T.Whitelegg's Olympia Ark/Waltzer - A211

Published: Tuesday, 01 September 2020

The "Bitsa" Waltzer.

During the second world war, the firm of T.Whitelegg and Sons had a very profitable, if somewhat dangerous existence in Plymouth's Union Street. With the War over, the firm returned to travelling and one of the rides was the machine that was part of the setup within the Union Street 'Gaff' entertaining the punters. 

From the National Fairground Archive, the ride is listed as appearing in 1946 and was a convertible machine being capable of running as an Ark or a Waltzer. This machine traveled with Fredrick "Bibsy" Whitelegg.

I used to see the machine in Cornwall where it's run in May saw a weekend in Tuckingmill running as an ark, before it came to Redruth for the Whitsun Fair at the end of May where it ran as a Waltzer standing next to Colin DeVey's Ark.

Image: The Whitelegg Waltzer lorry arriving at Redruth : Photo Richard Adams Collection


Image: The Waltzer at Redruth: Photo (C) Peter White.


Image: The Waltzer at Penzance: Photo (C) Peter White.


The Waltzer stayed with company until 1975 when it was sold to David Rowland along with a run of places and David converted the machine to a flat roof and had it redecorated as shown below. 

Image: the Waltzer when owned by David Rowland (C) unknown


David Rowland kept the ride for a few years until his new Waltzer arrived when it was sold on to S.Edwards in 1980 and it ended up with Terry New of Southampton under the Adlams amusements banner. 

Image: Terry New's Waltzer

Image: Terry New's Thriller Waltzer Spinner


It was while it was here, that I met with Terry who, by then had retired and had a great afternoon talking about his life with a number of rides including this one.  He sold the ride to George Rogers who resold it to Malcolm Dixon in 2011. The ride is believed to be scrapped.

Image: The ride as i remember it: Photo from Ian Trowell unknown source


Hits: 2726