Kilvington started taking photographs in April 1935 in his hometown
of Huddersfield, at the prestigious Easter fair which had for many
years been held on the Great Northern Street ground adjacent to the
corporation tram sheds. Although 15 years old at the time, his
photographs seem not to be just images of fairground equipment, but
truly capture the atmosphere of the event.
The large format 120 negatives were
each carefully placed in a paper envelope, and details of the
subject, location and date were written in neat handwriting on the
front. On the reverse of the envelopes additional notes and comments
were written which have proved very useful in research. Over 1000
photographs were taken between April 1935 and October 1958 which
document a very interesting period of fairground development. In
1935 there were still two sets of Steam Swings travelling in
Yorkshire, as well as various steam driven Galloping Horse rides and
Steam Yachts. Alongside these were faster modern rides such as
Swirls, Mont Blancs, Arks and Dodgems. the development of thee
modern machines is captured as more and more elaborate versions were
produced by the manufacturers.
Huddersfield is well placed to make
short trips to Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and other large towns in the
Yorkshire Woollen District which at that time all had important
fairs. Relatives in Lincoln ensured regular trips to the Cathedral
City at the time of the April Fair, and holiday trips to the
Lancashire coast all added variety to the content of the collection.
His parents retired to the
Lancashire seaside resort of Southport, and latterly the amusement
park there was well photographed. It was to be the same place that
he retired, in ill health, to live at Cedar Street, where he died at
the comparatively young age of 60 in 1980.
This book is a belated tribute in
recognition of the outstanding visual record of a previously
unacknowledged side of social history which George Kilvington
captured for prosperity.