Fairground Resources


Local contemporary newspapers are often the most reliable source for information about the shows and amusements in attendance at various fairground venues. The number of sources providing online access to historial newspapers is growing rapidly and many libraries now provide access to a number of digital collections including The Gazette, The Times, and the Gale Digital Collection (includes access to numerous newspapers dating back to the 1700s).

Both
Joyland Books and The Fairground Heritage Trust offer a selection of books significant to fairground history.

The Fairground Society (publishes The Platform.)

Wall of Death Album, compiled by Ken Fox and Neil Calladine

Newspapers:

The Stage (pay)

London Gazette

University of Leicester's Historical Directories  - an online digital library of trade and other directories for England and Wales from 1750 to 1919

Resources for Learning in Scotland  - provides access to a large number of circus photos and posters.

The Guardian/The Observer (pay)

Irish Newspaper Archive  (pay)

ukpressonline (pay)

Trade papers that catered to the thearical, circus or fairground business included The Era, The Showman, Caravan, World's Fair and Merry-Go-Round:


The Showman: some copies available at British Newspaper Library

The Era:  published 1836 - 1939. Stopped reporting on fairs in 1913. 
Copies held at the British Newspaper Library and Birmingham Central Library
Copies up to 1900  are accessible via the Gale Digital Collection.


The following copies of Merry-Go-Round are held at Wallsall Local History Centre , Essex Street, Walsall, WS2 7AS. Telephone 01922 721305. Email  localhistorycentre@walsall.gov.uk

Volume/Number
Section
Vol. IV, No. 1, January 1945
Famous Show of Other Days: William Taylor
The House of Thurston: The founder of the firm
Pudsey Feast: Past and Present
Vol. IV, No. 2, February 1945 Famous Showmen of Other Days: Alfred Ball
The House of Thurston: Charles & Sons
Reminiscences of Southampton Common Fair
Vol. IV, No. 3, March 1945 Famous Showmen of Other Days: Captain Payne
The House of Thurston: Charles & Sons (cont)
Vol. IV, No. 4, April 1945 Famous Showmen of Other Days: James Chittock
House of Thurston: William & Sons
History of Nottingham Goose Fair
Vol. IV, No. 5, May 1945
Famous Showmen of Other Days: President Kemp
Some Scottish Fairs
Vol. IV, No. 6, June 1945 Famous Showmen of Other Days: Harry Scard
The House of Irvin
Southport Memories
Vol. IV, No. 7, July 1945 Famous Showmen of Other Days: Harry Wadbrook
Vol. IV, No. 8, August 1945
Holland Amusements
Some Famous Scenic Railways
Vol. IV, No. 9, Sept 1945
A Visit to Neath Great Fair, 1911
Vol. IV, No. 10, Oct 1945
Bioscope Shows at Cambridge Midsummer Fair
Stratford-on-Avon Mop Fair
Vol. IV, No. 11, November 1945
Bioscope Shows at Cambridge Midsummer Fair: Part II
Vol. V, No. 1, January 1946

Vol. V, No. 2, February 1946

Vol. V, No. 3, March 1946

Vol. V, No. 4, April 1946
Milford's Pioneer of "Film-Land": Harry Scard
Switchbacks and Scenics Seen at Cambridge Midsummer Fair from 1900 Onwards
Vol. V, No. 5, May 1946
Switchbacks and Scenics Seen at Cambridge Midsummer Fair from 1900 Onwards
Vol. V, No. 6, June 1946
Switchbacks and Scenics Seen at Cambridge Midsummer Fair from 1900 Onwards
Vol. V., No. 8, August 1946
Rothwell Charter Fair
Vol. V, No. 9, Sept-Oct 1946
Stratford Mop Reminiscences
Vol. V, No. 11, November 1946

Vol. V, No. 12, December 1946

Vol. VI, No. 1, July 1948
Preston Fair
Vol. VI, No. 2, Aug-Sept 1948
MacLaren Engines
Vol. VI, No. 3, Easter 1949
Thirty Years Ago
An Extract from Bioscope Shows: Jacob Studt's Royal Bioscope
Steam Switchbacks
List of Wallis and Stevens Showmen's Engines
Vol. VI, No. 4, Whitsun 1949
Some Notes on Gallopers
Further Extracts from Bioscope Shows: President Kemp
Foden Showmen's Traction Engines
Vol. VI, No. 5, July 1949
Famous Steam Switchbacks
Vol. VI, No. 6, August 1949
St. Giles' Fair, Oxford
Traction Engines at St. Giles' Fair (list of Burrells, Fosters, etc.)
Vol. VI, No. 8, December 1949
Famous Steam Switchbacks
Traction Engines Used with Switchbacks
Vol. VI, No. 7, October 1949
Famous Steam Switchbacks
Vol. VI, No. 9, February 1950
Famous Steam Switchbacks
Early Novelty Rides
Vol. VI, No. 11, Whitsun 1950
Famous Electric Scenic Railways
Additional Notes on Steam Switchbacks
Vol. VI, No. 12, Midsummer 1950
Famous Electric Scenic Railways
Newcastle Town Moor (Twenty-Five Years Ago)
Vol. VI, No. 13, Early Autumn 1950
Nottingham Goose Fair: An account of the last Sixty Years
Vol. VI, No. 14, Late Autumn 1950
Pat Collins: Some Memories of Birmingham Onion Fair
Vol. VII, No. 1, March 1951
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (The London Area)
Vol. VII, No. 2, May 1951
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (South Country Area)
Hull Fair: Particulars of the last 60 Years
Vol. VII, No. 3, August 1951
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (West of England)
A Short History of Newcastle Town Moor Festival Fair
Vol. VII, No. 4, November 1951
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (The Larger Welsh Shows)
Vol. VII, No. 5, February 1952
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (The Smaller Welsh Shows)
Vol. VII, No. 6, March 1952
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (The Midlands)
Lynn Mart from 1897
Vol. VII, No. 7, May 1952
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (The Midlands)
Vol. VII, No. 8, August 1952
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (Lancashire)
Mitcham Fair
Vol. VII, No. 9, October 1952
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (Yorkshire)
Note on the Largest Gavioli Organs
Rotherham Statutes Fair
Vol. VII, No. 10, New Year 1953
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (The Far North and Scotland)
Vol. VII, No. 11, Early Spring 1953
Brief Particulars of Bioscope Shows (Eastern Counties Shows)
Lincoln April Fair
Vol. VII, No. 12, May 1953

Lincoln April Fair (cont)
Gorton Wakes
Vol. VII, No. 13, August 1953
Famous Four Abreasts
Vol. VII, No. 14, Back End 1953
Traction Engine Particulars (Burrells)
Vol. VII, No. 15, New Year, 1954
Traction Engine Particulars (Burrells)
Wigan Fair
Vol. VII, No. 16, Easter 1954
Traction Engine Particulars (Burrell)
Wigan Fair (cont)
Vol. VII, No. 17, Midsummer 1954
Traction Engine Particulars (Burrell)
Wigan Fair: Part III
Vol. VIII, No. 1, October 1954

Vol. VIII, No. 2, Dec. 1954
Showmen's Burrell Engines
The Anderton Story: Part II
Vol. VIII, No. 3, Feb. 1955
Showmen's Burrell Engines
Switchback or Scenic?
The Anderton Story: Part III
King's Lynn Mart: Its Attractions between the Two Wars
Vol.VIII, No. 4, April 1955
The Anderton Story: Part IV (special supplement)
Vol. VIII, No. 5, June 1955
Showmen's Burrell Engines
Cardiff Memories
The Anderton Story: Part V
Vol. VIII, No. 6, August 1955
Neath Great Fair
Showmen's Burrell Engines
The Anderton Story: Part VI
Vol. VIII, No. 7, Oct 1955
Showmen's Burrell Engines (cont)
The Anderton Story: Part VII (conclusion)
Vol. IX, No. 1, Dec 1955
Hancocks of the West
Vol. IX, No. 2, Early Spring, 1955
(probably Early Spring 1956)
White Brothers of the City of Cardiff
Maclaren Showmens Engines
Vol. IX, No. 3, April 1956
Studts of Swansea
Wychwood Forest Fair
Showmen's Fowler Engines
Vol. IX, No. 4, Midsummer 1956
John Studt of Cardiff
Showmen's Fowler Engines
Some 1926 Midsummer Fairs
Vol IX, No. 5, Aug 1956
Jacob Studt of Gloucester
Showmen's Fowler Engines
Vol. IX, No. 6, October, 1956
Fairs at Leeds
Showmen's Fowler Engines
1926 Back End
A Notable Jubilee (60th anniversy of the first cinema pictures)
Vol. X, No. 1, Dec 1956
Twigdon's Amusements
Showmen's Fowler Engines
Goose Fair 25 Years Ago
Wakefield Recollections
Vol. X, No. 2, Feb 1957
Showmen's Fowler Engines (concluding list)
Vol. X, No. 3, April 1957
The Holland Family
Foden Showmen's Traction Engines
Vol. X, No. 4, June 1957
Marshall Hill of Bristol
Foster Showmen's Engines
Vol. X, No. 5, August/September 1957
Uncle Tom Clarke
Foster Showmen's Engines
Preston Fair
Vol. X, No. 6, Oct/Nov 1957
1927 Hull Fair
Foster Showmen's Engines
Vol. XI, No. 1, Dec/Jan 1957-58
Foster Showmen's Engines
Martinmas Fairs 1927
Vol. XI, No. 2, Feb/Mar 1958
Some Garrett Showmen's Engines
Vol. XI, No. 3, May 1958
The Anderton Story
Some Garrett Showmen's Engines
Vol. XI, No. 4, June/July 1958
The Anderton Story
Newcastle Town Moor, 1928
Vol. XI, No. 5, Aug/Sept 1958
Some Aveling & Porter Showmen's Engines
Neath Great Fair 1908
The Anderton Story
Vol. XI, No. 6, Oct/Nov 1958
The Anderton Story
Wallis & Steevens Showmen's Engines
Dumfries Rood Fair, 1928
Nottingham, 1928
Vol. XII, No. 1, Jan 1959
The Anderton Story
Vol. XII, No. 2, March 1959
The Anderton Story
Some Lesser Known Showmen's Engines:Brown & Mays; Rushton & Proctors; Ransome, Sims & Jeffries; Clayton & Shuttleworth; and Taskers
Vol. XII, No. 3, May 1959
The Anderton Story
Tunnel Railways
Aveling & Porter Showmen's Engines
Vol. XII, No. 4, July 1959
The Anderton Story
Some Early Savage Centre Engines
Glasgow Fair (Thirty and Eighty Years Ago)
Vol. XIII, No. 5, September 1959
The Anderton Story
Fairground Organs in Preservation
Vol. XIII, No. 6, Christmas 1959
The Anderton Story
Savage Centre Engines
Vol. XIV, No. 1, Birthday Edition 1940-1960
Fairground Organs in Preservation

Vol. XIV, No. 2, May/June 1960
Pat Collins
The Anderton Story
Vol. XIV, No. 3, Midsummer, 1960
Pat Collins
Organ Notes
The Anderton Story
Burrell Showmen's Engines
Vol. XIV, No. 4, Autumn 1960
Pat Collins
Pat Collins Engines
September Fairs
Vol. XIV, No. 5, November 1960
Fairground Organs
Pat Collins
Burrell Showmen's Engines
Fairground Memories of 1930
Vol. XIV, No. 6, Jan-Feb, 1961
Fair Ground Organs
Burrell's Showmens Engines
Reminicences of 40 Years Ago
Vol. XIV, No. 1, Easter 1961
Fair Ground Organs
Burrell Engines Built for Showmen
Vol. XIV, No. 2, May-June 1961
Fairground Organs
Burrell Showmen's Engines
Vol. XIV, No. 3, July-August 1961
Fairground Organs
Burrell Showmen's Engines
Kendal Whitsun Fair, 1906
Vol. XIV, No. 4, Sept-Oct 1961
Fairground Organs
Burrell Showmen's Engines
Vol. XIV, No. 5, Nov-Dec 1961
Burrell Engines Built for Showmen
Vol. XIV, No. 6, Jan-Feb 1962
Steam Yachts
Engine Particulars (Maclarens)
Vol. XV, No. 1, Easter, 1962
Razzle Dazzles
Australian Merry-Go-Rounds
Engine Particulars (Maclarens)
Vol. XV, No. 2, June 1962
Waddingtons of Yorkshire
T. Green Portable Electric Light Engines
Nottingham Goose, 1931
Vol. XV, No. 3, Aug-Sept 1962
A Visit to Holland (organs)
T. Green Portable Electric Light Engines (cont)
Vol. XV, No. 4, Oct-Nov 1962
Richardson Brothers
 Vol. XV, No. 5, Jan-Feb 1963
The Murphy Family
Twigdon's Traction Engines
Organ News
Vol. XV, No. 6, Easter 1963
The Murphy Family
Early Burrell Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 1, Whitsun, 1963
Fair Organs at Utrecht
Burrell Showmens Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 2, July-Aug 1963
Burrell Showmens Engines
Vol XVI, No. 3, Sept-Oct 1963
Burrell Showmens Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 4, Nov-Dec 1963
Burrell Showmens Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 5, Jan-Feb 1963
Fair Organ Music
Ling's Amusements
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 6, April 1964
Fair Organ Music
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 7, July, 1964
Bioscope Shows at Hull Fair
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 8, Aug-Sept 1964
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 9, Oct 1964
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 10, Nov-Dec 1964
Famous Welsh Fairgrounds
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVII No. 11, Jan-Feb 1965
Fairground Organ tunes of the past
For Model Makers (Scenic Railway Dimensions)
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVI, No. 12, March 1965
Fairground Organ tunes of the past
The Hall at Norwich
Fowler Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVII, No. 1, May-June 1965
Fairground Organ tunes
The Hall at Norwich
Garrett Showmen's Engines
XVII, No. 2, July/Aug 1965
The Hall at Norwich
Garrett Showmen's Engines
Vol. XVII, No. 3, Sept-Oct 1965
Stamford Carnival
Barry Fair Grounds, S. Wales
A. Becquart's organ at Thursford
Vol. XVII, No. 4, Mid Winter Edition
Some Famous Four-abreasts
Lesser known makes of Showmen's Engines: Brown & May; Ruston & Proctor; Ransoms; Robey; Clayton & Shuttleworth, William Allchin; Tractors.
Vol. XVII, No. 5, Easter 1966
Brighton Race Fairs
Wallis and Stevens Engines
Vol. XVII, No. 6, Whitsun 1966
Wallis and Steevens Engines
The Adventrues of John Slater
Slaters of Carlisle
Vol. XVII, No. 7, July/Aug. 1966
Wallis and Stevens Engines (continue)
Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie
Vol. XVII, No. 8, Sept/Oct 1966
Wallis and Steevens Tractors
An Early Imhof Organ
Vol. XVIII, No. 9, Nov-Dec, 1966-67*
Marshall Hill's Rides and Engines
Wallis and Steevens Tractors
Special Issue: Famous Travelling Bioscope Shows:  Part One: By the Revd. Father P.R. Greville (1891-1966): Feb-May-Aug, 1967
The Arnold Story (by Albert Arnold)
Famous Travelling Bioscope Shows: First Instalment
Professor Ball's Cinematograph and Living Pictures
Bioscope Shows in the London Area
Bioscope Shows in the South Country Area
West of England Shows and Showmen
Famous Bioscope Show: President Kemp

* there were a few errors made in numbering

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