Anderton and Rowland

Anderton and Rowlands are probably the oldest firm travelling in Cornwall with a history as long as your arm. I will add more details of their past here, but for the moment, just consider the fact that they are the largest company in the West of England with an immaculate set of transport and equipment. The company started from humble beginnings. when in 1854 Albert H. Haslam a variety artist set up on his own giving magic exhibitions. His tutor was one Professor Anderson upon whose death Albert assumed the name of Anderton.

From these beginnings the business grew in the North of England until by 1888 it was "Anderton's Anchor Show" and was a large double-fronted outfit. Later this show became "The home of Mysteries." By now The Professor was assisted by four sons one of who became known as Captain Rowland and two daughters, one called Martha. The show developed to become "Anderton & Haslams No 1 Royal Managerie" and in 1896, they teamed up with the Ginnett circus family to become "Fourpawrs Circus and Managerie." By 1900 the company were travelling as "Professor Anderton and Captain Rowlands Combined show." This was a performing animal and living picture variety show with an 87 key Gaviolli organ and a Savage Steam Engine incorporated into it. In 1903, the variety show first travelled under the name of Anderton and Rowland the name that has been in existence ever since. Meanwhile a certain George De-Vey had been born in France on 10th December 1867 and had come to England with his parents shortly after he was born. He ran away from home at 16 and joined Bostock & Wombells starting as an Elephant boy and staying with them for 11 years. He joined Anderton and Rowlands in 1894 and met and fell in love with Martha and they were married in 1902. George De-Vey was a visionary and persuaded Professor Anderton to invest in a riding machine. This cannot have been easy as there was a large family and the shows were at their peak; few could have imagined their sudden decline. In 1905 a set of Savage Gondolas with a spinning top was purchased. The Anderton boys and George De-Vey developed the business into four cinemas and the travelling amusements the travelling shows being run by George De-Vey, Albert Anderton Jnr (his farther died in 1909) and Arthur Anderton (Captain Rowland). The firm continued to expand with a base being opened in Bristol (is this the Gloucester Lane one???) and when the Hancock fairground operation ended a second base opened in Plymoth. The firm ran two separate sections (as they still do today) one from Bristol to Plymouth and the Regatta fairs of Devon and the other run by Captain Rowland running Plymouth and Cornwall. Even today the firm still has the number one and two sections who only join up for their largest fairs.

 

The Ark arriving at Penzance (probably 1974)

In 1906 the largest show was delivered from Orton and Spooner the Theatre of Varieties with it's 98 Key Marenghi organ. In 1912 a set of Savage Steam motors was acquired and the organ moved from the theatre to take it's place in the centre of the ride. In 1921, one of the firms most famous rides the Orton and Spooner Super Scenic the "Golden Dragons" was delivered. This replaced the steam motors which (I believe) were sold on. A Mountain Glide and a set of four-a-breast gallopers followed until by the 1920's the firm travelled a great number of novelty rides and attractions. In 1929 the scenic cars were changed to Dolphins and two dodgem tracks and an Ark was acquired. In 1931, George De-Vey died having built up with his family the most formidable travelling amusement business of the West Country. In the same year, the company bought a new Ark from Orton and Spooner. The machine was a five hill model that was subsequently re-built as a four hill one. In 1933 a swirl was delivered but replaced by a Mont Blanc in 1934. A large dodgem track was purchased and in 1936 the Dolphins were modernised to try and compete with the newer rides. Now known as the Brookland racer it was a great attempt to add life to a machine that was no longer popular and although the firm kept operating the machine until 1938 it's Golden days were past and it was packed away forever at the end of the season.

The Ark arriving at Redruth (before the road was widened)

Following the second world war, when the company were only able to open an Ark under Mrs George De-Vey junior and a Dodgem speedway at Taunton, the company started to travel again, first updating the Ark including the front of the Dragon Scenic and several other rides were renewed or replaced. In 1947 the company purchased an Autodrome with a typical post war modernist front. This ride still exists but is now owned by a member or the Ayres family and opens as a Waltzer. I note from an article in Old Glory Magazine that by 1954, the company's centenary they purchased an American Whip making 31 machines since the purchase of the Gondolas. the firm continued to modernise until by the time I started noting what rides were visiting Redruth (late 1960's) they were travelling two Dodgems and an Ark, a variety of juveniles and a twist. The early 1970's saw the purchase by Michael De-Vey of a Twist and this started a sequence of purchases of modern rides. 1973 saw the arrival of a brand new Maxwell 10 Car Waltzer. The 1981 season marks the arrival of Maxwell Skyrider lifting Paratrooper and a Satellite known as the Hully Gully. In 1984 an upright paratrooper was purchased from C.Whitelegg, but this was sold on by 1986 when a Flying Coaster and a Meteorite were purchased. At the start of the 1987 season the Ark was finally retired and was replaced by an Orbiter. During the 1990's the company travelled another set of Gallopers and in 1997 purchased the ex-T. Whitelegg Speedway that had been converted to a Waltzer and a Matterhorn. At the start of the 2000 season, Michael De-Vey took delivery of a new Twist and the firm also purchased a Top Spin from Michael Wallis of Lancashire and a brand new Superstar. At the same time, the firms Maxwell Waltzer was rebuilt on one load and is now a very impressive machine.