Ray and Jill Castle’s
MODEL GALLOPERS

Built between 1996 and 2000, this model is scratch built to 1:8 scale  using a variety of materials. It is typical of the machines built by Savages of Kings Lynn in the Late 19th century. Dimensions were calculated from commercially available drawings supported by archive and contemporary photographs and documentation.

These Gallopers are not a scale reproduction of any past or current set in showland. However, George Irvin's machine provided a valuable source of images for reference, and it is on this that the model is loosely based.

The three types of horses, the centaurs, and the cockerels, are all detailed scale rnodels of original carvings by Anderson's of Bristol and C.J.Spooner of Burton-on-Trent.

The truck mounted model organ represents a Gavioli 89 key instrument, a type used by many showmen in early galloper sets. Lots of light, lots of speed, lots of noise were the attributes which the showmen exploited to attract riders to their machines. The latter was provided by the fairground organ.

Capable of being a solo instrument, a small group of musicians, a brass or marching band, even a concert orchestra, it has to be remembered that before recordings, the wireless, let alone the cinema and television, few people experienced music other than from the fairground organ. Often stand alone special concerts were held of just the music as well as providing the hymns for al fresco church services with the local vicar leading and preaching from the steps of the gallopers.

The model travels extensively to fairground shows and model exhibitions. An illustrated booklet with more information is available. Photographed at Guildford in 2017.

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