Funfair in Hyde Park
Come and enjoy all the fun of the fair at the London Funfair in Hyde Park.
Animals and Futures
Check out wild animals, carnival machines, Grab Claw and Zoltan in Hyde Park this week. While there watch Punch and Judy for a bit, and then grab a ride on one of the many attractions. Try your luck at the Sea Horse Race because you can win a prize. Or even see if you can survive the knife thrower!
I love the Big Wheel and the Carousel, both traditional rides that come down to us from history.
Fairs in London have a long and ancient history, that is deeply rooted in tradition. The word fair comes from the Latin ‘feria’, meaning a holiday and because of this, at one time the people said that Romans introduced fairs to England.
The origins of fairgrounds are from pagan customs of the people who first settled here. The Romans did much to promote fairs by improving trade and communications throughout the country.
During the centuries after the departure of the Romans, many fairs and other festivals have been added to the calendar of the growing Christian Church. Charters granted by the sovereign gave the fair legal status and an increasing importance in the economic life of the nation. Mayfair was mainly open fields until around 1686 – which was when the the May Fair came from Haymarket to Shepherd Market.
Merchants and traders from Europe, the Middle East and beyond visited the great fairs of the Middle Ages and brought with them a wealth of goods and visual treats, such as the knife thrower and fortune teller.
Many entertainers came to these fairs: jugglers, musicians and tumblers – who were the ancestors of today’s showmen.
Dodgems, carousels, and candy floss: today, we couldn’t imagine a funfair without them. But let’s take a step back in time, and see just how much has changed…
The tradition of gathering for entertainment dates from the dawn of civilization. But by the nineteenth century, the focus began to shift to jugglers, acrobats, musicians and magicians, with funfair rides such as the carousel – albeit in horse-drawn form as a must have for any funfair.
In the Victorian era, the fairground really took shape. Exciting big, travelling shows appeared because steam power brought a whole new level of fun to the fair.
In 1868, someone had the bright idea of connecting a steam engine to the carousel and this became the first step towards bigger, faster rides that give the funfair the exciting buzz it has today.
Today, plastics and aluminium made it possible for travelling showmen to offer their fairground rides for hire almost anywhere (including in Second Life). Electronic and hydraulic mechanisms, make funfairs a fun and easy to enjoy.
Dodgems, carousel rides, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, ghost trains, popcorn and candy floss stalls, are all important pats of any fair today.