An Oral History of a Fairground Dynasty

By Frank Bruce

Format: Paperback

This is the story of the Codona family - a fairground dynasty that has lasted in Scotland for over 200 years.

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National Museums of Scotland Enterprises - Publishing

NMS publishes a wide variety of books relating to history, culture, natural science etc and museum exhibitions.

Product Description


Travelling showfolk have been entertaining Scots for centuries and a visit to 'the shows' was a highlight of the year until recent memory. The Codonas are one of the longest and most established show families, having arrived from the continent in the late eighteenth century. The book is based almost entirely on original research and draws on interviews with three generations to give a vivid and richly anecdotal account of this ever-changing world. Illustrations, mostly previously unpublished, enhance the text. The interviews have been kept intact as much as possible, to keep the flow of overlapping individual life stories but are organised chronologically from the 1890s, when it enters living memory, up to the present. The hundred years from 1790 are described in a lively introduction including many first-hand accounts and following the family fortunes in the United Kingdom, the United States where members reached the top of the circus profession and as far afield as Hawaii.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint National Museums of Scotland Enterprises - Publishing
Publication Date 8 Apr 2010
ISBN 9781905267453
Number of Pages 288

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Press Reviews

' ... a fascinating book ... a very worthy addition to the library of fairground books.' Fairground Mercury ' ... a rare insider's view of fairground life in Scotland.' Romany Routes ' ... oral testimonies that recall their remarkable family story across the last two centuries ... The book is structured around the interviews, which have been kept largely intact, but still manages to progress the family story in chronological order ... All the fun of the fair and more.' Discover My Past Scotland ' ... Bruce's volume illustrates the world of the showfolk, and shows that this was a business that required constant innovation and a careful juggling, within a closely knit community, between competition and co-operation.' Ayrshire Notes ' ... this book is a valiant effort to capture and record the lives of those who might be on the periphery of local lives, but played an important part in local leisure activities.' The Local Historian

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