World' s Fair

Scope and Content

The national fairground archive holds a complete run of The World' s Fair newspaper, which from its first publication by Frank Mellor in 1904 has become a thriving weekly newspaper with a circulation of 18,000. In terms of the documentary evidence relevant to research, the World' s Fair is the most crucial of all the sources related to the history of travelling fairs and showpeople and is a rich source of material for researching all aspects of travelling entertainment over the past 100 years.

Administrative / Biographical History

The World' s Fair contains information ranging from the reporting of fairs in different regions and buying and selling equipment, via news of recent deaths and weddings, to grounds to let the hiring of labour. The columns of advertising in the newspaper reflect the current popularity of particular rides or contemporary trends in prizes for fairground stalls. The advertising space in early issues is dominated by film companies, fairground suppliers, and the makers of living manufacturers. It is invaluable in illustrating the changes in the material culture of travelling people, not only in the workplace but also the domestic environment.

The World' s Fair contains weekly reports of local fairs throughout the United Kingdom including the types of amusements on show, the names of the showmen visiting the fair, and any local coverage of the event. This continues until the present day, with a minimum of eight pages in each issue being dedicated to such reports.


Arranged in date order

Access Information

Appointments to view The World's Fair can be made by contacting the NFA. Newspapers prior to 1950 must be viewed on microfilm and this must be booked prior to visit.

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Donaldson


Further accruals expected

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