UK and European showmen still fighting side-by-side, 40 years on

Showmen The Worlds Fair issue
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Forty years on from a historic meeting between members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain and the European Showmen’s Union (ESU), a letter of support has been sent from the European campaign group to their UK equivalents – pledging cross-Channel solidarity through the Covid-19 pandemic.


Guild spokesman Desmond FitzGerald posted the letter to social media last weekend, which marked 40 years since the World’s Fair newspaper (which then incorporated Coinslot) reported on how the two societies had just sent a joint delegation to the European Parliament in Brussels.

FitzGerald pointed to specific passages in the ESU’s latest communique to the guild as illustrative of how Covid-19 concerns for Showmen in the UK were very much at the forefront of the minds of their equivalents on the continent.

“The current showman crisis is a European problem and closely linked to the cultural future and development of Europe,” they wrote. “Fairgrounds have been held for over 1,200 years [and] should they no longer be able to take place, this would have massive negative consequences for the entire cultural sector.”

“It’s ironic that things work out like this,” remarked FitzGerald as to the similarities in challenges faced by the Guild as ESU alike. “The showmen’s economy and culture is under serious threat, here in the UK as much as anywhere across Europe. The campaigning must go on.”

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