Let’s Go Round Again
by Laura Storey
An antique carousel is getting a face-lift so it can get back on the road
A cherished Victorian gem is undergoing a remarkable revival in the quaint village of Salterforth, nestled on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border. Sally Beach’s Gallopers, a beloved merry-go-round, journeyed from the Beamish Museum in County Durham to its new caretakers, the Lee family. Their mission is to breathe new life into this historical fairground attraction.
The proud new owner, Karen Lee, shares the carousel’s rich history: “It was originally crafted in 1893 for William Beach and remained in the Beach family for an impressive 116 years.” As only the third custodians of this iconic ride, Karen and her husband Frank are deeply committed to restoring it to its former glory. Karen exclaims, “Now it’s become a part of our family. We have a genuine passion for what we do, and taking care of a ride like this is a lifelong commitment.”
When the carousel was acquired from the Beamish Museum, it was mechanically functional but in dire need of aesthetic repairs. The Lees have been diligently working on its exterior, meticulously restoring wooden panels and ensuring its safety. Karen is resolute in her determination to see it operational once more: “We are showmen through five generations; it’s in our blood. These rides mustn’t get lost. There are few merry-go rounds like this one left in existence.”
What makes this carousel exceptionally rare is its ability to operate on both a generator and steam power. The Lees have set their sights on having everything in working order by the end of October.
Karen candidly admits, “At this stage, we haven’t seen it spinning yet,” followed by a hearty laugh. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but the Lees are unwavering in their commitment. As Karen emphasises, “It was originally designed to bring joy to people as it travelled, and we’re determined to get it back on the road.”
If all goes well, Sally Beach’s Gallopers will arrive at Dunham Massey, Altrincham, on the 17th of November for their Christmas celebrations. Head to the National Trust property to see the lovingly restored Victorian Carousel.
NorthernLife Nov/Dec 23