Carter’s Steam Fair arrived on Tooting Bec Common. As soon as the vans and lorries turned up it was different – no jumble of mismatched caravans, lorries and cars, all of these were in the Carters’ livery colour; ox-blood brown. These vehicles were as shiny and nostalgic as a pair of 1940’s brogues.
Of course I made it my business to walk the dogs twice a day, every day through the showground, I watched the fair being set up, the fair ready for a days’ fun and then sadly, packing up. Looking at the rides a mixture of memories and feelings of excitement flooded back from my own childhood, memories of taking my son to Carter’s in Brockwell Park and a nostalgia for a bygone age… but what gripped me was how pristine and inspiring all of the painted decorations and signs were.
I felt inspired by the use of bold colours and strong lines. Dynamic lettering and faux shadow and ornament that was clean and bright. Carter’s were only with us a few days and early on the Sunday morning I walked around with my husband. We spent time looking at the fair before the crowds arrived, the imposing steam engines, the vintage rides and stalls -some with paintings depicting British history and events, some with cheeky and fun signage but all with beautiful paintwork and lettering. We got talking to Joby Carter and learnt that he and his team spend the winter maintaining all of the rides and stalls and that he is the artist, the signwriter for the fair.
Well it’s never too late to learn something new and I’m tempted to sign up for Joby Carter’s signwriting course. I found information on the J Carter website about the 5 day course on You Tube and it’s clear from this that anyone can try this at any age and at the end of the week go home with not only your own sign but energised by Carter’s Steam Fair.