George Kilvington: Fairground Photographs and Notes 1935-1947
compiled by
Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith
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ISBN Number: 0950110329
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 84
Publication Date: 2006
Publisher: The Fairground Society

George 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.
 

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