Walker of Tewksbury did not set out in business to make fairground
rides. He had been trained as a millwright and engineer in a town
where he could expect to make a living serving local industry and
agriculture. His works, however, was close to the site of the town's
annual fair, a proximity that saw him being asked to carry out
repair work for the travelling showmen who arrived each October.
In turn this led him to manufacture
complete rides for them, either propelled by ponies or driven by
steam engine. The new trade became his main occupation, and by the
end of the nineteenth century his firm - by then the largest
employer of skilled labour in the town - was one of the three
principal roundabout builders in Britain.
Thomas Walker died in 1912, leaving
the business to his wife and two of his sons, John and Alfred.
Disagreements between the two sons resulted in Alfred buying out his
brother in 1919. the firm was to survive for only six more years in
his hands: early in 1925 it went into receivership ad its assets
This book is the first
comprehensive history of Thomas Walker and his firm to have been
written. Despite the almost total absence of any company records,
the two authors have been able to assemble a vivid and detailed
account of this remarkable engineer and the business he created.
This book is published by the Fairground Association of Great
Britain to mark the 30th anniversary of its foundation.