the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

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the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:29 pm

glasgow has the highest population of travelling showmen than anywhere else i europe.yards or winter yards a term used by the showmen to describe their place of residence during the winter months are home to thousands of travelling showpeople.most of these winter yards were built in industrial areas ie.swanston street in dalmarnock and clydeholm road in partick.times change though and now the once crowded yards of partick and whiteinch have now gone in favour of regeneration projects to boost the area again.the east end where around 70 percent of travelling showmen and their famillies live is now falling into the hands of the commonwealth village building project.showmen are finding it harder to find sites within glasgow itself opting instead to set up in the outer reaches.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:41 pm

several travelling show famillies have now moved much further north with winter yards in stirling,alford in aberdeenshire,muir of ord in invernesshire and invergordon in easter ross.glasgow will always be remembered amongst the showmen as 'the place i grew up' and will always be remembered as their spiritual home.showmen never forget their heritage.winter yards consist of lets say anything up to 20 chalets, caravans and showmans specially built wagons most of these stay in the yards all year with showmen opting to travel smaller caravans to cut down on costs etc.a winter yard also houses a showmans equipment,this could be anything from 2 or 3 large rides to maybe just the one lorry carrying anything from a set of swingboats(shuggie boats) to a laughing clown stall.some showmen also like to keep old equipment stored in trailers or old lorries that their fathers or grandfathers used to travel with for sentimental reasons.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:46 pm

showmens winter yards are either council owned,owned by a landlord or have been bought by a travelling showman and every person who owns a plot on these sites are responsible for their own plot and pay rent for that plot and anything they own stored on that plot.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby SomeRandomBint » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:52 pm

As far as I know, the main sites for fairground families in the east end are privately owned. They're also a fair way away from the regeneration development for the Commonwealth Games (the opposite end of Old Shettleston Road).
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:55 pm

some travelling showpeople living on these winter yards have since retired or opted to settle down opening cafes,pubs etc.while others operate fairground type businesses on a different scale ie. bouncy castle hire,static amusement arcades and showmans cash and carry warehouses. the rest still carry on their travelling heritage as they were brought up to do by their ancestors.areas around swanston street have seen improvements to coinside with the commonwealth games
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:59 pm

i know a few showmen who live in rutherglen/dalmarnock/shettleston and some of them told me will eventually have to uproot everything to a new winter yard.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:11 pm

for years winter yards were overcowded which meant that showmens rides etc were parked up in streets which were in close proximity to where they wintered.nowadays rides and equipment are stored although there has been sightings of the odd lorry tucked away down a small dead end lane when either leaving or arriving back from an event or hire as the showmen call them.i have walked down streets in whiteinch close to these yards and came across lines of showmens transport on both sides of the road some in readiness for the start of their season others just gathering dust.i remember seeing an old showmans wagon lying abandoned outside a previously used winter yard which had been sold to a developer.the streets in whiteinch gather a musky smell of diesel which lines the air telling passers by that a showman had been out to check over his lorry.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:20 pm

over on the east side yards like rigby street lie next to the railway line close to parkhead with showmen opting to move into old goods yards etc.some yards on the east side have been there for many years others only a few years.to walk through a winter yard is a sight in itself.packed with treasures packed with memories of that old lorry you had seen with the fair when it came to your town when you were a kid.open the back doors of an old lorry on a winter yard and your jaw would surely drop.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:33 pm

some transport carries the name of the showmen who owned them others were still in the colours of previous owners ie.road transport firms.some showmens transport were painted in a distinctive colour scheme to give it a look that was different from the rest.some carried generators for powering rides and stalls others converted into staff accomodation or to be the base of say a bumpy slide amongst other things.some travelling showmen rarely venture out of glasgow some open all over the uk and go abroad in winter.some only open 6 months of the year at fairs like burntisland and some only attend one day events.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:48 pm

if all the travelling showpeople based in glasgow itself were to live on the one site it would take a massive space to house them all. there is a place in essex where travelling showpeople live it is called buckles lane in south ockenden in the county of essex.this is not unlike parts of glasgow.if you go on google or bing maps and type in buckles lane you will see that although the winter yards are very close together they are infact split into different sites.some streets in glasgow had more than one winter yard others just the one.many famous names of the fairgrounds hailed from scotland in their earlier days.the greens were pioneers of the travelling circuit.they hailed from scotland but opted to come out of the travelling fairs and move into cinematics.some greens still survive and travel in england once upon a time the english greens would have been related somewhere along the line to the scottish greens.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:59 pm

other pioneers of the fairground in scotland were the codona familly which were originally from an italian background.they were a huge familly who mostly based themselves in glasgow.they had many riding devices such as jets, dodgems,motorcycle speedways,waltzers and the old grasscutter twists along with high tech rides that were appearing all the time.the codonas were never afraid to try new things with some members of the familly opening static fairgrounds at places like ayr and aberdeen.ayr has now bitten the dust sadly but the aberdeen codonas have built up a successful business and provided extra entertainment value for people not only in aberdeen but all over scotland and further afeild.several names have now gone from scotlands fairgrounds but their names still live on in memory.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:19 pm

in april glasgow sees a mass exodus of showmen as the world famous kirkcaldy links market beckons.this is regarded among most as the start of the fairground travelling season.around a week before the event those showmen who arent allready open at fairs in scotland and further afeild franticaly check over rides etc and their acompanying transport to make sure everythings in working order.then bit by bit the large jigsaw of showmen that cover glasgow dissapear onto the roads out of glasgow and head into fife for a fair that is classed as the longest street funfair in europe.maybe one showman might come across problems with his lorry before starting out but theres allways another showman watching over his shoulder giving him advice on how to get the problem sorted.this showman might cast a glance at his fellow showman in the winter yard and only say a few words in the passing but they will always be there to help if need be.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:33 pm

kirkcaldy is now dominated by several big names from the english travelling circuit with more and more waiting in the wings to swallow up that spare 10 feet of ground on the street.a lot of the glasgow showmen still have ground as they call it at kirkcaldy but year after year they tend to sublet to other showmen so that there is a better selection of attractions for the public.some of the glasgow based showmen go to fairs having not seen their best pal for anything upto a year with them both travelling different circuits or with different lessees as they call the showmen who organise fairs.so to remedy this, dances and other events are organised at some large fairs and all through the winter.this gives the travelling show famillies a chance to catch up with eachother and have a drink or simply just to hear whats been going on.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby scotsjock » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:43 pm

as the season ends the showmen make their way home with some famillies going in for winter after the summer and some opening right up until the bonfires and christmas events.that winter yard you saw only a few weeks back lying empty with little or no life is now full up again with the famiilies arriving in dribs and drabs to occupy their plots.
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Re: the fairground folk of the east end of glasgow

Postby bigstevie » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:55 pm

its a thing you dont see that often anymore ..the traveling fairgrounds.....i remember as a lad in the 80's you would always come across "the shows" at the holiday weekends and the like ....Hamilton always had the fair in the palace grounds and places like burnbank as well...you mostly find the fairgrounds at events like gala days am afraid...its all theme parks now :cry:
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