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Sheffield Fun-Fairs


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hilldweller

Cogitating the other day, (never a good idea without a tumbler full of a good malt) my thoughts turned to fun-fairs.

My earliest recollections are of the old Wadsley Feast which used to be held on a small field off Studfield Hill Wadsley, until some time in the sixties. A small estate was built on the field years ago and the road formed was called Studfield Drive. Another fun-fair used to be held on the car park in front of the dog track at Owlerton where a circus appeared on at least one occasion. Of course the Farm Grounds Gala also featured a fair and when this moved to Claywheels Lane, Wadsley Bridge, for a short time, the fair went too.

I remember catching the tram to a fair at Wadsley Bridge in an area which I think was the grounds of a big house (Wadsley Bridge Club perhaps). Also during the early sixties I remember a fun-fair held on the temporary car-park situated on the cleared railway goods-yard in front of the Midland Station, Sheaf House the railway headquarters was later built on this site. Of course fun-fairs have been held in the bottom corner of Hillsborough Park for many years. My step-cousin and I went to to a small fair held in a park off Finchwell Road at Handsworth.

There must have been many other fun-fair sites around Sheffield over the years, can anyone think of any ?

HD

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I have vague memories of regular visits to Ecclesfield Fair as a child

the most exciting thing was getting pennies of my parents for the

one armed bandits and throwing hoops over Goldfish bowls to win a

Fish, and Darts into cards and hooking ducks and i am starting to ramble

now..

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I found out int pub last night that the Ecclesfield Fair was run by a company

called NORTHS FAIRS and was held at the rear of the Ball Inn does that make

sense to anyone?.

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Cogitating the other day, (never a good idea without a tumbler full of a good malt) my thoughts turned to fun-fairs.

My step-cousin and I went to to a small fair held in a park off Finchwell Road at Handsworth.

HD

Could the one at Handsworth have been the Handsworth Feast?

and could the place have been Olivers Field?

Handsworth Feast

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There used to be a travelling fair that came to Oaks Park at Norton, just at the side of the cricket club, where the roundabout is at the top of Blackstock Road. I think it was "Lings" but not too sure.

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There used to be a travelling fair that came to Oaks Park at Norton, just at the side of the cricket club, where the roundabout is at the top of Blackstock Road. I think it was "Lings" but not too sure.

Could have been Ling's Fair

However,

Up until 1990 Sheffield Steam Club (at the time Sheffield & District Steam Society) had its annual steam rally and fair at Oakes Park, usually in September but later changed to June to avoid conflict with harvest time as many members with traction engines were farmers.

We stopped having rallies at Oakes Park when we came into conflict with some local by-laws to do mainly with Sunday trading and not being able to have a good time and enjoy yourself on a Sunday. The conflict lead to our rally being annonymously inspected and a court case being brought against us by the City Council.

Although we won the court case we moved our rally site, First to Rother Valley Country Park, then to Renishaw Hall, then to its present location at North Anston.

All of these later sites are outside the City boundary to avoid any repitition of the "Oaks Park fiasco"

I understand that travelling Circuses with animal acts also camp up outside the City boundary due to some other local regulations concerning performing animals.

So sadly the City of Sheffield has lost a steam rally / fair and circus presentations because of the beurocracy of the local council. :angry: :(

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Could have been Ling's Fair

However,

Up until 1990 Sheffield Steam Club (at the time Sheffield & District Steam Society) had its annual steam rally and fair at Oakes Park, usually in September but later changed to June to avoid conflict with harvest time as many members with traction engines were farmers.

We stopped having rallies at Oakes Park when we came into conflict with some local by-laws to do mainly with Sunday trading and not being able to have a good time and enjoy yourself on a Sunday. The conflict lead to our rally being annonymously inspected and a court case being brought against us by the City Council.

Although we won the court case we moved our rally site, First to Rother Valley Country Park, then to Renishaw Hall, then to its present location at North Anston.

All of these later sites are outside the City boundary to avoid any repitition of the "Oaks Park fiasco"

I understand that travelling Circuses with animal acts also camp up outside the City boundary due to some other local regulations concerning performing animals.

So sadly the City of Sheffield has lost a steam rally / fair and circus presentations because of the beurocracy of the local council. :angry::(

This is how the story was told of Sheffield & District Steam Society's brush with beurocracy was told in the February 2001 Newsletter by their member Eric Stanley.

At the time I was newsletter editor.

A Legal Battle (PART 1)

The saga started on the Thursday before the rally when, as of now, a few members would assemble on the field, in this case Oakes Park at Norton, to prepare for the rally. I was one of those members. During the afternoon I was approached by a young chap who flashed an ID card which I didn't take much notice of but he stated that he was from Sheffield Council Environmental Health Department and he wanted to inspect the site so I told him to go ahead, but, after asking if I was a committee member and getting an affirmative answer he asked me to accompany him which I did. This was a departure from the norm as previously a much older man would come, have a quick shifty and then depart but on enquiry I was told that he had retired and that he was the "new broom". We commenced the inspection of the toilets which in those days consisted of 2 caravans and 2 tents erected by Mudfords. These tents had hessian screens draped in between each cubicle to offer some privacy to the users. On his inspection he stated that the screens in the men's were not thick enough and had to be increased, this task proved difficult as the erectors had left the site but he wouldn't take no for an answer, anyhow he then asked if all the food vans on site would have adequate washing facilities so with this I said why not go and ask them which he did allowing me to go back to my duties. Friday came along and he was back on site asking if the toilets had been upgraded as he had requested so we went along and he seemed satisfied so we thought that would be the last we would see of him, but no, as you will have guessed he was back again the next day, Saturday, when the rally was in full swing and to gain entrance he flashed his card at the gate staff and came in. After touring the site he made a bee line for me again and says " I hope that fairground wont be operating tomorrow as its against the law". I should point out here that the fairground consisted of :- 1) a fun bag (an early form of bouncy castle), 2) some donkeys, 3) a coconut shy, 4) some small motor bikes for riding round a straw bale enclosure and 5) a lighthouse slip (helter skelter). I reported his comments to other committee members present as at this time the site was used annually not only by us but also by 2 fairgrounds, one early, one late and by a circus without animals. There was a lady who lived in Norton Park Avenue who every time she saw vehicles approaching the site would ring Environmental Health and complain about the noise, they always came along and took readings stating on one occasion that the loudest reading they got was the birds in the trees so by this time she was a departmental joke but they still sent all their trainees up to investigate her complaints but our friend had obviously been to see her and had made promises he couldn't keep but warned us he didn't want to see any smoke or hear any noise over the weekend. Sunday dawned bright and clear, as it always seemed to do in those days, and the gate was filling up when who should we see approaching but Mr. Environment himself. He was just going to come on site when our trained negotiator Mr. Wright Plant saw him so 2 or 3 others wandered across to see what was going on.

He tried to show his card but the scenario went something like this :-

Wright Plant : You come in here you pay your money like everyone else.

Council Man : I'm on duty and I can come on site whenever I want.

Wright Plant : Don't you have a day off? You have been on site every day this week.

Council Man : Today is my day off.

Wright Plant : In that case you had better get your hand in your pocket and get your money out as you are a member of the public same as everyone else today.

Things started at this point to get a bit ugly so our council friend went and fetched a police sergeant who on being told the circumstances agreed with Mr. Plant! So off the council man went to phone a friend from the nearest call box and half an hour later they were back. His new companion showed his card and was allowed in but the original council man had to do as Mr. Plant said and pay to come in with him. They were followed every step of the way on their tour of the site and I think they were glad to get away but their parting shot didn't worry us unduly, being "You haven't heard the last of this."

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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This is how the tale continued in the March 2001 Newsletter

A Legal Battle (PART 2)

Nobody thought that the City Council would take the case as far as the courts but the summons was issued and the appointed day and time saw our members gathered in the public gallery, so many members in fact that the Court Usher asked if it was a murder trial as he had never seen the public area of the Magistrates Court so full. Our chairman David Carr looked rather forlorn in the dock, but not for long as events related here will show.

The Trial commenced with the magistrates taking their allotted positions and the Clerk of the Court his. (For anyone who has never attended Court, the Clerk, apart from the representing Solicitors is the only one with Legal knowledge and is there to advise on points of Law). So he read out the charge, Sheffield & District Steam Society v Sheffield City Council in that the said society did operate a fairground for profit on a Sunday in breach of the City Council by-law Sheffield Corporation Pleasure Fairs Act 1928, section 253, subsection (4). The Magistrates then asked who wanted to speak on behalf of their case first, so our Solicitor offered them the first shot but before commencing he asked why Mr. David Carr was in the dock as the charge referred to Sheffield & District Steam Society and not one individual and despite him being the Chairman of the society he was not responsible for the actions of the society as a whole. The Court Clerk agreed with this and David was told to stand down and join the rest of us.

The City Council then commenced their evidence by more or less saying what had happened as stated in last months newsletter. This evidence was absorbed by all members present, the Magistrates and our Solicitor. When their evidence was completed it was the turn of our "brief" and he only asked about 3 questions of the two "lads" who were giving evidence on behalf of the City Council. Firstly he asked if they had seen any money change hands when they walked around our so called fairground on that Sunday. They had to reply in the negative because we had already seen what was coming on that day so every piece of equipment which could have charged didn't but had a bucket alongside instead so that any members of the public participating could offer a DONATION, which is vastly different in legal terms to making a charge. After leaving them with egg on their faces from that point he then humiliated them further by saying to the Magistrates "Dear Sirs & Madam" (2 men + 1 lady) "I won't demean your intelligence by asking what you consider constitutes a fairground but my idea is dodgems, waltzers and other large rides. There is no way that this could be described by any stretch of the imagination as a fairground and as no money was taken for these amusements that were present I cannot see where any law or by-law has been broken".

With this the Magistrates retired to consider the verdict and upon their return they gave the decision that the trial had been a waste of Court time as there was no case to answer. The Council Officers and their legal representatives just looked like deflated balloons and the public area resounded to the cheers of our members, but this wasn't the end.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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The final installment from the April 2001 Newsletter.

My thanks to Eric Stanley for the use of this article.

A Legal Battle (PART 3)

As the Magistrate announced the decision of NO CASE TO ANSWER in favour of Sheffield & District Steam Society and after order had been restored our Legal representative threw another cat amongst the pigeons by asking the magistrates for costs, which when they queried this he stated "All these people you see behind me came to this court to give evidence, as your worships have decided that this isn't necessary it is only right that they should be compensated for their time and trouble and also loss of earnings." The Magistrates again retired along with the Court Clerk looking somewhat nonplussed at this new submission and on their return offered a sum of costs against the Council. This made the victory rather hollow as most of us were paying for the Court costs anyway as part of our Rates to the Council and what costs we were awarded went to pay the Solicitors bill! The good outcome of this was we had rubbed the City Councils nose in the dirt and showed them that they couldn't ride roughshod over everyone and get away with it. The sequel to all this (Yes there is one!) Was that a large group of us went to see "The Star" and asked to see a reporter who took the story down and we got a good feature in the paper, also when "Worlds Fair" came out on the Friday they had our story under the headline "WHY USE A STEAM ROLLER TO CRACK A NUT". Prior to this case the Carr brothers and other engine men had always been invited to attend Council events such as the Lord Mayors Parade, the Sheffield Show etc, but after this no invitations were forthcoming, not that anybody was bothered, and we have never applied to hold our rally on Council land since then right up to the present day. Approximately 12 months after the farce of the Court case the City Council bye law was dropped and fairgrounds working on Sunday for a profit became the norm, not only fairgrounds run by individual groups like us but also in many cases run by Sheffield City Council themselves.

E. Stanley

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It was Ling's funfair at Norton Oaks (it says so in this clipping from The Star 1976)

I once met Sam Ward, the man who's firm built this, and he pulled a photo from his wallet of the very same ride except that this one had "All the way from the USA" emblazoned all over it. "All the way from Killamarsh" he laughed. lol

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It was Ling's funfair at Norton Oaks (it says so in this clipping from The Star 1976)

I once met Sam Ward, the man who's firm built this, and he pulled a photo from his wallet of the very same ride except that this one had "All the way from the USA" emblazoned all over it. "All the way from Killamarsh" he laughed. lol

I know Sam Ward well,

He is also a member of Sheffield and District Steam Society.

Without the help of Sam Wards firm Irvin Barraclough would not have built the Sentinel ERF engine, seen here in unfinished but working roadworthy condition at the ONCA rally.

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My brother was born in a caravan on Owlerton car park as my parents used to travel the fairs and they were open there at the time. This was in 1949 and I remember my dad taking me to the Speedway a couple of days later, and sitting on his shoulders to see the racing. My gran had a house with a yard, on Penistone Road, where we used to winter and she lived there until she died in the 1960's. Mum and dad had left the fair by then, but we used to go and visit her. People used to pay to look around her living wagon, so I'm told, whether this was in the yard or elsewhere, I'm not too sure, although I do remember seeing it. I'm still trying to research my family history on dad's side, but it's proving a bit difficult, although I am in contact with cousins who still travel.

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Guest transit

It was Ling's funfair at Norton Oaks (it says so in this clipping from The Star 1976)

I once met Sam Ward, the man who's firm built this, and he pulled a photo from his wallet of the very same ride except that this one had "All the way from the USA" emblazoned all over it. "All the way from Killamarsh" he laughed. lol

...anyone know what happened to Lings Fair ? - are they still going ? and why did the Oakes Pk site (beside the Cricket Club) stop ?

I used to love going there as a kid during the 70's.! - I think it all stopped early 80's ?

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...anyone know what happened to Lings Fair ? - are they still going ? and why did the Oakes Pk site (beside the Cricket Club) stop ?

I used to love going there as a kid during the 70's.! - I think it all stopped early 80's ?

I don't know what happened to Lings Fair and to be honest its not a name that gets mentioned much any more.

They were at one time a very popular fair.

As for the Oakes Park site not being used any more, - could the incident and fiasco concerning the steam rally put on by Sheffield and District Steam Society which has been related in previous posts in this thread have had anything to do with it?

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Guest transit

I don't know what happened to Lings Fair and to be honest its not a name that gets mentioned much any more.

They were at one time a very popular fair.

As for the Oakes Park site not being used any more, - could the incident and fiasco concerning the steam rally put on by Sheffield and District Steam Society which has been related in previous posts in this thread have had anything to do with it?

...i dont think it was the Steam Fair - that was in another field down near Bochum Parkway - which also held the Steel City Cruisers Custom Car show in the early 80's - now on at Avesta sports club on Bawtry Rd annually in Sept.

My theory is when the Bochum Parkway got the go-ahead in the early 80's , i think then the elderly Mrs Bagshaw - whose family who owned all the land and buildings for decades, was so upset at the road literally slicing right through the middle of their land , that they ended up selling everything up.

I then presume the new owners did'nt want a funfair / shows ect on their land ? Can anyone confirm !?

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...i dont think it was the Steam Fair - that was in another field down near Bochum Parkway - which also held the Steel City Cruisers Custom Car show in the early 80's - now on at Avesta sports club on Bawtry Rd annually in Sept.

My theory is when the Bochum Parkway got the go-ahead in the early 80's , i think then the elderly Mrs Bagshaw - whose family who owned all the land and buildings for decades, was so upset at the road literally slicing right through the middle of their land , that they ended up selling everything up.

I then presume the new owners did'nt want a funfair / shows ect on their land ? Can anyone confirm !?

Sounds reasonable transit,

As you say the building of Bochum Parkway did cause considerable upset to some people, although it must have considerably eased traffic in Norton.

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When I was a child in the 1950's I seem to remember visiting a travelling fair that came at least once a year to the tipped land at the top of Newman Road (High Wincobank) where Maple Croft Road now stands. When I got married we bought a house on Maple Croft Road & found loads of old pennies in the garden !

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...great pics Mark ! Can i ask if you have anymore , as my van was there also ? I am sure this would be '82-3 ?

82,83 would be about right...............

Sorry Transit, that's the lot I'm afraid :(

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  • 7 years later...
peterinfrance

Norfolk Park Fair was I think the largest fair in Sheffield.  I can remember the traditional sideshows which were there not just the rides.

The boxing booth, where all comers were taken on.

The bearded Lady !

Strange beings in preservative jars !

Motorcycles in the globe.

Magic shows.

Coconut shy

There were lots more can you add to the list ?

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boginspro

The fair at Oakes Park was my favourite, pick up a young lady (would have been ''bird'' at the time), and to the woods.

We went there on motor bikes and I remember one time a policeman on a motorbike chasing me but could not catch me on the road. He came up to me where we parked and I thought I was pinched but he was more interested in my bike and turned out to be a nice bloke, I can't see that happening now days.

My local fair was also very good, Woodhouse at the top of Sally Clarke's Hill.

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On 2/21/2010 at 11:22, johnm said:

When I was a child in the 1950's I seem to remember visiting a travelling fair that came at least once a year to the tipped land at the top of Newman Road (High Wincobank) where Maple Croft Road now stands. When I got married we bought a house on Maple Croft Road & found loads of old pennies in the garden !

I recall that fair too in the 1950s and early 60s- I think it was Lings. 

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