Ilkeston - A Virtual 768th Fair
w/e 25 October 2020
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DC280 or Kodak DX6490

This week we should be seeing pictures of Ilkeston's Charter Fair but for what should now be obvious reasons, although it's the 768th anniversary of the granting of the Charter in 1252, the annual Fair did not take place. Like many other events it fell victim to the pandemic. In the 20 plus years I've been taking photos for Ilkeston Cam, on the very rare occasions when things have been cancelled I've added pictures from earlier events. I remember two Carnivals when heavy rain caused their cancellation and only last month saw the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival also cancelled. But coronavirus or not, I see no reason why we can't look back over those 20 years and relive some of the excitement in a selection of images from previous Fairs.

Giant Wheel 2000

In 2000 at the Millennium Fair from the top of St Mary's tower I saw the Giant Wheel occupy the centre of the Market Place dwarfing everything around it and causing the usual layout of the Fair to be modified to accommodate it.
Big Wheel 2001

The following year saw a return to the usual layout of the Fair with the normal sized Big Wheel returning to its traditional place at the side of the Town Hall.

Having climbed St Mary's tower for pictures of the Giant Wheel in 2000, I was granted access to the Town Hall balcony on opening day in 2002 for some photos from the other side of the Market Place which provided a perfect view of the Helter Skelter and the Cake Walk.
Magic Mouse 2005

When the Magic Mouse first started coming to the Fair it arrived a couple of weeks ahead of the rest of the rides to allow time for it to be constructed. Seen here on the Pimlico Car Park in 2005, the travelling showmen now have it off to a fine art and it is erected - and dismantled - much quicker.
Candy Floss 2007

There are often new rides each year but there is also room for old favourites. Children's roundabouts along with stalls selling all sorts of hot food and confectionary such as Candy Floss fill many of the streets around the town centre. Seen here from the junction of East Street and Bath Street is the Lower Market Place in 2007.
Shooting Gallery 2010

In 2010 I decided to concentrate of some of the fairground art that adorned many of the attractions like this above a shooting gallery. I wonder now 10 years later whether public opinion has caused the gun-toting figures in the display to be changed.
Opening Ceremony 2012

In 2000 I'd climbed St Mary's tower, in 2002 I'd been on the Town Hall balcony and in 2012, the owner of the Helter Skelter across from the Town Hall, one of several Helter Skelter's that grace the Fair of which there are usually five or six, allowed me to take photos from the top of the opening ceremony at noon on the Thursday of Fair Week.
Showmen's Village 2013

In 2013 I took the usual photos around the Fair but also went behind the scenes. The showmen and their families arrive in their droves and set up camp at various places around the town. There used to be space for some of them at the side of Chalons Way near Park Road but a housing development now prevents that. so other sites had to be found. This one on the Albion Centre Car Park off Bath Street is usually fully occupied and has been a showmen's "village" for many years.
Mickey the Monkey 2016

Another feature of the Fair takes place on the Saturday each year when the Erewash Museum hosts a model fairground exhibition inside and a Gavioli organ and a steam engine in its grounds. In 2016 Mickey the Monkey was also present.
Gallopers 2018

Our reminiscences have brought us nearly up to date and hopefully come this time next year we shall all be able to enjoy a walk through the Fair again seeing all the favourite rides, stalls and sideshows. Hopefully the big thrill rides will be standing cheek by jowl again with old favourites like the Gallopers as pictured here in 2018. We can only hope.

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