Gaudy and ablaze with light are London's fun - fairs . Mostly they are frequented by teenagers. The tattooist waits in his tattoo parlour for customers. December 1951. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

By Mark McConville

STUNNING RETRO pictures have revealed the bright lights of London’s fun fairs where the British public amused themselves during the 1950s.

Gaudy and ablaze with light are London’s fun – fairs . Mostly they are frequented by teenagers. Some young, off-duty soldiers playing the slot machines in the amusement arcade. December1951. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

The incredible images show some young off-duty soldiers playing slot machines in an amusement arcade, a young man enjoying a saucy peep show in a coin-operated machine and another having his palm read by a machine.

Other striking shots show a family playing a high-prize pinball machine, a tattooist waiting in his parlour for customers and a man counting through the day’s takings with a bucket full of coins from slot machines.

Gaudy and ablaze with light are London’s fun – fairs . Mostly they are frequented by teenagers. A successful man. Presumed to be the owner / manager. December 1951. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

The remarkable photographs were taken in some of London’s amusement arcades in December 1951.

The amusements, also known as penny arcades, were a type of venue for coin-operated devices which usually provided entertainment.

Gaudy and ablaze with light are London’s fun – fairs . Mostly they are frequented by men and teenagers. A young man enjoys the saucy peep show in the coin operated machine. December 1951. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

Common machines included pinball machines, slot machines, fortune-telling machinery, peep-show machines and love tester machines.

The bright lights of the amusements were most often frequented by men and teenagers although families could enjoy a night out together.

The arcades were the forerunners for the video game arcades that came later in the 1970s and 1980s that included such classics as Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

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