This film is part of Free

Spotlight at the Fair

Rides, boxing booths, and a dog-faced monkey keep on moving as the travelling fair hits Mitcham and Stratford-upon-Avon, with a look in at Blackpool.

Documentary 1951 18 mins


The arrival of the travelling fair brought all the entertainment, thrills and 'foreign' delights of an exotic holiday to your town. Today's versions are often just a faded impression, but this is the real thing, complete with boxing booths, freak shows, and dodgem cars that look fresh from a child's dream. Some of these scenes are clearly staged, but the film is ahead of its time in making the viewer feel they have privileged access to another world.

The film mostly covers the Mitcham Fair and the Stratford-Upon-Avon Mop, along with the impressive break up of the stalls and rides, and the convoy in-between. The last part of the film looks at the rooted cousin of the fair, the amusement park at Blackpool. Rayant Pictures' 'Spotlight' series looked at a diverse range of subjects, from ghosts to the night mail service, between 1947 and 1951.