Audio slideshow: Step Right Up

The sideshow was once a highly popular form of fairground entertainment. Dancing girls, snake charmers and the "world's largest rat" were all part of the fun. But as mechanised rides became widespread in the 1960s, the shows faded away.

Here, Jon Marshall of Sideshow Illusions and Prof Vanessa Toulmin, Director of the National Fairground Archive at The University of Sheffield reminisce about the sideshow's heyday. They were speaking at the Wellcome Collection, run by Britain's medical charity the Wellcome Trust, which has been exploring the science behind some of these illusions of yesteryear.

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Pictures copyright of the National Fairground Archive at The University of Sheffield and Sideshow Illusions.
Slideshow by Vanessa Buschschluter. Publication date 14 March 2009

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