John Gale Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of photographs taken by enthusiast John Gale. Also includes a collection of negatives taken from his favourite fairs: Newcastle Town Moor, Durham Miners' Gala, Houghton Feast, Northallerton and his home town of Wolsingham. There are also a number of newspaper clippings, 5 circus programmes and 2 rally programmes.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Gale was a prominent figure in the North East fairground scene, popular with many of the close-knit community of showmen in that area. His fairground enthusiasm is best seen from this unique viewpoint, with John's incredible pictures forming into a family album of lovingly created snapshots celebrating all aspects of the fairground life. John's pictures came with an absolute minimum of information.

Though incredibly valuable in terms of historical and technical detail, the negative collection can be appreciated as a social document. The lack of accompanying information has quickly been overcome as the collection has been put to use in its proper form: to be browsed and examined by the showmen it so lovingly depicts. Those showmen who have helped us catalogue the images have achieved more than adding names, dates and places – the collection rekindles a special way of life and the happiest of memories.


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. Other items can be consulted with prior appointment.

Acquisition Information

Donated by his sister

Other Finding Aids

Images on database. Other items listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Donaldson

Related Material

Lionel Bathe, Dick Price, Rowland Scott, Philip Swindlehurst, Ron Taylor, George Tucker.