Fairground book in print after 40 years

Ilkeston Erewash museum launch of new book called Proctors fair through two world wars. Nicola Wood collections manager, Neil Calladine and John Proctor.
Ilkeston Erewash museum launch of new book called Proctors fair through two world wars. Nicola Wood collections manager, Neil Calladine and John Proctor.

More than 40 years after it was written, a book by an Ilkeston showman has gone on sale this month.

Albert Proctor wrote Proctor’s Fairs Through Two World Wars in the 1970s, but the unprinted manuscript had lain in a cupboard ever since.

His son John and fairground historian Neil Calladine put their heads together to edit the text and now, four decades on, it has gone on sale at Erewash Museum.

“It is a book full of humour and tragedy as Albert unfolds the family’s story before, and during, the war years,” said Neil, who has had a number of books about fairgrounds through the ages published.

Albert’s father was also a showman, called John Albert Proctor, who was born in 1916 and lived at Dragon House in Stanton Road until 1928.

Johnnie was one of the town’s best known characters and served as an Ilkeston Councillor from about 1923 until 1928 when the family left town.

The early part of the book tells the story of the family’s life in Ilkeston at that time and their strong association with the Charter Fair.

Neil added: “Some of your older readers may well remember ‘Johnnie Proctor’ as he was known locally. Indeed if anyone has any stories about him they can recall I would be most interested to hear them.”