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Ironbridge visitors set to ride on gallopers

Visitors to Blists Hill Victorian Town will have the opportunity to take a spin on a rare set of steam-powered gallopers as the town’s traditional fairground reopens for the summer.

Take a ride on the gallopers
Take a ride on the gallopers

The gallopers were built in the early 20th century for Frank Wilson by Thomas Walker of Tewkesbury.

As one of oldest ‘fairground families’ in the UK, the Wilsons transported the gallopers to fairgrounds across the UK and Europe before the set found a permanent home in Shropshire.

Having undergone extensive restoration works before the pandemic, the fairground ride was returned to its former glory by its current owners, expert restorers Simon Harris and Kevin Scrivens.

The gallopers can be powered by both electricity, as they are today, or steam as they would have been in the early 1900s.

During the restoration it was discovered that the gallopers even had the royal stamp of approval after a photograph of the then Duke of York was found, showing him on the ride at a country fair in Surrey in the 1920s.

A set of steam-powered gallopers can also be seen at the Shrewsbury Steam Rally at Onslow Park later this month.

Richard Aldred, Marketing Manager at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust said: “As we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of his daughter Queen Elizabeth II this year, we’re delighted that our visitors can follow in the footsteps of King George VI as they enjoy a ride on the historic Harris and Scrivens gallopers.

“The gallopers are the perfect centrepiece of our traditional fairground and they are always such a popular attraction with visitors young and old so we’re delighted to welcome the beautiful ride back to the Green this year.”

Visitors can ride the gallopers until the end of the school summer holiday at £2 per person.

For more information or to find out more about upcoming events happening at sites across the Ironbridge Gorge over the summer, visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.

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