are not kings or queens, we are the Marvellous Culines!"
Such was the motto of the Culine
family when they first embarked on their life in the circus, a life
that would encompass joy and sorrow, love and tragedy...and some
incredible feats of showmanship.
In From Fanfare to Funfair, John
Culine traces the fascinating history of his own family, bringing to
life a host of colourful characters as he describes real people and
real events in a narrative that could be straight from a Hollywood
The story begins in 1822, and takes
the reader on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs as the Culine
family make the journey from Victorian theatre and circus to the
world of the travelling fairground in the 1940s.
Experience the drama as Alice Culine
attempts to walk across Bridlington Harbour on a tightrope in 1890.
Share in the highs as Cliff Culine performs with Buffalo Bill, and
the lows as William Culine is declared missing in action in France
in World War I.
We learn of the family's efforts to
keep the show going through two world wars, bringing entertainment
and light relief to people in dark times, despite their own
heartache and worries.
This is a captivating story and as we
turn the pages we can't help but share in the family's celebrations
John Clifford Culine was born in a
caravan in Victoria Jubilee Park, Spennymoor, Co Durham, the son of
travelling showpeople Clifford and Freda Culine. One of five
children, he was the only boy.
A travelling showman
through-and-through, John also spent nearly 20 years serving as a
councillor on Spennymoor Town Council and was elected Town Mayor in
2004. He served The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain in various
roles for over 40 years, reaching the highest honour, that of
President, in 2016, a position he relinquished in January 2019. He
was awarded the MBE in 2007.
As the last male Culine, John didn't
want the fascinating family stories he had been brought up with
being lost along with the Culine name. This book is the culmination
of 30 years of painstaking research, added to the insights into the
characters of his predecessors and their lives related to him by his
family over many years.
And characters they most certainly
For anyone with an interest in family
histories, our cultural heritage, or simply people and how they
lived, this is a fascinating and compelling read.