AS the 150-year-old Wanstead Fair returns to Wanstead Flats, light has been shed on a recently unearthed cache of photographs showing part of its history.

Last week antiques collector Bruce Mehlmann-Wicks asked the Guardian for help putting names to faces in some of the pictures he found in a Hertfordshire flea market.

They were accompanied by a note labelling then Wanstead Fair, and appeared to have been taken some time in the late 1950s or 1960s.

But when they were shown to fairground manager Charles Mayne, 70, he was instantly able to fill in the background.

Mr Mayne, who has been working with the fair since he was 17 said: "These definitely come from the early 1960s.

"The woman under the lightbulb – that’s Jane Keeble.

"She was a real character, although she died some years ago now.

"She was a lovely lady, always joking and smiling – a proper comedienne – but at the same time a very shrewd businesswoman.

Mr Mayne also identified a picture of a man in a ticket booth as Willie Gray.

"He was a nice fella, who only passed away last summer," he said.

"He must have been well into his 80s, but he was still involved with the fairground business as far as I know.

"As for this young man standing by the ghost train, that’s John Brett. He’s a little bit younger than me .

"I believe he’s still alive but I have not seen him for a long time.

"The caravans are more comfortable now, people have TVs, microwaves all the mod cons.

"But that also means a lot of people close their doors at the end of the day.

"Back then, we all used to stand around outside in the evening having a natter, a laugh, a joke. Perhaps the men would go into Wanstead for a pint. It was different "But I still love the life.

" If you’re a farmer you enjoy looking after your animals – I’m a showman and this is what I do. It’s in my blood.

"These pictures remind me of good times."

•The fair returns on Thursday (April 5).