ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fairground Art

Updated on July 21, 2015
Source

The art of the fairground

I have always been totally fascinated by the stunning designs seen at the old traditional fairground.

In fact, you could say that it's in my blood. You see, before the First World War my granddad, George Jackson - still a teenager at the time, left his parents and brother back in Doncaster, Yorkshire, and set out to find fame and fortune.

He headed to Norfolk; at that time one of the area's main industries was a small number of companies that manufactured fairground rides.

Well, my granddad didn't find fame and fortune. World events scuppered that scheme. In fact, he was shortly serving in the Royal Air Corps during WW1, but afterwards he was a traveler who toured the country with his 'dobbies' - a small fairground ride for children.

At that time, all fairground rides remained faithful to the old-style folk art decor and so I imagine - maybe fancifully - that this is the reason for my love of this particular style. Incidentally, although fame and fortune eluded him, he did find my grandmother who was employed playing the piano in a Great Yarmouth pub. They didn't let the fact that she was married to someone else bother them though and they ran off together in his caravan, complete with his livelihood - the dobbies. Hence, the Jackson name continues...


Ever wondered who creates these today?

Source

Recently, I was fascinated to read about one of the artists who works today, creating new artwork in this genre and restoring old rides, trucks and trailers. As I was reading, I imagined that he was an old gnarled little chap, tentatively hanging on to the last vestiges of a long-lost craft.I was in for a surprise. You might be surprised too.

Joby Carter

When I read the name, my impression that this was a wrinkled old bloke was reinforced. 'Joby', I reckoned, was a pet name for 'Job' - a good old-fashioned biblical name. You can see from the image just how wrong I was!Joby is a rather cool young guy in his thirties and is devoted to the work he does. Today, he is part of the family business - Carter's Entertainment - and the family travel in the good old tradition with their steam-driven, and highly beautiful, rides.I found a wonderful video of him explaining more about his work on the BBC website. It can't be embedded here, but use this link. Be amazed as you watch him work.

The image is a still from the video.

Read more

Source

Famous clientele

Source
Source

In the 1930s

On the video, Joby says - modestly- that his skills were widespread in Victorian times but they have simply died out.

That's certainly the case. In that era, all signs were hand-created. You'll remember that the origins of logos date back to the old days when much of the population was illiterate - a symbol showed what a business was in a graphical way. Some survive, such as the red and white striped barber's pole and the pawnbroker's brass trio of balls.

By the 1930s my traveling granddad George had settled down and lived in a proper house with my gran and their son. There he is on the right - my dad.

George, always an entrepreneur, had his own business. It was a small auto repair business and my dad worked for him. In the pic, taken at the workshop, I think my dad was about fourteen.

In his autobiography my dad recalls that they used a sign-writer by the name of Bill Sutton. Sign-writing was often needed on commercial trucks and delivery vans. Bill had been in WW1 and had been badly shell-shocked. This, added to the fact that he 'liked a drop to drink' meant that he was a mass of nerves, trembling and shaking all the time. However, when sign-writing, he had a totally steady hand and his work was perfect. Strange, eh?


Source

Genealogy and water gypsies

One side of my family is composed largely of self-employed travelers and people to do with the booze business, which goes some way to explain why this Brit in Florida enjoys her evening glass of wine.

On the other side of the family, there were also travelers but these people were water gypsies, plying their trade on the canals of East Yorkshire and working from narrow-boats.

Which quite possibly explains why I like to sit on the waterfront dock with my glass of wine!But I have always been fascinated by another style - narrow-boat decoration. I see similarities between this and the fairground art. I realize that I live in paradise but I've always wanted a vacation on a canal narrow-boat. The funny thing is that I've checked out their floor plans and they have more space than my teeny tiny apartment. Take a look at the photographs on this page - can you see the similarities between fairground and water gypsy styles?

Source

Further reading

Every time I browse the books at Amazon I'm amazed at the huge variety of subjects there. If you'd like to learn more about the topics in this article, here are some great finds. These traditions are very popular now and thanks to people like Joby, will hopefully never die out.

Peter Croft and Rolls Royce

Joby isn't alone in his craft. Traditional signwriter Peter Croft hand-paints the coach-lines on selected Rolls Royces before they leave the factory. .Peter tells the story about how one customer, a prince in Dubai, took delivery of a Roller that wasn't one of Peter's specials. His friends' cars were however. So Rolls Royce flew Peter, and his materials, to Dubai to hand-paint the coach-lines. Now that's class.

Peter reminds me of Joby - they both have an immense but quiet pride in their craftsmanship.

Canal Arts and Crafts (Shire Library)
Canal Arts and Crafts (Shire Library)

This is a lovely book about canal art which, I believe, is so closely related to that of the fairground. Boats like this can still be seen in the UK today and are popular with holidaymakers - there's nothing like drifting from pub to pub in a highly decorated narrowboat!

 

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thanks so much, Merrci - I love that fairground art.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Interesting article. Something I wouldn't have thought of. It's so eye opening to read your articles--and those of others too. This one looks terrific too here on HubPages!

    • IanTease profile image

      IanTease 

      4 years ago

      Keep finding more and more of your great lenses, even when i'm not looking for them. In West Yorkshire i see loads of the canal boat art and it is wonderfully nostalgic. Unfortunately when the fair comes to town its just trashy flashing lights and plastic cartoons, none of this fantastic stuff on here.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @stanger66: Thanks so much!

    • stanger66 profile image

      stanger66 

      5 years ago

      A great lens, loved reading it

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @injuryatty: Astonishing, isn't it?

    • injuryatty profile image

      injuryatty 

      5 years ago

      It's just so amazing how did they made this things. Incredible indeed.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @BarbsSpot: Thank you - I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      BarbsSpot 

      5 years ago

      @Lensmaster...Thanks for sharing some interesting fairground art and facts on the talents of artists who create it. I, too, find the fair a fascinating place to find such things!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ben Reed: Isn't it lovely?

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      Love the picture of the Steam Engine.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LeslieMirror: That's so true - thank you!

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 

      5 years ago

      I haven't been to a carnival in several years, since my daughter was very young. My memories of past carnivals are those of a certain mystique and exciting atmosphere with the bright, vivid colors and designs of all of the stands.

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 

      5 years ago

      The pics aken are just great. they are like saying to me: Come and visit us! =)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @mel-kav: It's a wonderful atmosphere,isn't it? I'm so pleased that others have happy memories too.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @AlleyCatLane: Yes, aren't they gorgeous?

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 

      5 years ago

      Fascinating lens. I always enjoyed the gorgeous artwork on old carnival rides and attractions, especially the carousel horses.

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 

      5 years ago

      Wouldn't it be good to go back to those good old times....

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Colin323: Skipton is a wonderful place for narrowboats - UK canals are so important.

    • profile image

      Colin323 

      5 years ago

      I can see the connection between narrow-boat and fairground decoration; very interesting. I live close to the Leeds-Liverpool canal and it's a joy to see all the colourful boats passing by and moored at Skipton.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Scarlettohairy: Oh, the smells! And (in the UK anyway) the smell of onions ready to go into the hot dogs :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I love that artwork too. It was always so fun to walk around a fair with the smells (cotton candy, popcorn) and bright lights and the jangly music!

    • HughSmulders LM profile image

      HughSmulders LM 

      5 years ago

      Wow! I've never thought that such things can turn out to be real masterpieces!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      5 years ago

      They've had some pretty cool circus banners on American Pickers; I was shocked to see how much money they were work. I love that type of art. Mike and Frank made so much money off the pick that they went back and gave the guy more money, it was in NY and he was trying to re-open an old amusement park. Though not fairgrounds its in the same vein.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @verymary: Thanks for the book recommendation - it sounds interesting indeed! Yes, I love the story about the beer too :)

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 

      5 years ago from Chicago area

      Terrific lens. Loved reading about Joby Carter & have to admit I chuckled over Prince Harry's beer getting confiscated! Also, the shell-shocked signwriter who could keep steady for his work reminds me a bit of the topnotch surgeon with Tourette's that Oliver Sacks included in his wonderful book An Anthropologist on Mars.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 

      5 years ago from Washington State

      I too love the décor of the fairs. The colors and designs, way fun to travel like that in some ways. Great lens, purple star congratulations!

    • profile image

      myspace9 

      5 years ago

      Very interesting lens and nice pictures.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @jptanabe: Isn't it fantastic? Thanks for visiting!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Beautiful! How wonderful to have someone young carrying on this art. I remember the gorgeous old rides, and the Chair-o-Planes, from when I was young.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GregoryMoore: I agree so much. And it's lovely to see the old-fashioned ways still remain.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Who doesn't love the fair and all of the rides? Growing up, the local fair was a highlight that we all looked forward to and have fond memories of.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Carol Houle: Thank you!

    • Carol Houle profile image

      Carol Houle 

      5 years ago from Montreal

      Good story. Cheers!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Meganhere: Thanks for dropping by!

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 

      5 years ago

      Nice lens. Interesting too.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LadyDuck: Thank you so much!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @flycatcherrr: I know what you mean about that steady hand - or lack thereof :) I'd forgotten about fishing boats - I remember seeing similar things in Cornwall and in Whitby. Thanks for visiting!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 

      5 years ago

      Love this. In the bit of Atlantic Canada where I grew up, the painting of names on fishing boats was surprisingly similar in style (though much more subdued in colours than the circus art!). Every little village had one artist who made it a bit of a speciality. My father's cousin was particularly gifted at the curlicues, feathers and scrolls, and I have inherited the family taste for embellishment, if not a particularly steady hand with a brush. :)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Rhonda Lytle: Isn't it amazing? I truly thought that it was a dying art so it's so good to see that traditions live on.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 

      5 years ago

      I like these old fairground boars and carriage. Beautiful lens.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Elyn MacInnis: Thanks for visiting :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      This was fascinating. I have always loved the fantasy feel created by the art, architecture, signs and costumes associated with fairs. It's nice to see the next generation keeping the traditions alive in our ever more techno world.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for writing this.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      That must have been wonderful!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 

      5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I saw a stunning array of river boat art in Gloucester Docks a few years ago. I find it immensely attractive.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LoriBeninger: It certainly does. Thank you for dropping by!

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 

      5 years ago

      The gypsy life does seem to suit you. Very nice lens.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)