7 September 2012
Back to posting having moved house. A travelling fair has just set up on the grounds of a local public park. It started me thinking about these wonderful transient sites mentioned by Foucault in his comments about heterotopias, and their fascinating history:
Description of Norwich Fair 1853
‘The fair – the great annual gathering of wooden houses and wooden horses, tin trumpets and spice nuts, Diss bread and gingerbread, menageries of wild natural history and caravans of tame unnatural collections, giants, dwarfs, albinos, and ‘lusus naturae’ of every conceivable deformity, of things above the earth and under the earth, in the sea and out the sea. Panoramas, dioramas, waxworks with several heads and moving countenances, of Egyptian tents with glass factories in miniature concealed within the mystic folds, under the guidance of the glass-wigged alchemist, the presiding genius …. Whirligigs and rocking boats, the avenues of sail-cloths with their linings of confectionary, toys, basket-work and ornamental stationary; the gong and the drum and the torrents of Cheap Jack eloquence mingling with the music of the Leopard clad minstrels of the zoological departments’.
Madders, S. (1853) Rambles in an Old City, London: Thomas Cautley.
Cited in: Toulmin, V. (2003) Pleasuelands, National Fairground Archive: University of Sheffield.