Ilkeston - Fair Week
w/e 21 October 2018
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
Notices start to appear in October advising that
the town centre roads will be closed when the Annual Charter
Fair takes place later in the month. The travelling showmen start
to arrive the weekend before and they start to build the Fair
on Tuesday with it being opened for business on Wednesday evening.
The official Royal Charter that allows the Fair to be held was
granted in 1252 which makes this year the 766th anniversary and
the Charter states that the Fair can be held "on the first
Thursday after the first Sunday after the 11th". Just before
noon on Thursday this year there didn't seem to be many people
and it looked fairly quiet on the Market Place.
That's because they were all gathered outside the Town Hall for
the official opening ceremony and the ringing of the bells to
signify the start of the Fair.
All those gathered for the opening were also entertained by a
firework display from the top of the Town Hall, juggling stilt
walkers and singing by Johnny Victory.
When I was growing up our morning lessons at a nearby school
finished at 11:55am and we all then dashed up to the Market Place
hoping to take advantage of a free ride on the Big Wheel, Waltzer,
Dodgems or Gallopers that were all situated around the Town Hall.
These days the Mayor, Mayoress and all the visiting civic leaders
still enjoy the privilege of a free ride and vouchers are handed
out to other lucky recipients so that the mad scramble of years
gone by is avoided.
As everyone dispersed after the opening the town centre streets
looked a lot busier than earlier as the Fair got under way again.
But it's when darkness falls and the lights come on that the
Fair gets into full swing.
I mentioned earlier that in my youth the Gallopers were always
on the Market Place and they were usually placed between the
Waltzer and the Dodgems. In more recent times they have lost
that prime position and are usually to be found on the Albion
Centre car park. They were there again this year but there was
also a second carousel back on the Market Place although this
year it stood on the other side of the Dodgems.
The Pimlico car park contained mainly thrill rides and each night
the cacophony of noise accompanied the whirling rides, flashing
lights and smoke from the special effects. It was nice to see
on Thursday night but the rides were not for me thank you very
Of course no Fair in Ilkeston would be complete without the Cakewalk
which always reminds me of my Dad. Working as a bus conductor
he was used to balancing whilst collecting fares on both lower
and upper decks of double-decker buses so the Cakewalk was no
problem for him. All these years later it was still a popular
attraction of Saturday afternoon.
And Saturday was also the day when there was a stem engine, fairground
organ and model fair display at the Erewash Museum. The Fair
closed at 11:00pm on Saturday and Fair Week came to an end as
the Market Place was cleared and roads reopened by noon on Sunday.
The showmen began to move on to their next location but they
will be back next year for the 767th Charter Fair ready to do
it all again.