Bath’s Royal Victoria Park is such a wonderful space, not only because it’s so beautiful with its lawns, carefully maintained flower beds and winding paths, but also because it is able to host so many different events and travelling attractions. Recently the Thai Festival was held there and not so long ago it was where the circus was located, and, always a favourite, in the winter it’s where you can find Bath’s outdoor ice rink. This week (from Saturday August 6th – Sunday August 14th) it will be welcoming Carters Steam Fair for a stay in Bath.
Carters Steam Fair is an authentic travelling funfair consisting entirely of rare vintage equipment, much of which is powered by steam – so it’s fascinating to see how it all works. It’s believed to be the largest vintage travelling funfair in the world and is always on the move. As such the team who run the fair live in vintage showman’s wagons and caravans and the whole fair is travels in a fleet of highly-decorated vintage lorries.
It all began in 1977 when John and Angela Carter bought their first ride – the Steam Gallopers. They set them up in the front garden of their rented house while restoring them, but unfortunately their landlord wasn’t a fan and soon they were asked to leave. This didn’t put them off though. They spent a long while restoring the Gallopers to their former glory and then took them on the road. After that John and Anna added to the beginnings of their collection with the Chair-o-Plane, vintage side stalls and then the Steam Yachts.
The fair kept growing over the years and remains a family fair to this day. Sadly John passed away in 2000, but Anna and her children work hard to keep the fair well-maintained and on the road. Without Carters many of the rides wouldn’t have been restored and beautiful parts of Britain’s heritage would have been lost.
The fair will be open between midday and 8pm each evening and will be free to enter. It’s worth taking a tour around the fair even if going on rides, modern or vintage, isn’t quite your cup of tea because artistically they’re a sight to behold. The highly-decorated, colourfully painted rides date from 1895 to the 1960s, and look like they ought to belong in the world of Mary Poppins.
To have a go on the different rides visitors can purchase vintage tokens. Each token costs 50p and can be bought at the ticket booth on the day or online, and if bought online up to midnight the night before your visit some free rides are included (the number varies depending on how many tokens you buy). Tokens can be bought online here.