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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Midget houses become towns... lots of them...

Thank to Michael Child, below is a picture from the Merrie England Amusement Park of Midget Town, which provides the most likely source of yesterday's mystery as to the whereabouts of the Midget houses:


If there was a permanent troupe at Merrie England, then their accommodation would have been built to scale, and even formed part of the entertainment (in the older 'look at these strange folk' style of entertainment before we all knew better, obviously).

This was not unique. Below is a picture of the 1948 Midget Town in Hull in 1948.
Hull midget town

From 1927 to 1930 the Roof Gardens in Blackpool was also Midget Town, which included a sports club, town hall, post office and garage. It was ‘populated’ by a troupe of midgets. I can't find a picture yet, though.

There was another at the Glasgow Exhibition of 1938:
Glasgow midget town

and a several listed in the Rides and Shows list for Coney Island, New York.

Clearly scope for some serious research here, but it'd be nice to find some more pictures of our local experiences - interiors of Merrie England, or what else might have been built in to the cliffsides behind it? Watch this space...

And one more thought: many of the 'midget towns' like the ones photographed above were fairly temporary structures, for exhibitions or even travelling fairs, so perhaps inside Merrie England is the most likely location after all. Who has the pictures of inside Merrie England then?

2 comments:

Michael Child said...

I have put up a few general pictures of the area that although don’t show the midget houses they seemed to be more than averagely interesting and do help eliminate some areas. Note in particular the construction picture of the pier the construction railway around the Marina Pool and the fly tipper see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/history/id10.htm

The L.C.D.R. Sands Railway Station closed in 1926 became Pleasureland then Merrie England then Pleasurama was then subject to an act of God en soon to be the Titanic without lifeboats see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/tdc/ for those of you unfamiliar with the development of the area.

The Marina theatre opened in 1877 as The Granville Marina Music Hall I always think of it as Nero’s when I tried to stop the Council from demolishing it they told me it was a fire hazard, I suppose most Victorian theatres are.

ZumiWeb said...

And this just found on the Joyland Books Forum, the mecca for all circus, fairground and Dreamland research! A posting on the Royal Coronation Midgets who visited Dreamland in 1937 or thereabouts. Not relevant to Merrie England's lot, but I'm all interested now...