Funfairs & Circuses

Touring Funfairs and Circuses

Crich residentas were entertained by the visitation of travelling funfairs and circuses


With thanks to Andrew McKinley

Two local families brought their attractions to Crich, the OADLEY family and the RAY family. The Ray family had very close connections with Crich. They over-wintered at the Jovial Dutchman Close and the family are buried in Crich churchyard. The RAY fair was owned by Timmy RAY (snr) and then his son Timmy RAY (jnr).

The fairs were set up either in the Jovial Dutchman Close or on Crich Market Place.

Photo courtesy Alan Stanhope- Beresford collection

Ray carousel at Crich

Timmy RAY's roundabout in Crich Market Place

Photo courtesy anonymous album

Crich fair 1908


Oadley's fair on the Jovial Dutchman Close in 1908


Tony LESTER's "Crich Memories" –

October was Crich fair time and I used to sit in our window bottom and watch for Timmy Ray's big showman's engine, pulling a caravan and trailer into the Dutchman croft. He later went and fetched the rest of the equipment. We used to go and watch them setting up the roundabout (carousel) with its horses, the swingboats, coconut shies, rifle range, ball in the bucket, roll a penny (I am sure the lines used to move when the pennies got near them) and the slot machines. After visiting the fair we always saved a copper or two for chips and peas from Mrs Brumwells, that was really living!!! The fair stayed open for two to three weeks, then everything was packed away into the big wagons and they wintered in the Croft.


Timmy Ray's fairground attractions:

Photographs courtesy Alan Stanhope- Beresford collection

Ray fairground attractions

Ray fairground attractions

Ray fairground attractions


For more information on Timmy RAY- VIEW


In 1911 Mr BISHTON was blacklisted for dismantling his roundabout on a Sunday against the Parish Council edict– he had overstayed his visit at Crich Wakes.

Derbyshire Courier 4 November 1911
An unseemly squabble between members of the Crich Parish Council occurred at the meeting of that authority on Wednesday over what was rightly described by one of the councillors as “a frivolous matter.” It was all over the question of the extended stay at the Wakes of Messrs BISHTON’s roundabouts in defiance of the order of the Parish Council.
Councillor REDFERN waxed furious in refuting certain allegations which had been made against him and indignantly declared that he had “neither had his throat gargled, his hand warmed behind him, or even treated to a complimentary ride on the horses.”
“Is this a sneer?” Asked Mr DAKIN.
Several other members intervened at this stage and disorder reigned, the Chairman eventually allowing each angry councillor to defend himself in turn.
Mr DYSON observed that in this case possession was nine points of the law, and in view of Mr BISHTON setting the Council at defiance and also of putting down on the Sunday morning while worshippers were going to chapel and church – complaints of which had been made – he proposed these facts be remembered when Mr BISHTON next made application for a stand. The matter then dropped.

Travelling Circuses

Derbyshire Times 2 November 1901
At Crich they have a diversion seen in that part of the county but seldom. One of the travelling circuses is paying the old-fashioned town visit.