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946, LO/301/252
Leicester Oral History Archive Collection

Speaker: Bates, Margaret, 1921 - , Interviewee, Female, Traveling fair work
Speaker: Kirrane, S, Interviewer, Female

Summary of interview item: Recalls parents connections with the fairground business. Describes traveling as a child, with the fair, in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk until the Second World War when the family had to settle in Hayes Middlesex and do war work. Describes moving to the Midlands and marriage to her husband who toured with Bates fair. Mentions her father's fair has been carried on by her brothers. Describes working as a glass blower during the war and the effect of travel restrictions. Recalls her parents and childhood and the close knit fairground community. Describes the traditional showman's caravan and horses, steam engines and lorries used. Recalls how the children were educated. Recalls her mother running the rides after father was conscripted into the war effort during the First World War. Describes the various rides and sideshows. Mentions food stalls, making rock and casual workers. Reflects on the difference between travelers, gypsies and show people. Describes the weekly pattern of work, where and when they go to winter quarters, when they marry and religion. Mentions incident of grandfather's death in Norwich, Norfolk. Recalls childhood games. Comments on local people, fair followers, difficulties with making friends, taking holidays and illness. Comments women did the same hard work as men and how poverty of 1920s and 1930s hit showmen hard. (See also interview with sister 948, LO/304/255)
Place of birth:
Marital Status: Married, Children:
Father's Occupation: Traveling Fair owner
Mother's Occupation:
Location: County:
Location: Town/Place:
Periods Covered: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s
Language: English

Recording Date: 5/8/1986
Playing time: 1 hr
Access Restrictions: Full clearance Item Copyright: EMOHA
Summary: Yes
Transcription: No
Copies: yes
Cross Reference:

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Last updated: 08/05/02
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