The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
A business man’s luck runs out when he tries to lose a kitsch bingo prize at the Hoppings fair.
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Despite the multitude of sinful shows on offer at the Hoppings, a dour business man opts for a game of bingo. He is rewarded with a pair of kitsch pottery Alsatians, which he just can’t give away. Produced by Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association, this film is not so much comedy as a record of the hurly-burly and gaudily painted rides at Europe’s biggest travelling fair, hosted for more than 100 years on Newcastle’s Town Moor.
In the words of Henry Morley, writing in the 1850s, travelling fairs are ‘the unwritten story of the history of the people’. The June fair on the Town Moor dates back to 1882 when the North of England Temperance Festival was introduced as an alcohol-free counter-attraction to Newcastle’s boozy Race Week at Gosforth Park. In the 1960s the sideshows still lure in the voyeur, pedalling oddities, the daredevil and the downright risqué. The spiel and spar of striptease shows and Ron Taylor’s famous Excelsior boxing booth continue as popular attractions. In 1977 Taylor hosted the greatest champion of all, Muhammad Ali, but the booth visited the Hoppings for the last time in 1995.