Ca. 1931 Rolls Royce Merry-Go-Round

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Circa 1931 Rolls Royce Portable Roundabout Carousel

This one-of-a-kind portable roundabout was built at the Rolls Royce factory in Derby, ca. 1931, for the company’s annual Field Days celebrations. The carousel is two rows, with 24 horses on a 22′ platform trailer/wagon mount center.

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The carousel was made by the Millwrights’ Department at the Derby Rolls Royce factory, under the superintendent Mr. J. A. Scholes. The roundabout is mounted on a 40/50hp Phantom-type front axle beam. It has a brass Property of Rolls Royce motors name plate & comes with a letter of provenance from noted marque historian Mr John Fasal.

The ride has been 90% restored since it last sold in 2008.

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ADDITIONAL HISTORY

The late Harry Fergusson-Wood (1908-1994) joined Rolls-Royce Ltd in Derby as a Premium Apprentice in May 1926, progressing through the test department, and later worked in the experimental department. He retired as head of the Jack Barclay Service Depot in Battersea, in 1972. Harry had mentioned to respected Rolls-Royce historian/authority, John Fasal that Rolls-Royce in Derby had made a ‘roundabout’ for the Company’s field days in the 1930s. It was made by the Millwrights’ Department under the superintendent Mr J A Scholes and was mounted on a 40/50hp Phantom-type front axle beam. The 24 horses were cast in the aluminium foundry at the Derby works and there was a brass plate fixed to the ‘chassis’ with the inscribed words: ‘The property of Rolls-Royce Ltd’.

In September 1978 John Fasal accompanied Harry Fergusson-Wood to Moreton-in-Marsh to locate a traveling fairground proprietor who was said to own this mythical carousel. Inquiries in a local toyshop led to the pair being put in touch with a restorer of fairground equipment in that area. Finally, the premises where the 24’ merry-go-round was being restored were located. A purchase was negotiated and the whole machine was found to be easily dismantled and transported on its own trailer. The merry-go-round was owned subsequently by the late Neville Vincent (President of the Bovis construction company) and later by the Indian industrialist, Vijay Mallya. Restored by Rundells in Norfolk for a subsequent owner, it was then displayed in the Skopos Museum for a time before being sold to the current vendor.

Suitable for entertaining at a wide variety of outdoor events, this charming fairground attraction – with its unique Rolls-Royce origins – is a guaranteed hit at any gathering of motoring enthusiasts. A copy of John Fasal’s letter recounting its history comes with it, plus annotated photographs as a guide to assembly and a set of 24 leather saddles. We are advised that the merry-go-round, which has wheels for transportation, can be put up in a day.