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No.1 Galloper / Carousel was built in 1890 by Frederic Savage for William Toft of Dublin
This ride was used in Southern Ireland until approx 1945 it was then stored in their yard in Dublin until 1989 when the remains were sold to MR K Emmett and Sons.
During September 1989 a family friend, Cliff Dorman, took me to see the ride. After a couple of visits we decided to purchase it from the Emmett’s.
Then work really started.
We asked what vehicles would be required to bring the ride home. Friends rallied round and a low-loader was borrowed from the Bamford Bros. Charlie Gooch came with his car transporter. On the second weekend in November the ride came home to our base with people saying ‘whatever has he bought that load of ‘*******’ rubbish for’.
We had no horses, no main swifts, only eight cranks, all the quartering, no tie rods, and all the rounding boards. The centre pole and gears were in good condition but the main centre trailer was completely rotten. Only two horse rods had any brass left all the rest had been robbed. We had a set of platforms and steps but most of the wood was rotten. During November and December I started to purchase wood for new swifts, steel for tie rods, and ordered a set of horses.
To save money we decided to make two chariots. We purchased two trailer chassis with axles for the new centre trailer we were going to have to build. A Foden lorry was found and purchased from a local dealer. New brass was ordered for horse and platform rods.
A visit to the salvage section of the Kings Lynn museum proved very interesting. After a look at their microfilm I managed to locate the details of our ride. We purchased a complete set of drawings, including a copy of the original showing the age and all of the top frame sizes. The same drawings had apparently also been used for the construction of six other rides.
During January we worked on the centre trailer. We made a new set of swifts, and repaired the damaged rounding boards. A local fibreglass firm from Nottingham was busy making a mould of the best bottom dropper, as there were only six and they were all rotten. The new brass had arrived and we decided to make new horse rods using the top forks off of the originals.
In February we managed to locate an organ in Holland and a friend took me out there to see it. The organ was a 52 key Koningberg, in a part-finished state, and we could only just afford to buy it, (we still have this organ on our cake walk ride).
Albert Barker, a showmen friend and artist, took on the mammoth task of decorating the rounding boards, top centres, bottom centreboards, swoops, and steps. It’s good to have friends!
The horses and cockerels were coming on well. The youngest member of the Dorman family Jamie, 16 years old, was making a fantastic job of painting them whilst the rest of the family made them.
March came. Our first booking was for Easter Bank Holiday. ‘Will your ride be ready?’ A few phone calls later and we confirmed the booking. By now all my family, my wife’s mother and father, all my children, Rachael, Kelly, Brandon, and their friends, Vicky, Leanne, brother-in-law Michael were all working on it, and the only payment anybody got was their name on a horse. We made the booking and managed to pull into one of our own places first, Ollerton. A proud moment for my family and me and the first booking of many. A good friend, Neil Hughes, helped us manage the ride during the first year and has been a part of our family and business ever since. Neil manages the family’s Cakewalk ride now.
It was 100 years since its original début and the ride is on the road again.
During the season of 1990 we travelled the ride reasonably close to home - Ollerton, Luton, Coventry, Market Harborough, Hinckley, Oxford, Victoria embankment Nottingham, (good news answer back goose fair yes!) Markeaton Park Derby, slipped out mid week to do a fashion show at Northampton, then came our first film part in sunny south Wales, followed by Lewisham, Chesterfield Smile Week, Telford, Nottingham City Show, Matlock Bath, Nottingham Goose Fair, Ilkeston, Nottingham Bonfire, Kingston on Hull City centre Christmas light switch on, Nottingham Christmas. Not bad for our first season! During the early part of 1991 we carried on renovating. More bookings started to come in and our season started in Grantham Market at the ‘end’ position, (and we are still on the same spot now), then Easter on Hampstead Heath, back down to Telford for the May Day event, Bestwood South Glade Park (one of our own fairs), followed by Coventry Pot Fair on the Whitsun Bank Holiday.
It was while we were there that we were approached for first our Royal Appointment, the Duke of Edinburgh’s 70th birthday party, under the banner of Bob Wilson amusements (Willy Wilson to friends) at Windsor Castle. Time to get the paintbrush out again, even though we had never really put it away. It was two days to remember. We were introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Edward and we were told that on the afternoon before we opened the Queen and Princess Margaret had walked around the ride with the corgis.
During that year we attended quite a few parties and private events and seemed to never to be closed.
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