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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.