Gal­lop­ers were a gift for Flora

Let's Talk - - POSTBAG - CHARLES THIRTLE Sher­ing­ham Nor­folk

Whilst re­search­ing the steam lo­co­mo­tive Oliver Cromwell and her time at Bress­ing­ham Steam Mu­seum, cou­pled with a mem­o­rable fam­ily visit in Au­gust 1969, an­other fas­ci­nat­ing story emerged about their mag­nif­i­cent set of Vic­to­rian Gal­lop­ers.

I learned that steam mu­seum cre­ator, the late Alan Bloom, ac­quired the set to ful­fil a long­stand­ing wish of his spouse Flora.

His cur­sory glance of Worlds Fair mag­a­zine in 1967 re­vealed a set for sale, in of all places, Fifeshire in Scot­land, 435 miles dis­tant.

The long trip was made, whereby the fair­ground own­ers had de­cided to sell, be­liev­ing a more mod­ern day ride with canned mu­sic would pay them bet­ter.

So with a deal done, they were de­liv­ered back to Bress­ing­ham.

To ev­ery­one’s sur­prise, his­toric re­search re­vealed the Gal­lop­ers were made lo­cally by Fred­er­ick Sav­age of King’s Lynn in 1897, a com­pany of world­wide re­pute for its fair­ground ma­chin­ery and a mere 45 miles from Bress­ing­ham.

Orig­i­nally owned by Nor­folk’s Thurston fam­ily un­til 1934, the Gal­lop­ers found their way to Scot­land via the famed Whit­ley Bay ( Tyne and Wear) Fun­fair, dubbed ‘The Span­ish City’ in ‘Dire Straits’ hit clas­sic, Tun­nel of Love.

Back in their home county, sev­eral months of in­tri­cate restora­tion work fol­lowed to re­turn the Gal­lop­ers to their orig­i­nal glory.

By the sum­mer of 1968 they were again up and run­ning. The Tid­man cen­tre en­gine, al­ready at Bress­ing­ham, was their driv­ing force and mu­sic was pro­vided by the Ger­man-built Bruder or­gan.

As a tes­ti­mo­nial to their lo­cal mak­ers, the leg­end proudly dis­played on the run­ning board read: “The Bress­ing­ham Steam Round­abouts, Built by Nor­folk Crafts­men when Vic­to­ria was Queen.”

Writ­ing this piece 50 years on since the Gal­lop­ers came home to Nor­folk, is done with ad­mi­ra­tion, re­flect­ing how this mag­nif­i­cent ride has given so much plea­sure to thou­sands of vis­it­ing fam­i­lies over the years. Long may it con­tinue.

The Vic­to­rian Gal­lop­ers at Bress­ing­ham.

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