Film ID:
NEFA 21680



Visitor Tabs


Footage originally broadcast on 28 June 1967 for the Tyne Tees Television Late Look news programme on Newcastle’s Town Moor Hoppings. Reporter Clyde Alleyne visits the annual travelling fun fair and interviews showmen and women, including a well-known performer who billed himself as 'Davey Jones the Irish Leprechaun', travelling with Robert Campbell and Jennie Jepson’s show. Interviews discuss the economics of attending the fair and the effect of the rain on profits that year, held one week later to avoid a clash with a re-scheduled Race Week.

Pan down from an empty, stationary Big Wheel ride to a row of travelling fairground rides at Newcastle’s Town Moor Hoppings, all closed. A man walks down the muddy central path between the row of rides and stalls. Two children are hanging around at one of the covered rides in the mid-distance. Various shots show the covered stalls before the fair opens, a few people walking through the fairground.

The fair is now open during the daytime. People take a ride in a decorated Satellite hung with lights, the ring of seats tilting drastically, diving and climbing in an erratic fashion.

Close-up of a girl eating candyfloss, the Big wheel turning in the background. Children and parents whizz around on a child’s Jet fairground ride. A boy in school uniform slides down a Helter Skelter, smiling happily. Close-up of a sign reading “All for Fun”. A bare chested man lifts a young girl is onto a horse. A girl eats a toffee apple close to camera, a stall selling hamburgers, toffee apples and cigarettes in the background. A sideshow spieler advertises a freak show, signs reading “Born Alive! Siamese Twins Side-by-Side” and other attractions. Various shots focus on the fairground signs for “Voodoo Girl”, and “Krazy Maze”, a mirror maze. Two young girls step into a fun house, a dangling laughing clown puppet in a glass case outside the entrance. Shot of the Monkey House show featuring real live monkeys. An elderly woman holds a windmill on a stick toy for a child. Two women with blonde bouffant hairstyles are serving at a chip stall, discarded litter on the ground in front. Close-up of a puppet clown on strings. A showgirl drums up business for a striptease show, addressing the crowd with a microphone, whilst another showgirl in a sequined bikini top stands beside her. Close-up of the laughing clown puppet. Another brief glimpse of the female spieler for the striptease show follows. A father and mother try out the gyrating Cakewalk with their young son.

The Tyne Tees reporter, Clyde Alleyne, crouches down to speak to a performer, 'Davey Jones the Irish Leprechaun' travelling with Robert Campbell and Jennie Jepson’s show.

Clyde Alleyne: “How long have you been associated with the fair in England. “

“18 years in fact, yes.”

Clyde Alleyne: “How tall are you?” “Two foot two.” “And how old are you?” “64” “And where are you from?” “County Antrim in Ireland.  Lisburn” “How many years have you been moving around with fairs?” “38 years” “38 years. Do you think the rains have affected you a lot this year?” “Oh yes. You see, the weather is the biggest factor in this business. We have to have good warm sunny days before we can do good business. And it’s affected us very badly here. But the last time I was here I done very good.” “Money wise?” “Money wise yes.” “How good?” “Well, it’s down about a hundred and thirty percent from what I taken the last time.” “Nice talking to you.” “Thank you.”

Clyde Alleyne strolls around the fair, small crowds of people enjoying the fair despite the poor weather. Briggs Snack Bar is open for business. A small boy jumps up to get into camera view. Alleyne walks past a stall selling children’s toys and balloons, looking around. There are Victorian swing boats in the background. He makes his way through visitors, some of whom look towards the camera. A good crowd watch show girls dancing and listen to the showman’s spiel at the Talk of the Town side show.

Alleyne interviews a woman travelling with the fair.

Clyde Alleyne: “Where are you from with this fair?” “Scotland.” “Do you travel all over the place?” “No, not really, only just come to Newcastle and then go back to Scotland.” “Is this the first time you’ve been with this fair, or are you with it every year?” “Every year.” “How long have you been with fairs in general?” “All my life.” “And I won’t ask you how long that is.” “No, don’t!” “Do you have any kids growing up in this fair?” “No, I’m not married.”

Alleyne interviews another show woman leaning through her caravan doorway. “How long have you been with the fair?” “About 30 years.” “Did you marry into the fair, or did you grow up with the fair?” “Married into the fair.” “Do you have any children?” “Yes I’ve four children” “Do they go to school, or do they sort of grow up in the fair?” “They did go to school but they’re all married now bar one. And three of them have married into this business.” “What about the rain? Does it keep down profits for you?” “Oh definitely, yeah.” “Would you say it’s becoming difficult each year? Do you think the fairs will run out eventually?” “Well, it certainly ain’t getting no better each year.”

Alleyne interviews a showman outside the show tents, including “The Mini Zoo” showing “The Horror Bug”.

The showman explains: “We’re all members, the biggest part of the show people are members of an association, which goes under the name of the Showman’s Guild. They have their own barristers, their own solicitors, their own secretaries. And they have, each section has its own committee.”

Alleyne enquires: “What about the profit value? Are profits up or down? As far as fairs like these are concerned.” The showman answers “Well, they’re definitely down. Definitely down.” Alleyne continues his questions: “What about taxes? How do taxes affect you?” “Well, taxes don’t affect us as much in the same way as the overhead charges do. See, a shopkeeper can hand his increase in the price of goods from the wholesaler on to the customer. We can’t. It works the opposite way round. Our overhead charges go up the same as everyone else’s. But when money’s tight, we have to lower the prices.”

Back to footage of a lively fair, though probably not as busy as some years.  People are strolling through the fair. A galloper is revolving, with many parents watching around it with the odd empty pushchair. One juvenile ride is named after ‘Supercar’, a children’s science fiction TV show, produced between 1961 and 1962, that features Supercar, a jet-propelled, vertical take-off and landing craft piloted by Mike Mercury. Two fashionable teenage girls with kohl rimmed eyes stroll through the fair. A man shields his eyes as he looks for someone. A gang of three teenage girls watch the rides. The Satellite ride is in motion. High angle shot of the fair, looking quite busy.

Note: Clyde Alleyne was the first black television announcer in England (having just joined Tyne Tees in May 1967), a former news producer with Trinidad and Tobago Television, and BBC World Service radio announcer.