The Scarborough Fair Collection is a stunning selection of vintage cars, steam engines, fairground rides and mechanical organs set in the beautiful grounds of the Flower of May Holiday Park on the coast road between Scarborough and Filey.
The museum is the creation of farmer turned entrepreneur Graham Atkinson, who owns the holiday park. He wanted to indulge his passion for fairgrounds and provide some entertainment for guests. He started his collection in the late 1980s, opening it up occasionally to guests until the collection was formally opened in its own right in 2008. It is one of the largest collections of its type in Europe.
As well as vintage cars, miniature vehicles and model railways, the collection has three key highlights:
Steam engines – four showman’s engines, including The Iron Maiden, a Foden steam wagon and a Barrows and Co portable engine.
Fairground rides – including a gallopers ride from 1893 and a caterpillar ride from 1928.
Mechanical organs – including a 97-key Oktoberfest Gavioli Concert organ and a 101-key Hooghuys Condor organ. Two theatre organs are used during open days and tea dances. Both are Mighty Wurlitzers.
There really is something for everyone at the Scarborough Fair Collection. Older generations can reminisce about their more youthful days, and the kids can experience the simple pleasures of classic rides that never go out of fashion.
For those with an interest in mechanics and engineering the collection of working steam Showman’s engines by Burrell, Fowler, Garrett and McLaren is not to be missed. And anyone interested in the history of motoring will be amazed at the early cars on display.
Tea Dances are held at the collection each Wednesday afternoon, giving everyone the chance to dance the hours away to the melodic tones of the Wurlitzer organ in the capable hands of resident organist Michael Carr and guest organists.
As a child, Michael longed to be able to play like Reginald Dixon and at the age of 15 he saved up to pay for lessons at the local organ shop. Over the years he has been involved with local productions and played on the local club scene.
Guests organists include Paul McCann and Howard Beaumont.
Paul stared to learn piano at the age of nine and became interested in the organ on frequent trips to Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom. Also a Reginald Dixon fan, he bought an electronic organ and plays on a regular basis for dances and concerts.
Howard is a well-known concert artiste and plays an electronic organ as well as the cinema pipe organ. He tours the country to play at a variety of halls.