Platform rides resource section: Current News
All the best to our platform rides fans - here's a glimpse of what's to come in 2012 with this image from the recently acquired David Cheverill collection.
Great Dorset Steam Fair, 1984, Paul Angel gets an aerial view of Stokes' Waltzer A206.
another Edwards Swirl
George Furborough bought the much changing Swirl S47 from the Bristol based Edwards family - seen here at Billy Bates' Leicester fair in 1984.
Willie Wilson's Space City Waltzer W126 with new car designs from 1984 - taken by Paul Angel at Kidderminster.
Southend, 1983, with the park at the Kursaal in decline and other amusements scattered around the resort. The ex Crow 'Coronation' Waltzer W26 sits inside the park, a few years away from being burnt out, whilst the much-exchanged Waltzer A16 sits on the periphery.
One of the final Maxwell machines was Waltzer W81 for the Shufflebottom park at Southsea - finished in a fibre-glass design to withstand the seaside climate to ride was seen on a sunny day as part of Paul Angel's 1983 tour of the south coast.
Lots of new images added to the Folkestone 'Rotunda' Waltzer W75 from Paul Angel's 1983 visit.
new decade, new legend
The canopy of the Waltzer provides space for the imaginative legend. Wallis' Waltzer W30 spent the 1970's bearing the words "fastwizzintopspinnineverthrillinfungivinWaltzer", but for 1983 adopted a simpler phrase "The excitement of the Eighties". The ride would soon see a new front and a renaming to 'Electro-Waltzer'.
Meanwhile Abie Danter's Ark A199 tapped into the 80's craze for retro-50's Grease.
1982 and out
Our accessioning of Paul Angel's negatives and photographs has reached the end of 1982. As a fanfare for the year he recorded John Simons' Maxwell Waltzer W33 at the Wrexham Christmas and New Year fair. We hope to commence accessioning Paul's 1983 material in the next month or so, with exciting updates appearing on this page.
Eagerly anticipated, and expected to grow in stature following the addition of artwork by Tate Decor - the debut of Coneley's Thunderdome Waltzer W275 at Symonds Yat. Thanks again to Tim Wilkinson for the photograph.
after Belle Vue
The new Jackson Waltzer W100 built for Belle Vue in 1961 seen in its 1980s home at Billing Aquadrome.
on the road again
After spending a few seasons on the Central Pier at Blackpool Waltzer A74 has taken to the road again with new owner Ralph Bibby. Many thanks to Tim Wilkinson for the photograph.
Tommy Charles produces his first Waltzer for customer John Scarrott as the famous 'Spin-a-disc' theme takes an upgrade with Waltzer W300. Many thanks to Tim Wilkinson for these images.
east coast update
Paul Angel's 1982 trip up the east coast sees photographs taken of Waltzer A170 at Cleethorpes, Waltzer W103 at Mablethorpe, Ark A89 and Waltzer W55 at Skegness, and Waltzer W105 at Hunstanton.
Galaxian heads and iconic Space Invaders imagery forged in fibre-glass - some early images of Stevens' Maxwell Waltzer W71 taken during 1981.
Back on the idyllic Malvern Link for 1982, Paul Angel photographs Chris Morris' Jackson Ark A249 during its last years operating as an Ark.
split / personality
Linsey's Waltzer W112 changed from classic Jackson pattern and colours to classic Maxwell decor in the early 1980s. Paul Angel captures the ride at Swansea midway between the two personalities.
A last stand for the Autodrome, Au5 spotted in 1982 during its very brief outing with the Keeble family.
New for the year in 1981/1982 and tracked down by Paul Angel - one of the last batch of ultra-modern Jackson Waltzers (W119) built for the Barker family. The influence of arcade culture can be seen with the geometric patterns on the shutters.
A fine shot (from the Paul Angel collection) of Jennings' (Wiltshire) Ark A68 taken at Bridgwater, 1981. The ride has been with the family since 1937 - a fantastic run!
Built in the final batch of Jackson machines, and supremely modern with a fibre-glass entrance, the Waltzer W117 at Knightly's park in Towyn soon underwent a total transformation.
Swinging London, Battersea as the the beacon for the city that never sleeps - the classic Orton and Spooner Ark A146 was one of the original, ambitious 5-hill machines. It stood in Battersea from the second year of the opening of the park as a Waltzer, and moved to Brighton's Marine Parade ground with the Heal family.
something to crow about
Seen here in the final few years with the Crow family, the fantastic Orton Ark A159 in full flash.
Classic Lakin splendour on its way out in 1973... Bernard Hayes' ex-Marshall / ex-Holland Rocket Ark A52 shortly before the ride underwent a series of changes, disappearing in the early 1980s.
A rare one from a new source... Perry Hatwell's Ark A45 in 1979, still operating as an Ark during its brief tenure with the Hatwells. It was converted to a Waltzer and sold to the Appletons in 1984, later moving in to non-guild ownership. Always a devil to track down, we are thrilled with this picture.
Back to Morecambe again, and Paul Angel's negatives reveal some close-up work on the Waltzer A88 showing some attractive paintwork admist the fibre-glass cladding and furniture.
Malvern, August 1981, and Sid Squires' Lakin Ark A42 caters for a countryside crowd. The ride was sold into non-guild ownership and has passed through various owners before a major refurbishment by Ted Taylor.
over the wall
From the outside looking in. A view of the Ark and waltzer in Southport, 1981.
Tim Wilkinson is, as usual, keeping us up to date with newly themed platform rides. This appears to be a vinyl work for the Meakin Waltzer W113 resident at Hemsby in Norfolk. The ride had been supplied with typical 'modern' Jacksons decoration.
Thanks to Scott for sending this current image of Chris Smith's Waltzer Au14 doing brisk business in Kent. This ride, a converted Autodrome, has seen much improvement in recent years.
Catching up with a machine that changed hands by the year, Paul found Ark A102 at Worcester in May 1981. The ride was owned by the Appleton family, but stayed with them for less than a year.
Damage to the early part of Paul's 1981 photographs has meant rips and tears. New for that year on his Welsh patch was John Studt's Maxwell Waltzer W80 seen brand new at Clydach and a month later with flash fitted at Neath Spring Fair. The colour scheme of deep maroon was indicative of Maxwell's work at the time, centred on the terrific Hellraiser for Raymond Codona. Studt's Waltzer endured a brief life, having decorative changes in a few short years and then packing up by the 1990s. An attempt to revive it was not forthcoming.
earning its stripes
Blink and you'll miss this one. Lancashire-based Furborough's Ark A47 borrowed the ripple stripe effect as seen on the Waltzer at Morecambe Winter Gardens. The ride was repainted later in the year and burnt out towards the end of the decade.
your name here
The processing of the Paul Angel images moves on to 1981. First up is this rare image of Holden's Ark A38 seen at Whitchurch. As shown, this is the year that the ride was fitted with a re-shaped front and new identity. The ride travelled for many years with the Barker family before ending its time in the late 80s with Holdens.
The final batch of Jackson Waltzers saw a new design eschewing painted decoration for fibre-glass functionality and modern tessellation. Here is the machine for Drayton Manor Park pictured brand new in 1980.
Thanks to Kevin Scrivens for some rare images of Waltzer W75 during its single year travelling with Albert Botton as a spinning top machine. The ride was new in 1979 and moved to the Rotunda Park at Folkestone the following year.
The last batch of Maxwell Waltzers saw some 70s futuristic experiments, including the ride built for Goss on Clacton Pier, Waltzer W73. See Paul Angel's take on the ride in 1980.
in the grotto
Charles Manning's park at Felixstowe was encased with a magical 'grotto' style aesthetic. This gave the rides, and the place, a surreal feeling. See new pictures of Waltzer W25 here.
colours in motion
Plainly designed, magically coloured, the indoor Waltzer W43 with the Smart family at Littlehampton captured in motion, in 1980, by Paul Angel.
welsh rare bits
Paul Angel continues his 1980 tour, visiting the three parks in South Wales. Seen above are the Lakin Waltzer W20 at Aberavon in the final days of its 'classic' decor. Above that the Maxwell Waltzer W59 at Porthcawl bearing Crole's name (the previous owner of the Waltzer at Aberavon!).
Known as the 'graveyard of machines', we have been investigating and documenting the history of the two parks at Morecambe (Pleasure Beach / West End later Frontierland, and also the Winter Gardens site). This is complicated, as any enthusiast or historian will know!
The final years of the Pleasure Beach site saw the ex-Dowse Waltzer A118 arrive in 1980 and complete 1 year service (first picture above) - departing the park intact and currently with Kenny Stuart. The following year, 1981, saw a new residency for the heavily rebuilt Appleton Waltzer A88 - this machine lived through many changes including its final days as some kind of wild-west open-top experience (second picture above). By 1983, they had added the small Orton and Spooner Ark Ark A93 which seemed to survive a few years before vanishing (presumed scrapped?). The final platform machine at this venue was the transferred Waltzer W49 from Southport, being shorn of its 'Mighty Moroccan' guise to become the 'Western Waltzer' - it is said that the ride has been salvaged and is under refurbishment.
The Winter Gardens site was on its last legs in 1980. Even though it had had a rich history of platform machines through the 50s and 60s, it survived with Waltzer A208 as its last fling from the late 1970s to its closure in the mid-80s. This Waltzer passed to Brean for a thorough revamp, and was then shipped over to Ireland where (as of 2011) it still resides with the Mohan family.
We have updated our image coverage of the fanstastic Lakin Ark A77 showing the early days of this ride new to Billy Butlin's large operation. The picture above, in glorious colour, shows the ride delivered new at the Empire Exhibition at Glasgow, 1938.
Stokes Brothers' Waltzer A206 with an intermediate decor before rebranding as the 'Scream Machine' - Paul Angel photographing the ride at Great Dorset Steam Fair, 1979.
Paul Angel again capturing Nichols' Waltzer A65 shortly before it was repainted into 'Electric Dreams' - compare this with the image on the portal taken by Scott-Stewart in 1973.
Paul Angel pictured Hill's Ark (A47) and Scott's Waltzer (W29) on a sunny August day in 1979 at Barrow.
briefly at Butlins
Paul Angel's collection continues to be accessioned - his visit to Ingoldmells Butlins in August 1979 saw him encounter the Waltzer A173 during what would appear to be a brief residency in the camp between ownership by Keith Emmett and Bily Bates. We have thus added some estimated dates as to its arrival here.
Thanks to a postcard of Ramsgate (shown above) taken in the 1950s, Stephen Smith and Kevin Scrivens have suggested with some certainty that this seaside location formed the bridge between the ex-Swoop Ark A157a disappearing from Proctor's ownership and the previously unknown Ark A247 operated by Basil Drake from around 1959 onwards with novelty swing-out cars.
The picture above shows what appears to be the Orton ex-Swoop in situ, and the plot at Ramsgate seemed to have some connection to Orton and Spooner with both a Ghost Train and a retired Scenic Railway resident there. Our first certain report of the venue is from Jack Leeson's visit in 1960, and the Ark is no longer there, fitting it to a possible purchase by Drake in 1959. This solves (hopefully) a long-standing mystery, and the ride can be re-themed from its current guise as 'Total Confusion'!
new Church icon
Darren Church is the proud new owner of the iconic Waltzer W48 purchased from the Coneley family - this machine is said to be one of the finest Waltzers in the country and increases the platform ride balance in Yorkshire to something aproaching the 1970s hey days.
the journey home
Terry Storey has purchased the ex-Marshall platform ride Ark A180 from the vanishing amusement park at Barry Island, South Wales. We wish Terry and his team all the best with this exciting venture.