Summer is when you tend to see a pop-up fairground in your town, one of the first thing you see when the fairground pulls up are the lorries that carry the trailers with the rides attached, which at times can take days to set-up! This is a look back at some vintage trucks at fairs, as well as some of the more modern vehicles.
Before trucks, fairs could still go on tour. In fact, the earliest records of the funfair go back to the medieval period. Between 1199 and 1350 over fifteen hundred charters were issued granting the rights to hold markets or fairs.
This picture is from the 1970s, which you can also identify from the truck models. Fairgrounds were a much more celebrated tradition during this period becoming a great day for families all across the UK. In a much more modern age, while still a great success, fairgrounds don’t sell tickets like they used to.
This truck from the 1980s was used to move parts for rides all across the country, it was a great method to take a fair on tour.
The funfair became increasingly popular during the Industrial Revolution, modern innovations in rides made them much more appealing for families. Many of the rides used during that period are still popular with funfairs in the 21st century.
In the case of the carousel (or Merry-Go-Round), it originated in Europe and the Middle East, as knights would throw balls at each other while riding their horses in a circle. Until one of them were to fall off of their mount. The modern carousel was founded and became increasingly popular in England during the 19th century. At the time (like everything else) they were steam-powered.
This was up until the Great Depression in the US during the 1920s, at which point engineers were able to develop electrical motors to run the rides and develop them with much cheaper materials, adapting to the economic climate of the country at the time.
In the modern age, carousels were designed with portability in mind. This is where the lorry comes in, whereas most carousels during the earlier years of the 20th century were stuck into place, carousels soon became mobile, with the use of lorries fairground owners were able to move them from place to place rather than keep in one specific location.
The Haunted House is another iconic part of the fair ground, which has become more able to move from one place to another over time.
While people have always entertained themselves with spooky stories, the first “haunted mansion” was actually in America, emerging around the same time as “trick-or-treat”. In 1969, Disneyland opened the Haunted Mansion, attracting an estimated 82,000 guests on a single-day basis.
While some think they’ve lost their fear factor while gaining mobility, some of these still look pretty creepy. Even more so with a spooky truck to move them from different grounds!
The Twister, otherwise known as the Cha Cha in Australia, was developed in the American state of Georgia in 1938., but the ride didn’t arrive in the UK until 1959. During its development there were a series of variations to the design, but it kept the vehicles spinning in an opposite direction to the ride itself.
With changes to the design, it was eventually tailored to become much easier to transport from one location to the next. From the more popular designs of twisters in the UK, it looks like it was made to be folded. This makes it one of the simplest rides to get from one location to the next.
While the rides are all fun and games, without the trucks to move them from A to B, fairgrounds would be stuck in place unable to travel and attract more customers. Truck drivers sparked a revolution for the fairground market, now able to appeal to more families than those in just one city. The success of the modern funfair is all thanks to the vehicle that can move it around: the lorry, and of course, the driver.