Fairground enthusiast, Philip Bradley of Ewell, spent his life compiling a written and photographic record of every fair he visited from 1936 until his death in 1999. He amassed 30,000 photographs of fairs across the country and was highly regarded by showmen and fairground people. His collection, held at Surrey History Centre, is of national importance, providing an invaluable history of twentieth century fairgrounds (SHC ref 6790). You can find out more about Philip Bradley and his archive on the Exploring Surrey’s Past website
The top image shows a superb shot taken by Bradley of Elias Harris’ Wall of Death ride, ‘The Demon Riders’, at Lindfield Fair, 1949.
We all remember the fun and excitement of going to fair – the thrilling rides, the sights and sounds of fairground machinery, eating too much candyfloss, and the tears and tantrums at not being able to win a cuddly toy on the coconut shy! If you’re interested in researching fairgrounds in Surrey, or just want a trip down ‘Memory Lane’, look no further than our Exploring Surrey’s Past website ‘Fairgrounds in Surrey’ theme pages to discover all about fairs in the county and the sources we hold here Fairgrounds in Surrey (exploringsurreyspast.org.uk).
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