Index

Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.