There were none of these whiz things, just the old fashioned horses ...
Renee came with her daughter Pauline into Avenues Library and talked to us about her memories of the fair from the 1920s. The easiest question to ask Renee was “What do you remember”:
Well, it was in the same place that it is now, in Walton Street and we lived quite close, so my mother took us every night. The roundabouts were either a penny or the big ones were threepence and there were none of these whiz things, just the old fashioned horses and things like that, and side shows, the fat lady and the hairy lady and this sort of thing. And the Circus, I remember the Circus, there was always a nice Circus.
What circus was that Renee:
I can’t remember who’s it was, was it Bostock? I think it was Bostock’s. Bostock and Wombwell it was called. You had the clowns and the ponies and things like that, a bit of a trapeze thing, but not a lot. We paid to go in and have a look at it, I should think it was about sixpence. They had the clown in the middle and the acrobats and the horses going round. They had one particular pony and I’ll tell you what I worried about when I was younger; they thought this pony, it used to go around, they’d taught it to go around and nod at the person who wet the bed last night! Oh the kids were terrified and used to start hiding in case the pony stopped at them.
Tell us more about the fair:
It was lovely. You got chips and peas from Carvers and you always got your brandy snaps and your candyfloss and a coconut that was your treat. I lived in Wharncliffe Street, so I would go across the street and go to the fair. Past the George, oh yes, there used to be a roundabout there, the gipsies would be in the front gardens, where they would tell your fortune. It was a nice fair. The biggest thing there was when the big wheel came. The fair was all the way down Walton Street. I remember a thing called Coney Island. It was used a an army training barracks at one time, it was a big shed, I know they called it Coney Island and that was all set out with stalls then.
I went with my mother, but as I got older you went with your friends from school. From about age ten I would go on my own I think, of course you did not have all the trouble you do now days. Nobody bothered you, I had to go home when it got dark, we used to go across at teatime and go home at nine. You went until you had spent up then you came home. My mother always gave us money to go with, we had our pocket money but she always gave us extra for Hull Fair.
Like many lovers of the fair Renee has seen Hull fair as child, teenager and parent:
Yes I went first of all with my parents, then I went on my own and this is one of my daughters I used to take. One time she was on a roundabout and it would not stop, she was crying and it would not stop and the man turned the handle, she was not even two and she was screaming, I went after the man to make him stop the roundabout, to take her off.
Renee’s daughter Pauline, blushing as she remembers the scene recalls her own fair:
When we were at school I can remember we used to get half a day off. I remember the hook a duck that used to be 6 pence and I won a prize every time. As we started to go on our own with school friends it was the fast rides. I remember the waltzers and the four girls into one and the boys in another. We would walk down Walton street and go to Carvers for fish and chips and go back home again. I think we would go about three times a week but after dark. The thrill of the lights. I still go but I don’t go on anything. It’s not the same, but then again I guess that’s because I’m getting old.
Renee and Pauline thank you very much for sharing your memories with the project. We hope you like the pictures and know that the that Pony never turned to you ...