David Cox’s Waltzer on the Pimlico in Ilkeston photo

Back where it belongs: Charter Fair returns to the streets of Ilkeston

Five principal sites, all boasting exciting rides, linked by streets full of juvenile attractions, games and kiosks make Ilkeston Charter Fair one of the finest street fairs in the UK. Back this year after the enforced absence in 2020, the event was blessed with good weather.

When World’s Fair visited on the last of four days we found general opinion was that it had been a good fair business wise and the town centre was alive with a happy atmosphere.

All but two areas of the fair are organised by Erewash Borough Council. The Mayor, Councillor Donna Briggs rang the bell in bright sunshine on Thursday, October 21, to officially open the 769th Ilkeston Charter Fair, although the rides and attractions had actually opened for business the previous day.

Both the Leader of Erewash Council, Carol Hart, and showman James Mellors spoke very positively about the fair and what it meant to the local people and the visiting showpeople when BBC East Midlands featured the event and opening ceremony on its early evening news bulletin. The amusements then lit up the streets until Saturday, October 23.

Anthony Harris’ Waltzer on the Market Square in Ilkeston photo
Anthony Harris’ Waltzer on the Market Square in Ilkeston

The Market Place, overseen by Pat Collins Fun Fairs, was a blaze of colour, with John Groom’s XLR8 Booster dominating the skyline while Michael Harris’s new Road House Dodgems featured outstanding lighting. The same owner’s Balloon Madness was also on a first visit, and the nostalgia was provided by Lawrence Bishton’s ornate Gallopers and Brooklyn Cake Walk.

As usual, Wharncliffe Road was home to Brandon Weston’s Big Wheel, but Jorden Crole’s Rotor was a newcomer to this section. This year Brandon Connell’s Jumbo Circus Fun House was located in South Street, and in the nearby car park Charles Cole’s Twist and James Crecraft’s Super Trooper were welcome new attractions.

James Crecraft’s Super Trooper at Ilkeston photo
James Crecraft’s Super Trooper at Ilkeston

The Albion car park hosted four more major rides and a variety of supporting attractions including John Pullar’s novel Apple ride from Scotland.

The trio of rides in Queen Street were Albert E Holland Jnr’s Extreme, Michael McKean Jnr’s Tip Top and Ashley Wood’s Miami.

The Pimlico car park, let by James Mellors, has become the venue for top thrill rides. Whilst Ryan Crow’s Magic Mouse spinning coaster kept a wide range of riders happy, the more daring were drawn towards Stanley Reeves Jnr’s Atmosfear Loop Fighter and Extreme Top Scan.

Albert Barker’s Kentucky Derby in Ilkeston photo
Albert Barker’s Kentucky Derby in Ilkeston

For those wanting to take some time out from the hustle and bustle in the streets, the former fairground enthusiasts’ social was replaced by a fully fledged model show at a new venue, the United Reformed Church Hall.

Meanwhile in Ripley…

A few miles north of Ilkeston, the annual Charter Fair at Ripley took place over the same weekend this year.

Whilst the Market Place and adjoining Shirley Road car park were filled with colourful amusements, the use of the Pear Tree car park had been lost since the last fair in 2019. However, there were three rides and a number of juvenile attractions on part of the car park alongside the Co-Op supermarket, just a short walk from the Market Place.

In addition to the big rides listed below, the choice for the children was excellent.

Major rides and attractions: Ilkeston

Lawrence Bishton’s Brooklyn Cake Walk and Gallopers (2 sets)  

John Groom’s XLR8 (KMG Booster)

Michael Harris’s Road House Dodgems and Super Star

Charles Harris’s Sizzler Twist

Anthony Harris Jnr’s Supreme Waltzer  

Christina Harris’s Scream Miami

Katie Louise Noyce’s North Pole Fun House    

Spencer Hall’s Ghost Train

Ashley Wood’s Dodgems and Miami

Samantha Holland’s Sizzler Twist

William Roberts’ Tagada

Andrew Robinson’s Crazy Pyramids Fun House

Brandon Weston’s Big Wheel and Simulator

Gilbert Chadwick Snr’s Fun House

Jorden Crole’s Rotor

Joey Whitelegg’s Tagada

Raymond Armstrong’s Dodgems

James Crecraft’s Super Trooper

Charles Cole’s Twist

Michael McKean Jnr’s Tip Top

Brandon Connell’s Jumbo Circus Fun House

Albert E Holland’s Extreme,

Leonard Derry’s Beach Party Fun House

Joe Barker’s Crazy Circus Fun House

George Burrows’ Jump & Smile

Stanley Reeves Jnr’s Atmos Fear

Ryan Pearson’s Midnight Express Matterhorn

Ryan Crow’s Spinning Coaster

David Cox Jnr’s Ultimate Waltzer

Shaun Rogers’ Stargate

S&D Leisure’s Xtreme Top Scan

Major rides and attractions: Ripley

David Cox & Son’s Euro Star Dodgems

Bertie Holland’s Waltzer

John Silcock’s Twister and Freak Out

Warren Dowse’s Miami

Evan Moran’s Super Bowl

John Wheatley’s Spooky Towers Haunted House

Junior Clark’s Mad House

Jonathan Barker’s Extreme Frogs

James Rogers & Sons’ Matterhorn

Joel Bunn’s Tagada 

Main photo: David Cox’s Waltzer on the Pimlico in Ilkeston

From January 2022 the World’s Fair is back as a monthly print and digital publication, available by subscription only.

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