That was our treat was to go round the fair
Gladys Kemp was interviewed at the Lonsdale Centre in Hull back in May this year. She brought along some photographs and a wealth of memories of the fair.
I'm Gladys Kemp and we're talking about the Hull Fair and when I was a little girl and I used to go with my mother. There was always somebody collecting at the end of Walton Street, Anlaby Road end, for an orphanage. Before we could go round the fair my brother and I had to put a penny in. Then we could go and spend our own money which wouldn't have been a lot, sixpence probably. You went on the rides, so cheap all the little rides and bumping cars, the side shows, the boxing booths where anybody in the fair could go and chance their arm at boxing. The Cakewalk, that was a nice one. And the Galloping Horses, which they still have at the fair now. And - Tattooed Ladies.
After the war I remember seeing the tallest schoolboy, who wasn't a school boy, because he used to deliver the paper to our house. He was only a young chap but he was very tall. And he'd deliver our papers. Somehow they had him in the show as the tallest schoolboy.
There was Chicken Joe, you bought a ticket, people in Hull and others, you bought a ticket and if your number came up you got this bag full of groceries and a chicken on the top. But before the war when I went with my mother, she got a two penny ticket and she wanted a set of pans but I wanted the doll. And when she won - guess what - I got the doll. And my mother never got her pans!
You haven't got the doll still?
No. I had it in a pram, somebody was chasing me and I ran with it and it ran into the corner of a house and smashed it's head in. My mother mended it with rags and bandages and flour and water paste and made it a bonnet to cover it's poorly head up. That was Kathleen - I don't know what happened to her. That's the only doll that I can ever remember when I was little. More recently, over 20 years ago when I went with my husband, we went on a stall and won - and I had to pick something - and I was so excited I just didn't know what to pick! I picked a watch. My husband said 'I don't know what you'd be like if we won the football pools! '
There used to be a man with a pyjama jacket on and great big safety pin across it. And his was similar to Chicken Joe - you bought a ticket and if you won your number came up then you got the pick of the stall.
Was that Pyjama Bob?
I don't know - he was just a man with a Pyjama jacket on - probably had a name but I can't remember. There used to be one where there was like, all these Christian names, and then there was all the surnames. So all the surnames used to be whizzing round - and if you had Bob Smith on your ticket and it stopped at Bob Smith - then you got the prize.
Do you remember the children's rides?
They were similar to what they are now, motorbikes and cars, I always wanted to go in a car. After the war when I went, I wasn't very keen on the big rides. There used to be one with Popeye in the middle and like bullets going all the way round. They were all joined on together like that in a circle. Not like the ones where they are all separate arms.
You told me, when we were speaking before, you mentioned about when you were first been married?
Oh yes, when my son was born. 1959 he was born so it's into the 60s and my mother in law and father in law always came down on a Wednesday, they came for their tea and for the evening. And that was our night out on the Wednesday night - we went round the fair. That was our treat was to go round the fair.
Were you born close to here?
Yes, Hawthorne Avenue, just over on Anlaby Road from here.
And when you'd go to the fair would you just recognise everybody? I mean of the people who went to the fair - in the 40s and 50s - was it all people you knew from around here?
No. I did once see somebody that I'd worked with. I'd worked with her in about 1946 so this was a lot of years afterwards, she'd got married, and I'd got married. So I said 'Have you any family?' and she said 'Yes' and whatever she'd got. I said 'You haven't any children yet?' So she said any fool can have kids! Any fool can have kids!
Do you still go to the fair?
I usually go on a Monday afternoon or a Wednesday afternoon, when I've been to this community centre - I go with my friends and we just go - four o'clock time - just to look around. At least you can see the stalls and you can see what the rides are and there's no crowds around.
I think you said to me that you've been to the fair nearly every year?
Yes, we didn't go through the war then after the war I went every year as far as I can remember till about 2 years ago - I don't think I even went around in the afternoon which is most unusual - must have been some reason why I was not able to go.
I'll tell you one funny thing - on one of the stalls if you won you won a gold fish but you had to buy the bowl. And we went past one stall and his prize was a fish but the bowls were a shilling. B O W E L instead of bowl! I didn't have a camera with me! So you've only got my word for it but that's how it was spelt.
Lets see what photographs you've got here then?
We've got one of the elephants that were parading down Walton street with the girls in their finery sat on them. I went to see the elephants when they'd got into their cages and they were just stood there looking really sad, just their heads nodding from side to side and their trunks nodding - I think that was so cruel. I didn't like that. This would be after I was married. After 1954, it could have been 60s.
And then these are photographs from 1950. These are girls that I worked with at William Jackson's in Hull which was the food group.
You are easily recognisable there with the blonde hair.
The lady on the right was Margery Suddaby. Next to her Dorothy Joplin. Then there's me, Gladys Ward as was. And this is Jean Ellis.
So this is 1950.
This would be after work. There's three of us again, you can see the advert for Fossetts Circus in the background. And then this is the four of us sat on a ride - on the steps of a ride - it's the Alpine ride isn't it?
So will you be going there this year then?
Thank you so much Gladys for bringing such evocative photos to the project. You brought the Lonsdale Centre to life that day in May and your memories have brought new life to the project.