But no, it was just something we looked forward to. October. Hull Fair.
Hamilton Effie was born in Cottingham and has been visiting Hull Fair since the
1920s and came into Ings Library to talk about her memories of the fair.
What is your name?
Well I'll spell it for you. It's E. F. F. I. E. Yes and just a little story -
My mother was Florence Eleanor and my father called her Effie because he was a
Scot and it is a Scottish name and it is a shortened name for Euphemia but on
my birth certificate I have E. F. F. I. E. and my first name is named after an
old Scottish Aunt Hamilton and my husband came from Hamilton. So things seem
to happen to me.
Hamilton Effie. I am 84 and from being a child I came to Hull Fair with my parents and I had an Aunt in the Boulevard and so I came twice because I went with her as well and we just did the usual things, slide the pennies, knock the coconuts down.
I'll tell you my most frightening incident - this might interest you. We went into this show and it was doing magic things and he said : I am going to saw this ladies head off. I'm going to saw this ladies head off. And so he put, like the guillotine actually, and he put a thing over her head. I should think I'd be about 13 or 14. Then he picked the thing up and threw it into the audience and it was a cabbage. Frightened everybody to death! And that has been in my mind for ever more. And that's one thing that has stuck in my mind.
It was just wonderful. You know, I think you did the same things every year, went on the caterpillar, you went on the Helter Skelter. The Waltzers. I only once went on the Steam Yachts because they frightened me to death. But no, it was just something we looked forward to. October. Hull Fair.
But another show - I don't know if anyone has told you about the animals - Bostock and Wombwells?
You remember that do you?
Yes I do. I got. My husband used to tell me I had a memory for useless
information. I can tell you a funny incident that happened there. Well - the
tiger was on the stand and it decided to urinate into the crowd. Yes. That is
another thing that - these little things stick in your mind
Yes. I like animals of course and so did my Aunt so we always went to the animal show - I don't think it's cruel.
Outside all the shows there was someone who was getting you to go in. I would never go and see the 'Come and See the Lady with Two Heads' or anything like that - that didn't appeal to me at all. But - I mean it was the first time I would be able to see a tiger.
When you went into Bostock and Wombwells did you get a tour?
No you sat. You sat and watched a show the animals going through their paces
like a circus. It was a circus wasn't it? Don't forget I'm 84 you are nearly
going back 70 years. No it was just, as I say, I went twice with my parents
and my brother and then this aunt who she hadn't a daughter she had a son but -
if my Uncle was home - he was a chief engineer on a ship - he used to always
buy me a doll and they were called CUPIE DOLLS. Has anybody ever told you that?
No one has ever told me that.
They were a sort of little celluloid doll, and he always bought me one. I think it's C.U.P.I.E. I'm not sure, I think it's an American expression.
I remember Chicken Joe. I went with my mother just after the war, the first one after the war, and I won a lovely alarm clock. It was one where there was Mickey Mouse. But, it was very enjoyable but I'm too old to go now.
When was the last time you went?
Long long time ago. I suppose, we stopped going when my son decided he wanted to go with girls and not his parents.
I can tell you something an Uncle told me. I can really. This was one of my mother's younger brothers. And he'd gone to see the Fat Lady and he'd gone like this, and he said 'Oh Isn't it soft' and so they got hold of his hand and they said I'll put it on somewhere softer and put it on top of his head!
That's a good one.
But I didn't go and watch the freaks. No. Had my fortune told for a bit of
fun. We knew it was rubbish but if you went with a crowd of girls well…
Thank you very Effie. Excellent stories.