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The Master

20 August 2021
Fred Fowle 'The Master'

A while back we published an article on the late, great, Fred Fowle, one of the famous names of yesteryear in funfair artwork.

This was intended to be part of our series on famous funfair artists. Not knowing Fred personally, we used that great resource Google to research the article.

A while after we published the post we were contacting by the great mans son Peter, who told us that much of the article was inaccurate, and drew on information in the public domain that he said was likewise incorrect.

Not wishing to perpetuate an article containing inaccuracies, we asked Peter if he could pen a short precis of his fathers life.

The article below is supplied by Peter to correct some of the misinformation around his Fathers career.

Fred Fowle

My father Fred Fowle was better known in the Fairground world as ‘The Master’.

At the age of thirteen he had a Saturday job painting Japanese scroll work onto grand pianos in a small workshop in Southwest London. This became a full time job for a short time after leaving school.

When the opportunity to work for Lakin Bros. arose, painting fairground rides, it was time to move on and follow his dream. After a period of time this gave Fred the opportunity to express himself with his creative skills and flamboyant colourful artwork.

World War 2

When the Second World War started, Fred was called up and joined the army. This included taking part in the Normandy invasion as a Medical officer.

After the war had ended, Fred’s life completely changed with the setting up of Hall and Fowle fairground artists. Unfortunately, over a period of time there was a difference of work practices and the couple decided to go their separate ways.

This was the time for Fred to set up by himself to carry out the work he enjoyed by forming his own business F.G.Fowle Ltd.

The Sixties

The sixties were an exciting time for the Fairgrounds, with bigger and faster rides taking centre stage. This suited Fred who adapted his style to the emerging modern day funfair of the time and for many years afterwards.

Every fairground ride or stall designed by Fred used patterns that were then stencilled onto the rounding boards. All the work was carried out using only Keep’s paint, many colours were mixed to Fred’s own requirements.

Since my father’s death in 1983, just a few weeks before retiring, the new artwork on fairground rides etc has not been the same since, although many have tried.

For those who maybe reading this article, you can see Hall and Fowl’s first ghost train machine at Dingles Fairground Exhibition in Devon plus various artwork completed by my father.

Peter Fowle August 2022

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