Thomas Walker: Builder of Steam Roundabouts
Graham Downie & Dr John Middlemiss
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ISBN Number: 9780951383551
Format: Hardback
Number of Pages: 136
Publication Date: 2008
Publisher: The Fairground Association of Great Britain

Thomas 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 dispersed.

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.

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