Vintage fairground trucks and photos, courtesy of Hatwells

When I met with John Brixton, who owns this impressive Foden S106, he gave me a guided tour of his father-in-law’s sheds at the family home in Oxfordshire. And these weren’t any old sheds.

John’s father-in-law is Jimmy Hatwell – who comes from a long line of showmen. In fact his family have been working the fairgrounds since the 1800s – and his sheds are just bulging with family history. ‘When my family started it was horses,’ he said, ‘then steam, petrol and now diesel’.

Jimmy is a Foden man through and through – although tells me in his opinion Britain has never made a bad truck. Having said that, he’s not a big ERF fan – describing them as ‘a poor man’s Foden’.

This beautiful old 1948 Foden was sitting in a barn. It’s in pretty good shape too.

And check out the Gardner generator sitting on the back. Jimmy, like most people who’ve been working in fairgrounds all their lives, swears by the Gardner. ‘Best engine in the world’ he says.

As you can see, it was built especially for the Hatwell family.

John let me have a look at some of the family’s incredible photo albums – and I allowed me to take some pictures of some of the images. Here’s the Foden working for a living.

Click below for a lot more pictures…

And here it is again.

I discovered this beautiful 1943 AEC Matador sitting in a barn. It was purchased from the MOD shortly after the war and still runs today. In fact just last year Jimmy used it to haul some timber out of a neighbouring field. Back in its day the truck was used by Jimmy’s father (and then Jimmy) to haul its famous Galloping Horses.

Here it is on the road in the mid 1970s:

The horses on tour:

And these are the Galloping Horses – which incidentally were featured in a Mickey Rourke film. Any idea which one?

There is another shot of them here.

How’s this for an impressive line-up? The Foden on the far right was only sold recently.

This Cummins-powered ex-Whitbread ERF is having a rest.

Jimmy’s son Matthew runs this Foden Fleetmaster.

And this ex-Murco Foden 4300 is used to pull the 1950s kid’s ride pictured below.

And here are some general shots from the workshop/shed – which is a real Aladdin’s Cave.

Note the canary cages hanging from the ceiling. The birds used to be given away as prizes – prior to animal rights people putting a stop to it.

Just some of the trucks the family have owned.