When we first sat down to discuss ideas for our website we quickly realised what an important section this was going to be.

As most companies seem to give a brief overview of their business in an almost disconnected and formal way. We felt that it was going to be virtually impossible for us to do the same considering the unique nature and traditions involved in our business.

Our family have proudly passed down the knowledge and experience of the fairground industry for six generations.

We have many unique stories of relatives operating amusements over many different era’s, like my Great Grandfather, the late George Bates.

He had a “Pony driven” Carousel with no motors or power required. Just a horse that pulled the Carousel around as it trotted along on the inside of the ride.

My Grandfather, (in the centre of the picture below) the late Walter Bates was one of the first Showmen in the country to introduce “Free Days” at the fair. This was a day when he invited under privileged and disabled children to the fair for free rides and Candy Floss. At The Emily Forty School (for children with special needs) they named a room “The Walter Bates Room” in his honour.

My Dad (Billy, on the right of this picture) recalls his first memorable job, selling wooden balls for a Coconut Shy at the tender age of 6.  “It was 7 balls for a shilling!” (5p today) This was to be the first of many jobs that he would lend his hand to over the years. My Dad also continued to support good causes around the City of Leicester, helping to raise money for countless Lord Mayors Appeals and also becoming a governor of The Emily Forty School .


My starting point in the business was very similar to my Dad’s, I was just 11 years old when I started selling balloons at the fair. It wasn’t quite as young as my Dad when he started but it was still a big responsibility for a kid. Looking back now I realise that this was the perfect way for me to learn how to deal with customers and to learn the ropes in business.

As a family we are all very proud to be a Leicester born business and my brother (James) and I often try to explain to people how we feel like we grew up in every part of Leicester. We had friends in every estate and we would look forward to seeing them each year when the fair moved back into their area. We still support lots of local causes to follow on the family tradition that Grandad started and my Dad firmly cemented! We also feel like we have a lot of support from the people of Leicester because they know us and we have been a part of their community for such a long time.

All of the history involved in our line of work has helped to mould and shape the way in which we run our business today.

While today’s business has evolved greatly since the days of steam engines and pony driven rides. We feel that the core structure that makes our company successful will stay the same. Because there is no substitute for experience.

For me and the rest of my family it’s sometimes hard for us to articulate our business because of our industry history as well as our families legacy.


I hope that this small glimpse into our family past will help you to understand the responsibilities that we feel we have today. Not just from a Health & Safety perspective but also because of the hard work and skills of our predecessors.

Thank You for reading, Kennedy Bates.

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