1960 — 1970
Throughout the 1960s the official opening became more and more lavish with many distinguished visitors from towns throughout Yorkshire joining the Lord Mayor’s party. The 1965 event was opened by Alderman Miss Annie Major, the first lady to hold the office of Lord Mayor of Hull, who was presented with a bell by F. Miller of the Yorkshire Section, with which to open the fair. The 1960s were also characterised by rumours that the fair would be moved from Walton Street to a new venue. The annual Hull Fair service continued to be an annual feature on the Sunday morning at St Matthews Church. The fair opening became unofficially fixed on the Saturday nearest to the 11th of October and the World’s Fair reporter commented that there was a special bus service running from the city centre with coach services replacing the railway as the means of travelling to Hull from outside the City.
Local debate reminiscent of issues raised in the 19th century continued to dog the fair. The World’s Fair of October 14th 1961 ran the following piece:
Showman Lashes Hull Fair Critics
In the October edition of the Parish Magazine, the spirited Rev. Leslie Stanbridge, announced that he would not be holding the annual Hull Fair service, on account of the fair becoming an organised gambling shop and a place whereby heathen superstitions belonged.
The Yorkshire showman, Mr Charles Doubtfire suggested that the Rev Leslie Stanbridge visited the den of heathens in hope of reforming them to Christians, if he really believed they were not. Mr Doubtfire strongly resented the Reverends
remarks and justified his Christian beliefs by he and his wife regularly attending
Church services at Rippon Cathedral when they were home. Mr Doubt-fire and his wife married in church and ensured their son, who was educated in a Harrogate school, attended church every Sunday.
The fair was clearly as much fun as it had ever been and those who questioned this got short shift from the showmen who were rightly proud of their business and had very high standards. The same article concluded:
Replying later to Mr Doubtfire’s statement to the Press and to Alderman George Frear’s comments concerning the cancellation of the Hull Fair service the Rev. Leslie Stanbridge said: "They speak of the charitable Christian lives of many of the showmen at the Fair, and of the generosity of the Guild to good causes. I have no doubt whatever of the truth of this , nor has it been question by our action in not holding the service. The cancellation of the service is not a reflection on the personal lives of the showmen but against some of the shows."
Some shows did continue to flourish in the 60s with both Howard’s Temple of Magic and Jepson’s Naughty Nineties Show appearing at Hull Fair in 1960. However in general the 1960s saw shows in retreat as the rides
became ever more popular and provided greater and greater thrills. That year saw the appearance of Harry Lee’s ever-popular Steam Yachts, the only ride with an organ and the only steam driven ride. The names of the more modern rides show how the showmen were keeping up-to-date with the fashions of the day with John Ling’s Moonrocket, Raymond Armstrong’s Strato Rockets, John Collins Meteorite and Sedgewick’s Paratrip.