Division Road School and the Shamrocks
Jeff Turgoose emailed us his memories of the Hull Fair of his childhood. He still goes there but for a different reason now:
I am 61 years of age and was born within a stones throw of the present fairground. My school was in Division Road and we were told that we could only go to the fair with our parents but never the less we went anyway as often as we could. Money we had not, but that didn't stop us. As soon as the rides started to arrive we went just to watch these monsters of steam and noise being put into their places. Big tops with animals from places we had only seen on maps on the classroom wall, wild west shows with cowboys and indians just like the comics that the rich kids could afford to read and then swop with us for marbles. My favorite was the steam shamrocks. Watching the screaming riders on a night, (its always best when it gets dark and the lights and smells blend together in such a unique way that is the trade mark of Hull Fair). Then the next day sneaking out straight from school to look for pennies that had been lost by the people who dared to ride on the back netting swinging with their legs in the air showing off to their girlfriends. Where in the world can you walk and watch in wonder, even now all these years later I still think it's the best free show in the world just watching the peoples faces as they get nearer and nearer to the old transhed corner of the park in Walton Street and then the sudden blast of noise and wonderland of lights and movement as you see the whole landscape laid out like an aladdin's cave of magical jewels . Everything that tests the imagination, how do they gets these things to operate without somebody somewhere being catapulted in near space never to be seen again. Then as now I still find it difficult to fathom how they can think of different ways to get machinery to contort its self. Bigs wheels stay the same but they get better, brighter and higher to give the fantastic aerial views from the top if you dare open your eyes long enough to look. I still take my family and friends or anybody else that hears my infectious stories and wants to see exactly what it is that I hold so dear and they still think I am just like the kid who enjoyed sneaking off as a schoolboy in the early fifties, but now I'm a responsible adult who actually gets paid to be part of the team that every year brings this fantastic spectacle to the City were I was born and bred. And if I have anything to do with it my children, or whoever gets to look after me when the old legs have gotten tired, will still be bringing me to see the sights, enjoy the smells, have my pattie and chips for as long as those magnificent showmen keep bringing Europe's largest and best fair to the place that holds so many memories for me and I have no doubt for so many others.
If you have a memory you'd like to share email it to: hullfair@sheffield.ac.uk