Fonds MS-4-218 - The Bill Lynch Shows fonds

Poster for the Bill Lynch Shows Ltd.

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The Bill Lynch Shows fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • [after 1924], 1941 - 1985 (Creation)
    Lynch, William (Bill)

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Physical description

30 cm of textual records (2 boxes)
69 photographs
28 tickets
6 receipt books
15 technical drawings : blueprints

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Biographical history

William P. Lynch (Bill) operated the only carnival to be operated exclusively out of Atlantic Canada. Bill Lynch was born on 25 August 1900 and moved to McNabs Island in 1905 with his parents, Matthew and Josephine (Palmer) Lynch. After the 1917 Halifax Explosion damaged the island and destroyed existing carnival businesses, Lynch decided to revive the shows, purchasing his first merry-go-round in 1920. He managed the ride alone until 1924, when he partnered with Ray Rogers and began to travel around Nova Scotia, establishing the Bill Lynch Shows in 1925. The partnership did not last, but, by 1928, he had acquired a few concessions and a Ferris wheel. In 1929, Lynch won the bid for the Halifax Exhibition and was asked to return in 1930.

By 1940 the Bill Lynch Shows were Canada’s biggest carnival, including acts such as the Three Maldos, the Rooneys, and Flash McHugh. Lynch was passionate about working with children with disabilities, arranging free visits to the empty carnival and donating to children’s charities. He died on 23 October 1972, after 52 years in the carnival business. Clarence “Soggy” Reid operated the business until his own death in 1995, when John Drummey took over. In 2003 the Bill Lynch Shows were split into Maritime Amusements and Carnival Time.

Custodial history

Records were donated to the Dalhousie University Archives by Barry Edwards in accessions (1987-002) and (1987-008) in 1987.

Scope and content

Fonds contains business papers, photographs and carnival documents from the Bill Lynch Shows. The business papers consist of financial records, including daily reports, receipts and invoices, correspondence, catalogues, ephemera and commercial scripts. Photographs include prints, cardboard imprints and a metal plate. The carnival documents include complimentary show passes, act and ride information, and blueprints of carnival rides.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Photographs of the Bill Lynch Shows are also found in MS-4-250, Box 87, Folder 10 (Wamboldt-Waterfield Photographic Collection).


Further accruals are not expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], The Bill Lynch Shows fonds, MS-4-218, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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