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TITLE
Memories of a showman - favourite rides
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_WILLHAY_04
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Will Hay
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2284
KEYWORDS
showmen
carnivals
circuses
funfairs
puppets
puppet shows
fairgrounds
audio

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Will Hay was a northern showman and Punch and Judy puppeteer. He came from a family of travelling entertainers; his great grandfather, John Morrison, had joined Pindar's Circus when it was on tour in Sutherland while his grandfather, William Duncan Morrison, and uncle, Duncan Morrison, put on Punch and Judy shows in and around Inverness. The Morrisons were also well-known for their bone-setting skills.

In this audio extract, Will talks to Graeme Farnell about some of the funfair rides he used to operate.

Aye, that was the Galloping Horses. Now, the next place ye might go to, maybe they didn't take so well. So ye put on chair-o-planes an they did all right.

Interviewer: On the same ride?

On the same ride, that's right, aye, only ye just changed the hooks, ye know, on the platforms or something, or maybe ye didn't put platforms on some of them. An the next place you'd go to - Now, what we call here the speedway - at the present day, the modern day, is the motor bikes going round and round, ye know?

Interviewer: Yea.

Well, all them humps, we call them hills. Now, ye're maybe going on a four-hill machine; ye're maybe going on a three-hill machine. When people talk about hills, what they mean is ups an downs, ye see? That's what we call hills. Same as ye'd get a two-hill machine, round, maybe get a four-hill machine. Well, ye got the speedway, ye see? Now, it goes round an round over the hills, o course - motorbikes, cars an sort o thing - now, the next place ye go to - it's the same machine an yet it doesn't take so well. So ye don't put on the speedway. Ye put on waltzer cars, on the same machine, an they're going over the same hills, but they take to it because that's the kinda thing they like in that certain place.

Interviewer: So you carried round the two different things?

That's right, aye.

Interviewer: But the same, the same machine?

The same machine. That was all. It just meant carrying round say animals or cars but it didnae matter because there werena that much space. Everything was compact, ye know? Now ye could have the waltzers, ye could have the speedway, or ye could have the Noah's Ark, all on the one machine. Noah's Ark was animals, ye see? Or ye might go to a place where people liked the animals or there was a lot o kids, so they went for the Noah's Ark. The next place ye went to, ye might get older people wanting to bash theresels up, so you stuck on the Waltzers. An then ye might go to another place, ye get a crowd o young people, oh, motorbike daft, things like that, so ye stuck on the speedway, an they'd just go mad. Speedway takes a bit, even yet. Aye, oh they go mad for the speedway. An then, of course, as Ah say, the chairs an the gallopers is on the one an all. A lot of them's convertible, ye know?

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Memories of a showman - favourite rides

1980s; 1990s

showmen; carnivals; circuses; funfairs; puppets; puppet shows; fairgrounds; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Will Hay, Memories of a Showman

Will Hay was a northern showman and Punch and Judy puppeteer. He came from a family of travelling entertainers; his great grandfather, John Morrison, had joined Pindar's Circus when it was on tour in Sutherland while his grandfather, William Duncan Morrison, and uncle, Duncan Morrison, put on Punch and Judy shows in and around Inverness. The Morrisons were also well-known for their bone-setting skills. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract, Will talks to Graeme Farnell about some of the funfair rides he used to operate.<br /> <br /> Aye, that was the Galloping Horses. Now, the next place ye might go to, maybe they didn't take so well. So ye put on chair-o-planes an they did all right.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: On the same ride?<br /> <br /> On the same ride, that's right, aye, only ye just changed the hooks, ye know, on the platforms or something, or maybe ye didn't put platforms on some of them. An the next place you'd go to - Now, what we call here the speedway - at the present day, the modern day, is the motor bikes going round and round, ye know? <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yea.<br /> <br /> Well, all them humps, we call them hills. Now, ye're maybe going on a four-hill machine; ye're maybe going on a three-hill machine. When people talk about hills, what they mean is ups an downs, ye see? That's what we call hills. Same as ye'd get a two-hill machine, round, maybe get a four-hill machine. Well, ye got the speedway, ye see? Now, it goes round an round over the hills, o course - motorbikes, cars an sort o thing - now, the next place ye go to - it's the same machine an yet it doesn't take so well. So ye don't put on the speedway. Ye put on waltzer cars, on the same machine, an they're going over the same hills, but they take to it because that's the kinda thing they like in that certain place. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: So you carried round the two different things?<br /> <br /> That's right, aye.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: But the same, the same machine?<br /> <br /> The same machine. That was all. It just meant carrying round say animals or cars but it didnae matter because there werena that much space. Everything was compact, ye know? Now ye could have the waltzers, ye could have the speedway, or ye could have the Noah's Ark, all on the one machine. Noah's Ark was animals, ye see? Or ye might go to a place where people liked the animals or there was a lot o kids, so they went for the Noah's Ark. The next place ye went to, ye might get older people wanting to bash theresels up, so you stuck on the Waltzers. An then ye might go to another place, ye get a crowd o young people, oh, motorbike daft, things like that, so ye stuck on the speedway, an they'd just go mad. Speedway takes a bit, even yet. Aye, oh they go mad for the speedway. An then, of course, as Ah say, the chairs an the gallopers is on the one an all. A lot of them's convertible, ye know?