The history of travelling families has been handed down through the traditional method of a ‘Say.’ Every important, amusing or significant event was turned into a story and faithfully repeated from generation to generation. The author, Frances Brown, was born into the world of show people and was able to record the ‘Says’ of the Matthews family as far back to the early 1800s when “Chewbacca” headed the family. Although some of these stories seemed to beggar belief, Frances has checked them against newspapers, court records and available documentation and has found them to be true. In the course of her research she has unearthed a wealth of original photographs.
The book not only traces the way of life of a travelling family, but charts the changes and developments of the British fairground, recording the development of the early rides such as the famous steamdriven roundabouts. It brings the story up to date, introducing present day members of the Matthews family and their modern rides.
The book contains a wonderful selection of photographs of old and modern rides, especially the Gallopers, Roundabouts, Swing Boats and Traction Engines. There are many rallies throughout the country and the whistle from the engines and the smell of oil and smoke attract thousands to the rally grounds.