World's Fair Extracts 1911-1920

Mr Green’s Enterprise

New Picturedome at Ayr

Mr. George Green's latest addition to the Ayr province of the entertainment world was opened to the public on Thursday evening, and at both houses the management had the satisfaction of admitting large crowds. Mr. Fred Green and Mr. Stott, who acted as advance managers for Mr. Green's shows did their work well and the place has been fitted out in splendid style - well laid out, well decorated and well lighted. On Wednesday Messrs. Green and Stott concluded their arrangements, and left for fresh fields of adventure. The Picturedrome is now under the capable charge of Mr. Barraclough, the resident manager. Seating accommodation has been provided for about 750 people in the area and approximately 300 in the balcony, which has been fitted up with plush tip-up seats. The lighting installation is the very latest, and the hall will be thoroughly ventilated by a 36 inch electric fan.

World's Fair, June 3rd, 1911

The World’s Fairograph

A warning to travellers - don't attempt to go to Warsop Vale, near Shirebrook. Tiller's mannikins and bioscope opened there on Monday last with a fine inside show, and the sum of 6s. 6d. was taken. The programme included the "The Mistletoe Bough" by the mannikins, ventriloquism and clog dancing by James Tiller (the marvel) comic pantomime, and the beautiful films - "The Invasion of 1920," and "Moving In." On Tuesday the receipts were 5s. 8d.; Wednesday no show. This will perhaps save some other poor showman from going there.

World's Fair, June 3rd, 1911

Daniel Reynault, Acrobat

Daniel Reynalt, an acrobat, was fined five guineas and costs at Pontypool on Saturday for swarming up a signal post and putting the signal up to stop a train by which he desired to travel. Defendant asked for time in which to pay the money, and he then invited the magistrate to witness a performance he was giving in the afternoon.

World's Fair, June 3rd, 1911

The “Little Man’s” Lament

A reader who possesses a seven foot stall complains that he is unable to get space at many Fairs owing to some stallholders taking up so much ground. He sends the following lines to plead his cause:-

We are wanting more ground, oh Tober Bloke
For our emmas and sheets and the rest;
We are pitched for ground, oh Tober Bloke,
In the North, South, East and West.
Why need more ground, O my brothers?
The reason is easy to find;
Those who have started with only one stall
Are not contented without one of each kind.
Tober Blokes we cry for more ground,
The cry is from East and from West,
O'er hill and o'er dale you hear the old tale
From the little man who is hard pressed.
To those who have joints by the mile,
Think of those with only one stall,
Whose earnings must keep all his family alive,
So help him from going to the wall.

World's Fair, June 3rd, 1911

Briston Fair, Norfolk

This old established chartered fair was held on the village green as usual on May 25, 26 and 27. There was a record attendance of travellers, all old standards and some new comers. H. Dack's gallopers occupied a prominent position and Charlie Barnes paid a visit with his new scenic motor switchback, large paper organ, and new Burrell loco. It was quite a surprise to the travellers, as well as the public. this was the first time up, and, of course, the machine was well patronised. It looked splendid, and great credit is due to the proprietor, who has risen solely by his own industry.

World's Fair, June 3rd 1911

Savage’s Ltd

Reconstruction of Famous Firm of Roundabout Manufacturers

As will be seen by an advertisement in this issue, the business of Savage Brothers, Limited, will in future be carried on by a new company, for which purpose the new name Savages' Limited has been registered. The business will be carried on as usual at the St. Nicholas' Iron Works which are well equippedwith modern high-class machinery, capapble of dealing with large orders expeditiously and large stocks of spare parts will be kept to meet customers requirements. The high quality which has hitherto charactherised the work turned out will be fully maintained in the future and scenic railways, roundabout, and similar machinery will continue to be one of the specialities manufactured. The company will be under the personal control of Mr. John Pilling, M.I.E.E. as Managing Director, and the services of Mr. W. J. Affleck, M.I. Mar. E., who has been for many years connected with the business, have been retained. The new firm has a considerable amount of work in hand, and have already received numerous enquiries for other work. The new directors:- Holcolmbe Ingleby, Esq., M. P., chairman, Geo. E. Rose, Esq, vice-chairman; A. Gardener, Esq., M. D.; Alfred Jermyn, Esq., J. P. and Wm Pattrick, Esq., J.P.

World's Fair, December 16th 1911

Death of Mr. Frank Wilson

The Famous Lion Tamer

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. Frank Wilson, the well known showman and animal trainer, who passed away at 3.0 a.m. on Wednesday in the presence of his wife and family. The late Mr. Wilson attended Lord George Sanger's funeral last week and caught a chill and on Monday night he became worse and inflammation set in and though everything possible was done for him, he passed away as stated above. Mr. Wilson was located on the fairground, Station Road, Wood Green, London. The majority of our readers will best remember Mr. Wilson as the leading animal trainer with Sedgewick's Menagerie where he was known as "Lorenzo" the Lion King. He toured with the menagerie for many years and gained great popularity with his performances with the bouncing Lion, and was the recipient of many handsome presents. We feel sure the sympathy of our readers will be with the widow and family in their sad bereavement. We are requested to ask all relatives and friends to communicate with Mrs. Wilson at the Fairground, Station Road, Wood Green, London. The funeral will take place from the above address at 3 p.m. on Monday.

World's Fair, December 16th 1911

Bakewell’s Buried Elephant

The proposed exhumation of the skeleton of the large elephant whose body for some years has rested in the public tip at Bakewell, recalls the panic which the animal's vagaries created in the town. During the visit of a travelling circus to the town, the elephant became enraged and caused a general stampede for the doors. Efforts made to capture it proved futile and three large men were seriously injured by the huge creature. Ultimately half a dozen local volunteers were called out and the elephant was shot.

World's Fair, December 16th 1911

Chat with Mr. J. Murphy

His Spirited Defence of Showmen

Peep into the Past

The name of John Murphy has been prominently before the public for the past 30 or 40 years, and as the medium of the fight between the civic authority of the city of Newcastle and those with the right of the city's freedom and the Town Moor herbage, he has come more than ever into the limelight.

While the public representatives have proceeded with their dispute as to whether the cows or the ratepayers "have it," John Murphy has gone on quietly following his business as an amusement caterer and business man, or in the good old fashioned phrase, as a showman.

When the genial, level headed proprietor of some of the most up-to-date roundabouts in the country was seen on Tuesday by a Newcastle "Evening Mail" representative he was not immediately inclined to give information regarding the growth of the roundabout business during the many years with which he had been connected with it.

Mr. John Murphy was not upset because rain came down at an unfortunate hour on Monday night, and drove away his patrons; but he was indignant regarding certain suggestions that had been made against the cleanliness of healthiness of the travelling class to which he has belonged all his life.

Feed on the Best
"Take it from me," observed Mr. Murphy. The real thorough-bred travelling people are neither unclean nor unhealthy. They feed on the best, can stand any weather, and I will bet that there is not a doctor needed on the ground here this week.

I do not say that every showman or woman on the ground is as clean as they might be, but the average travelling family will hold its own with any who claim the advantage of continuous residence in one place. As far as education is concerned, the reports from the schools regarding showmen's children are more than ordinarily favourable."

A long cherished wish of the writer was afterwards gratified when Mr. Murphy led the way to the caravans in which he and Mrs. Murphy spent the best part of their lives. No residence could appeal more to the imagination than one of these miniature palaces in which the peripatetic showman and his family live; never lived a cleanly housewife who could ought but admire the extraordinary cleanliness, tidiness, and compactness of this home upon wheels.

Inside a Caravan
If ever there was a utilitarian architect it is the one responsible for the design and arrangement of the caravan residence. Not a nook or a cranny but what is utilised to the best advantage, and evidently not an effort spared by the ladies to make the home on wheels as attractive as any permanent town or country residence.
Viewing the showground at Jesmond Vale from the doorway or the caravan, Mr. Murphy became reminiscent. He went back to the early days of the roundabout, when they were pushed round by hand, with an organ that cost around £20. Today the instrument costs anything up to £1,500, while thousands of capital are invested in each of the up-to-date roundabouts.

Twenty five years ago showland appealed to the visitor as a great land and a romantic land. The appeal is not lessened today. In Jesmond Vale this week there is a community in itself - with its magnates, its middle class and its lower.

John Murphy - quiet, observing, optimistic and philosophical even as regards weather - is a magnate of the wanderers, a showman through and through, and ever a lover and defender of his fraternity.

World's Fair, June 27th 1914