Tuby’s Gallopers

Built in 1920 this galloper is one of few gallopers today to retain all its wooden horses and panels. Constructed by Savage of Kings Lynn it was ordered by the Tuby family of Doncaster in order to provide guaranteed work for their son and get him out of the army quicker.

Known affectionately as the Victory Horses it features furled flags on the ends of the rounding boards (around the top) and a dove of peace over the window in the paybox. All references to the allied victory in the great war and the quest for peace afterwards.

This particular ride has changed hands several times since 1920 and has spent time at Woburn House and Brean Leisure Park in Somerset. It is currently owned by a private owner who has very kindly allowed it to be displayed and operated at the museum.

During the Great War, Yorkshire Showman Harry Tuby served in the Royal Garrison Artillery, fighting in the trenches of the Western Front.  When peace finally came his father wanted him demobilised as quickly as possible so that he could go back out on the road with the family’s amusements.

Not that his father was just anyone: Councillor George Thomas Tuby was one of Yorkshire’s best-known showmen, and later Mayor of Doncaster. He knew that preference was given to men who could guarantee providing employment, and so he went to Savages and ordered a new set of Galloping Horses for his son.

The roundabout was delivered to King’s Lynn Mart in 1920, and appropriately named Tuby’s Victory Horses. There was symbolism on various parts of the ride. Flags were carved on the rounding boards and a dove of peace is on the paybox proscenium.

In 1930 Harry Tuby wanted a more modern ride and so he put the Gallopers in part exchange for a new Noah’s Ark. Messrs. Orton & Spooner stored the Gallopers until 1934 when they were sold to Thomas Drakeley of Birmingham. After the Second World War they changed hands again, being acquired by another Midlands showman, Bob Wilson.

Over the years the ride was modernised. The original steam engine was taken off and replaced with an electric motor, and a replacement fair organ placed in the centre to provide music.  Fortunately few other changes were made to this historic roundabout, and it retains many of its original features.  Raymond Beardow bought the Gallopers in 1963 and it spent most of the next thirty years at Woburn Abbey. In 1992 it moved to Brean in Somerset, until it was acquired by its current owner, Russell Cook.

Unlike many surviving Gallopers it still has its original wooden horses: those on the outside row were carved by Anderson of Bristol and by Charles Spooner of Burton on Trent on the inside two rows.

Russell Cook has fitted a replacement Savage centre engine to drive the ride, but unfortunately it is not possible to steam this inside the building.