Vintage fair steams in to town

Written by Pete Davison.

A reminder of Mop Fairs gone by was visited on Marlborough at the weekend, with the arrival of the largest original touring vintage fairground in the world.

Carter's Steam Fair features pre-1960's equipment, transport, sideshows and rides – and its appearance at The Common on Saturday and Sunday created an atmosphere that makes it obvious why older residents get misty-eyed about the Mop Fair of days gone by.

The Mop's pounding Euro-dance and gravity-defying rides were replaced by steam-driven attractions, set to a soundtrack of pipe organs and rock 'n' roll.

Attractions included a helter skelter, complete with rush mats, and a merry-go-round. Thrill seekers were invited to ride the Divebomber (pictured) and put their stomachs in the hands of centrifugal force.

Some rides, of course, haven't changed since the 1960s – dodgems are still dodgems, and hook-a-duck is still hook-a-duck, but one thing that wasn't vintage about the fair was the ticket prices – with rides costing anything up to £3.50