first publication in 1986, Frances Brown’s Fairfield Folk has been
acknowledged as a fairground classic. This latest edition with its
new information and many more photographs brings the story of the
Matthews family up-to-date.
The history of the travellers is handed down through the traditional
method of a ‘Say’, every important, amusing or significant event
being turned into a story and faithfully repeated from generation to
Frances Brown, having been born
into the world of travelling showpeople, was able to record the
‘Says’ of the Matthews family going back to the early 1800s.
Although some of these stories seemed to beggar belief, she has
checked them against newspapers, court records, and available
documentation and found them to be true, in the course of her
research unearthing a wealth of original photographs.
This book not only traces the way
of life of a travelling family, but charts the changes and
developments of the British fairground. It should have wide appeal
as it provides many personal insights into the travelling community,
and records the development of their early rides such as the famous
steam driven roundabout filmed in Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and
Half-a-Sixpence. The book then brings the story up to date by
introducing some present-day members of the Matthews family and
depicting the background to the design and construction of their
Frances Brown was born in Emsworth,
Hampshire, at a time when her parents were beginning to ‘settle
down’ from their lives as travelling showpeople. As a child she
spent happy holidays with her grandmother and aunts travelling to
fairs in Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset. After completing a
postgraduate teacher-training degree at Sussex University, she
taught at the Rudolf Steiner school in Sussex, but has now begun a
new career and is writing full time. Besides being the author of
books and articles on traditional fairs, she has written a
much-acclaimed series of novels based on the lives of some of the
characters whose histories are detailed in Fairfield Folk.
Fine with Very good dustjacket (very slight crease to top of front
cover - click on image above to see the copy that is for sale).