Very much a part of modern tradition of the St Lawrence Fair, the Harris Bros Fun Fair is a traditional and fun way to entertain your family, and perhaps yourselves too. With rides from past and present there really is something for everyone at this vibrant fun fair.
A brief history of the Harris Bros Fun Fair…
John Harris was born in 1833, married in 1855, had five sons. He was a timber merchant who had a yard at Cuckfield in West Sussex.
John came into the fairground business in the 1860s at the time of horse-powered roundabouts and went on, with his sons, to be the first operator of steam-driven roundabouts in Sussex first opening on Brighton Racecourse, with a steam roundabout. John Harris died in 1901 and his son Frederick left the other brothers, Chris, Moses, John and Edward to run the first set of gallopers, he moved to Ashington to start the present business from The Orchard on 21st January 1902.
Fredrick Harris purchased the remains of a Walker set of Gallopers from the Midlands Company of Showmen, called Simons and Greatorex, and duly had this ride delivered by rail to West Grinstead Station just before the First World War. He rebuilt it to its present form and it is now known as “The Southdown Gallopers” because it was said, “it was always opened in view of the South Downs”.
Over the last hundred years, the family has seen five working generations of Sussex showmen plying their trade every summer, and also keeping the traditional wood and timber felling business going in the winter. Two World Wars and one foot and mouth outbreak have been the only reasons we have had to stop operations to date.
Our fifth generation is already actively involved with the fair and we have a sixth generation in line, the oldest of whom is already out with the fair. At present, the fair is run by the five Harris brothers, Fred, John, Ted, Doug and Robert together with their wives, families and friends without whom the fair could not operate.
In our 100 years operating from Ashington, we have been through many changes but, for us as a family business with our roundabouts and swings, some things have never changed.
The fair was originally pulled by horses and then by steam, mainly Burrels plus Fowlers and Garretts, and a Foden right up until 1946. We then purchased our present-day transport of AC Matadors, FWD Sucoes and Scammells to enable us to continue a very English tradition.