History Of The Carousel

Victorian Carousel Galloping Horses. The iconic classic fairground ride. WIth a history traced back to a British engineer.

Victorian Carousel

Easily the most ornate of all the fairground rides.

Covered in intricate artwork, gold leaf and bright colours, with every horse an individual work of art.

Wedding photos are fabulous against the backdrop of the Victorian galloping horses, this is a great centrepiece for your wedding, or indeed any event.

If you are looking at hiring a carousel then ask us for a quote. Read on if you would like a little info on the history of these superb rides.

Victorian Carousel Hire

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Victorian Carousel Hire

Funfairs The Early Years

The majority of funfairs can trace their history back to the Medieval period. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, many fairs received Royal charters. In many cases the charter didn’t actually grant the right to hold a fair, it was more a method for the crown to maintain control of the revenues, in return for the particular town or village keeping control of the event.

During the fourteenth century a new class of fair began to emerge. These were the hiring fairs, or ‘mops’. The purpose was to enable landowners to find workers for their estates, a sort of early job fair. Many of them also had a runaway mop taking place a few weeks later, this enables those who were unhappy in their new employ to try and find alternative work.

Some of these events continued through to the end of the nineteenth century, though the purpose of the fair was gradually superseded by the amusement side.

Victorian Carousel Horse

Funfair Attractions


The early days of the industry consisted mainly of games and increasingly the sideshows. Everything from freaks of nature to exotic animals.

The early rides were limited in their size and scope due to the use of human power to drive them. They consisted of a hand turned crank system that rotated the ride through a series of gears.

In 1860 a revolution occured in the industry when steam powered roundabouts were introduced at both Bolton New Year fair and the midsummer fair at Halifax.

Frederick Savage, an agricultural engineer founded the firm of Savage’s based in the Norfolk town of Kings Lynn to construct mechanical steam powered rides.

Victorian Galloping Horses

The Carousel


A range of designs emerging from Savage’s, culminating in the classic design for the English ‘gallopers’ or carousel as it became known around the world.

The move to steam allowed ever more alaborate designs of rides to be created. This moved the emphasis away from the traditional sideshows and towards the amusements rides.

Steam yachts, switchbacks and more  appeared at the fair, and the groundwork for the golden era of the funfair was set.

This mechanisation put the showmen at the forefront of innovation, and new attractions appeared regularly. Many people would have experienced their first taste of cinema at the fair with the travelling bioscopes of the era.

If you are interested in a Carousel for your event of just want more details, ask us about Galloping Horse Hire.

We provide event management, team building and our services for private clients including weddings, parties, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, Military balls, college balls, university balls, corporate events, corporate , company fundays and exhibitions throughout the U.K. and Europe, including Scotland, London, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, The North East and The Midlands.