Roll up, roll up for peek at archive’s secrets
Now previously unseen items from Sheffield University’s National Fairground Archive (NFA) will be revealed in a new book. Amassed over the last 20 years, the collection includes thousands of pieces of international significance, from photographs and posters to souvenir programmes and archival records. Produced to mark the advent of its third decade, the Treasures of the National Fairground Archive book will feature 100 specially selected artefacts, never before been seen by the public.
They include an illustrated handbill for the first UK appearance by 2ft-tall American Charles Sherwood Stratton – better known as General Tom Thumb – who achieved great fame and attracted huge crowds as a travelling midget performer in the 19th century.
There is also an advertisement for the world-famous Charing Cross Whale – a 95ft skeleton that was found floating in the North Sea and exhibited in 1831 on the site of the King’s Mews. Ticket-holders were invited to dine inside while listening to a 24-piece orchestra.
Archive director Prof Vanessa Toulmin said: “The NFA is a very special resource and it is completely unique in that it is living – we will never stop collecting or acquiring as it is important to constantly look into the future, preserving even today’s artefacts with a view to tomorrow’s generation.”
A feature on the National Fairground Archive will appear in Saturday’s The Yorkshire Post Magazine.