3
The Page Family recall Hull Fair
Fred and Margaret Page came into the Fred Moore Library, Hull accompanied by Freds brother Walter who was interviewed at Gypsyville earlier on. We know from Walters interview that Fred was an ace shot and he too came in holding a precious object:
WALTER PAGE Well I’m Walter Page as you’ll know. This is Fred Page my brother who’s obviously older than me so might remember a bit more than I can but this is the dish which was similar to the flower vase I brought you. This is a fruit dish. Which he informs me you had to knock two coconuts, you had to get two coconuts for this because it was a bigger prize. At Hull Fair.
FRED PAGE On the fairground. But the best of it was I once went with one of my mates, and I got three balls and I knocked the top coconut down, I knocked one down on the side and the other ball it hit the stanchion, just underneath it, and the ball bounced off there, shot up in the air, and Bang! Hit the big bulb! The bloke went barmy. He climbed up and pulled it down – Thirty bob those bulbs cost me! Thirty bob!
So that was before you got married wasn’t it.
MARGARET PAGE We got married in ’42. And so I would say it would be about – before the war – probably about ’38.
WALTER PAGE It would be ’38 because I don’t think they had a fair in ’39. And of course these things, the reason we’ve got them now is that he was at home then and he thought he’d give them to his mother and his mother kept them. You know just put them away and he went off and got married and then all the family dispersed and people died and my sister who lives on her own now kept all these things and put them away somewhere because she doesn’t like to throw anything away. They have only just come to light when we have been talking about this you see.
Walter prompted his brother to recall different aspects of the fair. In fact Walter did a fine job as the interviewer:
WALTER PAGE You remember this Bostock and Wombwells don’t you?
FRED PAGE I can’t say I ever saw the circus inside but Oh yes, a band outside and sometimes they used to put a lion outside. .
WALTER PAGE What, in a cage?
FRED PAGE In a cage, yes. Then Pinders came, I think it was Pinders; just in the doorway they used to have a black panther in a cage. You could touch it nearly as close as this, dangerous really.
WALTER PAGE So what other shows do you remember along that line Fred? Besides this Bostock and Wombwells?
FRED PAGE Well there was a steel globe wasn’t there and inside that globe there was a man with a sidecar. There was a girl who went to school with us, I can’t remember her second name, I always called her Joan, and he asked for volunteers to go in – in the side car – out of the group she went in – she lived in Belmont street on Newbridge road.
WALTER PAGE They had some of the old rides before the war didn’t they Fred? Were the Venetian Gondolas there?
FRED PAGE They brought a set during the war. After the war they had a dummy organ in middle and a dummy man playing the organ. Boy did he shake!
WALTER PAGE But what were the rides, we’re talking now before the war when you remember, Lings had the Ben Hur, Lings had the Moonrocket, Harniess’s Skid. And they had loads of shows, I do remember loads of shows.
FRED PAGE I’ll always remember one. There was a woman there, she was outside with a whistle, and green dress, do you remember? She said “A girl - come in and see this girls behind!” And she had a “bare behind”, a teddy bear behind!
WALTER PAGE I remember going in one the shows at Hull fair and it was a striptease; an actual girl - she had tassels and she swung one that way and then that way…
FRED PAGE I do remember this, there was a dodgem but it was full of water. It had speedboats on it with the things up at the back to catch the electric. And if you touched the water you got a shock. Instead of dodgems there was all these boats going around.
WALTER PAGE And there was another set and instead of dodgems, they called them Buckaroos. They had like a horses head on the front. Do you remember the Hey-Day?
FRED PAGE I remember the Hey-Day yes because I had been on the Hey-Day when it was at the fair on Holderness road.
WALTER PAGE I liked the Octopus.
FRED PAGE No I don’t like the Octopus.
You all seem to know the fair so well:
WALTER PAGE You see we still chase the fairs around, we go to the traction engine rallies. Lincoln and Pickering, we’ve been all over the place. We started at Castle Howard years ago. At the Lincoln rally and the Pickering rally, they have them in the afternoon, and then it sorts of dies a death at teatime. But if you hang about they’ll come back at 8 o’clock. It all starts up again. And they bring all the traction engines round – you know to run the rides – and of course they are old fashioned rides most of them – and it is like the old fair then because all the lights are going and the beer tent’s there and there are crowds of people there. You don’t know when it’s going to end and it’s that atmosphere but you’ve got to wait till about 11 o’clock before it gets going.
WALTER PAGE You see we still chase the fairs around, we go to the traction engine rallies. Lincoln and Pickering, we’ve been all over the place. We started at Castle Howard years ago. At the Lincoln rally and the Pickering rally, they have them in the afternoon, and then it sorts of dies a death at teatime. But if you hang about they’ll come back at 8 o’clock. It all starts up again. And they bring all the traction engines round – you know to run the rides – and of course they are old fashioned rides most of them – and it is like the old fair then because all the lights are going and the beer tent’s there and there are crowds of people there. You don’t know when it’s going to end and it’s that atmosphere but you’ve got to wait till about 11 o’clock before it gets going.
WALTER PAGE Sometimes they had that many shows they had them in Walton street itself. Along the other side of the road there were all houses along there then. They used to go in peoples front gardens and that. Put stalls into the front gardens.
FRED PAGE What about the flea circus? That was good.
WALTER PAGE Testos Flea Circus.
FRED PAGE That was good because you did actually see these fleas. Marvellous. They’d pull these chariots. Everyone was itching.
WALTER PAGE I do remember that Margarets daughter, the only thing she ever wanted when we walked down Walton street, go on Margaret carry on… she always had to have one of those dolls.
MARGARET PAGE Those dolls with the fancy – she always used to say – I must have one of those dolls. Yes.
TN Did you get her one?
MARGARET PAGE Oh yes. Well you couldn’t get her off the fairground without it. She must have had a collection of them at one time.
WALTER PAGE And they still sell them Margaret don’t they.
MARGARET PAGE Oh yes. She gets one now and again; her husband buys one.
WALTER PAGE There’s still a stall there selling them.
Thank you Walter, Fred and Margaret for a great interview. Keep knocking those coconuts off!