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Fairy Tales: 100 Cottingley Fairies

The Greatest Photographic Hoax

cottingley fairies visit Bradford

This year sees the 100th anniversary of the first ever photograph of the world famous Cottingley Fairies.  The Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins in 1917 at Cottingley Beck.  The images of cut-out fairies stuck on to trees with hatpins, fooled the world including Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

One hundred years may have passed, but the story has taken on a life of its own, attracting global attention through both books and film. Whilst the girls eventually admitted that most of their photographs were artistic fakes, both remained adamant that they had seen the fairies, and Frances continued to claim that the final photograph was in fact real.

The story of the Cottingley Fairies is not the first to be told of these small folk and their doings here in Yorkshire. Tales have been whispered across Airedale and Wharfedale for centuries! Visit the new exhibition Fairy Folklore at Cliffe Castle Museum delve into the mysterious world of the fairy folk, but be warned, they’re not all butterfly wings and smiles!

Join the Bradford Literature Festival bringing together the British tradition of fairies with fairy tales from cultures around the world, and set against the backdrop of this magical story, academic Merrick Burrow, photographer John Hyatt and author Vivian French will examine why it is that children everywhere, no matter how or where they grow up, continue to be fascinated by fairies. They may even try to answer the all-important question; did the Cottingley Fairies really exist?

Top Tip, Visit the National Science + Media Museum, Kodak gallery to see the five fairy photographs and the two original cameras on display.

Cottingley Fairy Fest  July 29, between 12.30pm and 4.30pm,  Celebrate 100 years of the Cottingley Fairies at Cottingley Recreational Ground.  Dress up and join in the fun at this family friendly fairy/fantasy gala with stalls and activities for the young (and young at heart).

Holden Park in Oakworth, will have the magic touch on Saturday 12th August from 12pm with the return of the Fairy Fest.  An enchanting event, with fairies, sprites and goblins. Inspired by the park’s maze of grottoes and caves, join fairy enthusiast, along with the Friends of Holden Park for a fun day out!

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