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May 18, 2021

Fascinating Vintage Photos of Richmond’s Magical Funfairs in the 1980s

“The Richmond Old Deer Park funfair was situated between a railway line and a main road, with a car park at one end and trees and River Thames at the other. Yet inside this inauspicious setting fairground people created a magic kingdom. The fair, despite a few modern innovations, preserved many of the traditions so many of my pictures looked as if they were taken in the previous 50 years. Children adored the old-fashioned roundabouts, large crowds swarmed aboard the bumper cars and everyone enjoyed the sideshows. In those days you could win cigarettes, LP records and gold fish as prizes, plus cuddly toys.

The crowds were more diverse and up-to-date. Funfairs are good places to study everyday fashion. Younger customers wore stylish smart casual clothes. Some Asian women dressed more formally in elegant saris and looked as if they were going to a wedding. The fun atmosphere relaxed everyone – or nearly everyone. Many romances are established at funfairs where, wrote one observer, ‘thrill rides provide ample excuse for embracing. Displays of skill at shooting and winning a cuddly toy for your girlfriend is a rite of passage for many young men.’”

This is how Roger George Clark—a professional broadcaster, writer and photographer—described the two travelling funfairs in Richmond upon Thames where he lived at the time. One was housed on the outskirts of Richmond town in the Old Deer Park and the other near the entrance to Hampton Court Palace. Take a brief look through 23 fascinating vintage photographs of the before-digital-age funfairs below, and keep up-to-date with Clark on his website here:

(via Flashbak)


  1. Even the dog is bored. Please stop posting boring family slideshow pix and go back to posting actual vintage pix of substance.

    1. That's the dumbest comment of the day.

    2. Yeah, this dork is going around putting similar comments on all the posts. Bored, I guess.

  2. don't comment on dork's comments and he will go away




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