Rowland Scott Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of photographs and manuscripts relating to showmen and their families, a large number of which are from the 1950s.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rowland Scott is regarded as one of the big three post-war fairground enthusiasts, a title shared amongst the close and dedicated trio consisting of Rowland, Philip Bradley and Jack Leeson. These three enthusiasts had a common aim of recording the immediate post-war fairground scene: the rides, technology, artwork, transport and living wagons of their era. In a time when many of the enthusiast networks were looking back to a golden age of steam (and paving the way for the preservation movement) Rowland, Philip and Jack saw an equal importance in recording all aspects of contemporary living history.

The communication and photograph sharing between the three was tireless and detailed, with many key items of fairground knowledge emerging through their concerted efforts to gain access to a wider picture. Whilst as a group they became respected sources of information, they also worked to their own particular strengths and interests. Philip and Jack shared an engineering background, their photographs not only portraying the technical aspects of fairgrounds but also presenting the fairground as a technical subject. Rowland worked from a different angle. Whereas Jack and Philip predominantly worked the fairgrounds away from the interference of the general public, Rowland plunged himself into the social scene – capturing the showmen, the gaff lads and the fairground public in everyday situations. Rowland's pictures were never posed, nor technically perfected in terms of framing the subject, but they spoke volumes in capturing the atmosphere of the time.

Rowland's collection is one of the largest left to the Archive, recording his intense travels around the Lancashire Section as well as his frequent jaunts to Newcastle Town Moor or the neighbouring Yorkshire Section. His manuscript, the basis for his Lancashire Lad articles in the Fairground Mercury, is soon to be published with a selection of these photographs.

Rowland Scott's obituary by Tommy Green can be found in The Fairground Mercury, vol 21 no.1, June 1998.


Catalogued by type

Conditions Governing Access

The photographs make up part of the image database collection which is available to view by appointment in the NFA reading room. Contact the NFA for details of other items.

Acquisition Information

Photographs donated by Mrs Scott and Manuscripts donated by Graham Downie via the author.

Other Finding Aids

Photographs on image database. Other items listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Donaldson

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright: National Fairground Archive

Related Material

Lionel Bathe, Dick Price, Philip Bradley, Philip Swindlehurst, Ron Taylor, George Tucker, Jack Leeson.