Tom Dodson - 'The Fairground'

'Fairground' the print for sale is number 4 and has a Remarque - pencil sketch by Tom

Approx. Image Size: 16" x 20"

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Great excitement - the funfair is coming!  Off we would go to stand at the side of the fence near the spare ground to watch the gaily coloured caravans and wagons arrive.  Sometimes we caught sight of the Bearded Lady, helping to erect the sideshows.  There was always a lot of activity as the various stalls were set up and we always worried in case it would not be ready in time for opening day.  Clutching our few pennies in our hands, we rushed to try our hand at Hoop-la or Roll-a-Penny and, if we had enough money, we would have a ride on the Dodgems or the Whip.  We watched the men having a go on the Big Hammer, trying to ring the bell and win a prize.  Those of us who were big enough could go on the Steam Boat, a huge, oblong contraption with rows of seats inside.  It turned all the way over, so there were straps to stop you falling out.  It did have a strong mesh cage all around it, just in case of accident, but it was still scary.  Some of the sideshows were scary too.  You wondered just what they were going to show you once inside; a pig in a bottle, or the smallest man in the world! The big lads had a go in the boxing ring, all convinced that they could beat the current champ and win a few shillings.   Not many ever did though, no matter how tough they thought they were!

Most of all, we enjoyed going to the fair at night, when the coloured lights were on and the smell of toffee apples, candyfloss and brandy snaps filled the air.  Somehow, the darkness brought out the best odours.   We would buy hot potatoes so that we could warm our hands whilst eating them on the walk home.

The big lads called out to any passing girls, asking them to join them for a ride on the ghost train.  The girls didn’t even answer and just giggled.  We always hoped the big lads would get fed up and ask us to go on the ghost train, instead!  We were never bothered by pickpockets; only the rich people had to be wary in the crowd!