Taken at Haven Golden Sands, Mabletherpe – Lincolnshire. This Waltzer, owned by the Silcock family, is around 50 years old and like any other machine, need occasional maintenance. With the end of the summer season now is the perfect time to undertake minor repairs and to re-paint the original woodwork. It seems strange to see this ride without the usual cars attached to it. These can be seen sitting to the right of the photo waiting to be reattached in readiness for the next season.
A Waltzer is a flat fairground amusement ride that often forms the centrepiece of traditional Scottish and English fairs. The ride consists of a number of cars which spin freely while rotating around a central point, in much the same way as a carousel.
As the cars revolve, the floor of the ride undulates over a track so that the cars rise and fall gently as the ride spins. The offset weight of the riders causes each car to rotate. The riders experience varying levels of g-force from the spinning of the car, and the rotation of the ride itself. Because of this it is suitable for young people and adults – operators will impose height and age restrictions.
The ride is started and stopped by an operator who sits in the ‘paybox’ and collects money from the staff who typically ride the platform and spin the cars by hand. Traditionally, Waltzers platforms are surrounded by a gangway, where would-be riders can stand and wait for their turn. This was often an important social aspect of fairs, especially for teenagers. Due to health and safety regulations, this is no longer permitted on British fairs.
The first Waltzer, completed in 1933, was built for English showman Charles Thurston. The ride has stayed in the family and still travels today. The Waltzer is a variety of ‘Noah’s Ark ride’, a fairground ride first imported from Germany in 1930.