Traveller Pride Library Scheme

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Traveller Pride Library Scheme Showmen & Funfairs

Carters Steam Fair

Anna Carter & Brian Steptoe

Very short history of Carters steam fair, a trad revivalist fair which shut up shop in 2022. Known for their use of heritage rides, vehicles and trailers, this book is worth seeing even if just for colour photos of things usually only in black and white!


The Working Scammell Showtrac

Barry Brown

The Scammell, more than any other lorry, was ubiquitous at fairs at one time. This short but charming book explains a little of why and shows a lot of beautiful examples.


Jump on, Jump on

Brian Steptoe

A sporadic pocketed history of modern funfairs. The highlight being a series of short essays by Showmen themselves (a rarity to hear these voices!) in the middle of the book. stunning colour photos throughout. Some cover damage but otherwise fine.


Fairgound Fun at Folly Farm:

Brian Steptoe

Aimed at a younger reader, this short but adorable booklet packs a lot in to its short length including cute colour photos and a good dose of history


David Braithwaite/ the NFA

50 years on from seminal book "Fairground Architecture", this books uncovers a little more about the book and about the people behind it


DR J.L. Middlemiss

A brief but detailed account of the Travelling Menageries of the past, how the functioned and who was behind them. A real long-forgotten part of the UK's travelling history.


Fairground Architecture 50 (2 copies) A Zoo On WHeels: Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie

An extremely in depth and well-researched story of Pat Collins, often called the Kind of SHowmen. A thorough portrait of his life and how he amassed the great power he did; of particular interest is the chapter on the Showman's Guild. A comprehensive history, stunningly illustrated, of one of the most important rides in the evolution of the modern funfair as well as the traction engines which pulled them. Looking at the lifespans of individual rides, this situates and illuminates a fascinating period in Showland history Very detailed look at the phenomenon of Travelling cinemas on UK Fairs and Circuses, looking carefully at all known operators and their histories. Beautiful photos throughout and a thorough analysis of the period. Book has some slight damage (mostly to cover)

Pat Collins: King of Showmen

Freda Allen & Ned Williams

The Electric Scene Railway

Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith

The Travelling Cinematograph Show

Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith

Steam Yachts

Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith

As with "The Travelling Cinematograph" this is a comprehensive history of a long-forgotten type of ride and of the people who owned them.


Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith

The Archive of northern "Fair fan" George Kilvington is dove into and the best bits are presented in this charming look at the fairs of hull, huddersfield, sheffield, lincoln and surrounding areas. Photo-based. As always, exquisite artwork and signwriting on show.


Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith

Focusing on a family rather than simply a style of ride, this is by far the most human of the scrivens/smith books available.


A Fair Lane Vol1

Mark Middleton

A short booklet on the life of legendary Showman Harry Wigfield, meticulously researched and wonderfully illustrated with photos spanning his lifetime.


Barnstaple Charter Fair

Martin Burridge

The history of Barnstaple fair from its charter to the present day. As is typical the focus is mostly on rides and transport but there's more focus on Showmen and families than is often found in this kind of book.


George Kilvington: Fairground Photographs & Notes 19351947 Showmen of the past: Hancocks of the west





Merton Library Service

A picturebook on Mitcham Fair from its origins until the 1970s. Whilst scant on information, of interest is the photographs about "Gypsies" working alongside the fair and then heading on to do more traditional work.


Historic Fairground Scenes

Michael E. Ware

Stunning reproductions of photographs mostly from the golden age of funfairs accompanied by short paragraphs to give context and understanding. Enjoyable no matter your reading level and a good introduction to funfair history


National Fairground Archive: 2 Decades of Delight (7 copies)

National Fairgound Archive

A celebration of the NFA, who preserve showman heritage. A tour through their collections including stunning photos and bills.


Pennies by the seas: The life and times of Joyland Amusements, Bridlington

Nick Laister

A look at the under-studied world of seafront amusements and the people behind them. A key part of most people's childhoods at one point or another from the inside.


Moonrocket: The Thriller ride of the thirties

The Fairground Heritage Trust

An analysis of the "moonrocket", a short-lived ride which was spectacularly grand in scale and design but was quickly superceded. The only known existing one is in Dingles Fairground museum. A fascinating look at the business at the time through this flash-in-the-pan thriller; stunning photos throughout.


Heart of England Fairs

Toulmin, Downie, Campbell & Trowell

Well selected photographs from various counties in "the heart of England". Street fairs to village greens, this collection is a great starting point and a treasure trove of info. Water damaged but readable.


Searing account of the trial which helped decriminalise homosexuality in Britain from the man at the centre.


Mitcham Fair

Queer & LGBT Against the Law Before We Were Trans Butch Is A Noun

Peter Wildeblood Kit Heyam S Bear Bergman

S Bear Bergman's essays, about Butch identity and queerness

Female Husbands

Jen Manion

The life stories of historical Female Husbands in the UK and the US, in the 18th and 19th centuries - Encompassing people who nowadays we might call trans men, nonbinary people, passing women, Butch lesbians But who lived before any of those words were in common use.

Leather Folk


A selection of essays by pioneers in the San Francisco leather scene, ranging from life stories and histories of seminal venues, to politics and philosophies of pleasure. CN: Graphic sex, violence, homophobia

Losing Out: Sexuality & Adolescent Girls

Susan Lees

A look at the complex bind 16 year old girl's find themselves in when navigating sexuality and expectations upon them.

Public Sex

Patrick Califia

Patrick Califia's essays, collected from the 1970s-90s, about the ethics and practise of queer sex and how that interacts with the public sphere. CN: Graphic sex, discussions of child abuse

Queer beyond london

matt cook alison oram

Histories of the LGBT scenes outside of Londo, often because of how they were pushed to the physical margins, they overlap with Traveller histories in ways that I wish taht the book would go into more!


Matthew Todd

Now-iconic book about the psychological pressures of not being straight in the world we are in today.


2 T

Testo Junkie

Paul Preciado

United Queerdom

Dan Glass

Fascinating journey exploring the meaning of gender and transition. The author takes testosterone for a year to simulate transition and documents their own journey with gender and their body throughout. Activist and friend of Traveller Pride, Dan Glass explores the history of LGBTQ resistance movements in the UK with a meticulous and enthusiastic style.

Travellers Book Of Boswell Dialect Of the English Gypsies

George Boswell

The memoir of George Boswell, descendant of Wester Boswell

Wester Boswell

A short dictionary, peppered with original writing and transribed discussions by Wester Boswell and his friends and family, recording Angloromani as it was spoken in the c19th.

Fireside Tales of the Traveller Children

Duncan Williamson

Scottish traveller folk tales. Endearing and revealing

Hideous Beauty

William Hussey

an LGBT Traveller author! Young adult tale of finding oneself

I Met Lucky People

Yaron Matras

Master linguist Matras takes us on a well-presented history of Romani people.


Vanessa Toulmin

A scholarly, in depth but still readable history of the modern funfair and the modern Showman by the founder of the NFA

Polonius the Pit Pony

Richard O'Neill

Queer Roma

Lucie Fremlova

Academic writing on the subject of Queer Roma which explores identity and the ways in which these seemingly jarring identities are held by people.

The Gypsies

Jan Yoors

Is this illuminating or exotifying? Yoors "lived with the Gypsies" for this piece and it has moments which feel very "old school anthropology" but other moments which are very tender and genuine. He was a gifted photographer too, which makes the book worth reading just for that

The Lost Homework

Richard O'Neill

The Outrage

William Hussey

The Stopping Places

Damian LeBas

A thoughtful and heartfelt account by Damian LeBas, of visiting the atchin tans of his own family in years past, and visiting the festival of Saint Mary de la Mer in France and Appleby Fair in England.

Traveller's Tale: The making of a fairground showman

David SlatteryChristy

One of the few funfair books by a professional writer, and it is by far one of the most readable books we have. The author takes us through a journey as he researches and pieces together the life of his Grandfather, Walter Pratley, which he tells in a first person narrative. Far more humanising than most books on showmen that are published.

Why the moon travels

Oein debhairduin

A stunning collection of folk tales, stories etc. from and about Irish Travellers. Thoughtful, reverant and clearly done with great care.


To request any of these books, or to suggest what else to add to our library, get in touch with us on or via social media with your address and we will send you the book and a stamped return envelope for when you’re done.

With thanks to all who have donated books!


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