Title ID 8884Collection ID861
TitleDevil's Dyke Fun Fair
ThemeEarly film in the South East
KeywordsFairgrounds Children Workers Play Leisure Time Activities Recreational Facilities
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionJames Williamson
CameraJames Williamson
Format16mm Black & White Silent
Duration1 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Early film footage of fun fair workers and revelers at Devil's Dyke on the South Downs, taken by pioneer James Williamson in around 1896.


At a fair at Devil's Dyke, boys scrap beside wooden swing boats. Others, wearing dark suits, watch chains and caps, stretch up to push one of the swing boats. The boys are aware of the camera, which films them from a fixed position. A couple swing sticks in the air, playing up to the camera while the boys work. At the merry-go-round, two women stand in the foreground. They wear shirts with full pleated sleeves and boaters. Other visitors to the fair pass by the camera, including a man with a pipe and a woman with a wide cloak. Young visitors ride on a track, the South Downs in view behind. They cycle, turning a wheel in front of them. An open-top carriage rides away from the camera and back again along a switchback railway, driven by a worker who jumps on and off.