Ilkeston's 771st Charter Fair

771st Charter Fair
w/e 22 October 2023

The 'day' pictures were taken with a Nikon D3300 and the 'night' with a Galaxy S20 Mobile Phone..

The people of Ilkeston and the surrounding area celebrated the 771st anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter in 1252 that allows a fair to be held in the centre of the town in the middle of October. To be honest I could have captured the images below in any one of a number of recent years as the fair had a very familiar look to it but they were all captured on Thursday, some in the afternoon and the others in the evening.


Unlike many other fairs, Ilkeston's is still held in the streets around the town centre and whilst many views change little over the years, some stay the same. Children's roundabouts near what was the old Post Office, now Hogarths, have been a familiar sight for many years although it's still within living memory that donkey rides were allowed from here on South Street and along Coronation Street to the right.
South Street

As darkness fell, lights from the stalls and rides lit up the town centre and this is another view of South Street from a little further along.
Old Favourites

Old favourites like the Helter Skelter, Cakewalk and Waltzer (left), Gallopers (top right) occupied their usual positions on the Market Place and it wouldn't be Ilkeston Fair without mushy peas and mint sauce.
Bright Lights

Also in their usual positions and with bright lights shining in the night sky, were the Big Wheel at the side of the Town Hall and the Spinning Coaster on the Pimlico car park. As an alternative to mushy peas, German Bratwurst could also be sampled. I'm not sure what the connection between German sausages and Lincolnshire is though.
Market Place

Many other food stalls were scattered through the fair among the other roundabouts and sideshows as seen in this corner of the Market Place near the fountain which had been barricaded for the duration of the fair.

Whilst the smaller stalls line the streets the larger area of the Market Place allows bigger attractions like the Dodgems and XLR8, which towers high above the library, to be erected.
Scala Cinema

Not as high as XLR8 is the Helter Skelter and there are several at the fair each year, this one standing outside the historic Scala Cinema next to the Pimlico car park.

And it's on the Pimlico car park where many machines, like Stargate, attract scores of youngsters, and perhaps some older people too, to experience the spinning and turning upside down of the thrill rides.
Bath Street

Thrill rides for children like the Little Wheel and Tea Cups could be found on Bath Street. I was never a fan of the Little Wheel as a child and when I, as an adult later, accompanied a young cousin on children's rides, I was left feeling quite queasy - thrills enough for me!

Wharncliffe Road

Yes the fair does not seem to change much from year to year but thinking back to my younger days, it's surprising how many changes have taken place. All of the arterial roads leading to the Market Place are taken over by the fair - Wharncliffe Road above - but gone like the donkeys I mentioned earlier, are the Boxing Booth, the Rotor or Wall of Death, the Caterpillar, the Whip, the Coconut Shys, the Sky Rockets, the Roll-A-Penny, the Slot Machines, the numerous Bingo Stalls which appear to have been supplanted by Hook A Duck stalls. All these plus many more, including the freak shows, have disappeared from the fair and still live long in the memory but will soon be forgotten until this time next year when the travelling showmen will return for the 772nd anniversary of Ilkeston's Charter Fair.

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