Tyne & Wear

Exhibition showcases Newcastle's Town Moor 'Hoppings'

Hoppings fair in 1925 Image copyright Tyne & Wear Archives
Image caption People having fun at the Hoppings in 1925

An exhibition celebrating the 135th anniversary of what is billed as the largest travelling funfair in Europe has opened in Newcastle.

The annual June event - known as the Hoppings, after an old English word for dance - features more than 300 rides, sideshows, and other amusements.

The Discovery Museum exhibition explores the fair's history and the lives of the travelling showmen.

Visitors will also be able to play on vintage slot machines.

Image copyright Nick Lambert
Image caption The rides have changed through the years, but there are some perennial favourites

The gathering began as a Temperance Fair in 1882, in what was seen as an antidote to the Newcastle Races which had, up to then, been held on the Town Moor.

Through the years, generations of travelling families from all round the country have taken part in what is believed to be the largest such event in Europe, and it continues to attract tens of thousands of visitors.

Image copyright Alan Proudlock
Image caption In the 1950s - as in the present day - the Big Wheel was a popular ride

The Discovery Museum exhibition - which runs until 1 October - features more than 50 vintage working amusement machines, from What the Butler Saw (early moving pictures) to pinball and fruit machines, which visitors can play using old pennies purchased from the museum.

Image copyright Tyne and Wear Archives
Image caption In days gone by, some of the sideshows were a tad risqué

Carolyn Ball, Museum Manager said: "The Hoppings is firmly placed in Tyneside's events calendar and has been loved by people in the area for generations.

"The exhibition will celebrate the history of the famous fair and visitors can step back in time and have a go on lots of rare vintage amusement machines."

Image copyright Brian Usher
Image caption The Hoppings this year will run from 16 to 24 June

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