Travelling fairs hold a special place in English history and traditions. Once or twice a year local towns and villages are overwhelmed with a cacophony of sounds, sights and smells, bringing magic and excitement into peoples' lives before, all too quickly, moving on. The transient nature of travelling fairs is part of their magic, and an integral part of that magic is the transport that carries the people and the rides. More than just vehicles however, fairground transport is often an integral part of the show, acting as homes for the showmen, a way of generating power and even converting into parts of the rides themselves. In short, they are part of the way of life.
This book looks at the history of the travelling fair through its transport, beginning with how it has evolved from what a performer could carry on their back and simple horse-drawn caravans, through to steam-powered traction engines and war surplus petrol and electric vehicles, finally bringing the story up to date with today's mega lorries and cranes.
Allan Ford is active in a number of fairground and showman-related areas and is perhaps best known for reviving the Wall of Death in the UK, having single-handedly rescued the Wall from obscurity in the UK in the 1980s. He been a travelling showman for most of his life and still travels the country cataloging and photographing the showman's way of life. With Nick, he has written on the canals and Wall of Death, and is much in demand as a public speaker on these subjects and on fairgrounds. Nick Corble has written extensively on the history of Britain's canals. He usually focuses on an aspect of our heritage and how it still reflects in how we live today. Subjects have included the canal network and the fairground attraction the Wall of Death, with his work also featuring in a number of regional and national publications. He has also written books on rambling and walking, making him the ideal person to write an all-encompassing guide to Britain's canals.