Ronald Allen Taylor Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains digitised photographs from 22 albums taken by Taylor and other photographers, correspondence and various catalogues including his Dodgem research material.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ron Taylor lived in the village of Clifton all his life, apart from three years in Germany just after the war when he served in the army. Effectively leaving school at the age of thirteen to work on his uncle's farm in 1940, he was eventually apprenticed to a local garage. I know that he visited fairs as a youngster, but I got the impression that it was not until the early fifties that his interest in the industry really developed. Once demobbed he joined his father driving buses and coaches for Birch Bros., a then well-known Hertford company. It was, as much as anything, the fact that he travelled the length and breadth of the country that allowed him to visit many fairs, widening his knowledge and interest. Locally of course Thurstons, Mannings and Harris's were among those he came to know well. He also began to write for the World's Fair, the normal reports first, but then winter reports on machine changes, notes on new equipment, a series of individual machines, their owners, and even the transport. Even today these are as fascinating to read as they must have been then. He also helped to create the Trade Directory that World's Fair produced for some years.

His reputation certainly spread, and his knowledge grew. He would write to manufacturers and get details of anything new. He would talk and listen to the riding masters of the day, recording in his notes the details, adding to his knowledge month by month. His contributions to World's Fair were eagerly read by many, including a growing band of enthusiasts. In fact several people have remarked that it was his reports that changed a passing interest to a lifelong enthusiasm for the industry.

Extracts taken from Jim Bassett, Fairground Mercury, Vol 16, No 3, December 1993.

Arrangement

Catalogued by type

Conditions Governing Access

These items make up part of the image database collection which is available to view by appointment in the NFA reading room.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mrs Kathleen Taylor

Other Finding Aids

Photographs on image database

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Donaldson

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright: National Fairground Archive

Subjects