Sunday, January 15, 2023

Golden Carousel

London The Unfinished City
The Golden Carousel, during the day.

If you take a trip down the Queen's Walk on the South Bank, you will discover a Carousel that is always running, come rain or shine. It is the only fairground ride along this stretch of pedestrianised pavement and so looks a little out of place. 

You can almost certainly guarantee that whenever I am passing it, my girls will want to take a ride on it, regardless of the weather or time of day. And who am I to object?

London The Unfinished City
Erin and Keilyn enjoying a ride on the Golden Carousel, on a sunny afternoon.

Many people assume, wrongly, that it is just like all the other Carousels that are seen around the country and the world, throughout the warmer months.

However, the Golden Carousel is unique and is a replica of a traditional English Carousel that was at the 1951 Festival of Britain, in Battersea Park. 

It was manufactured in 1999 by the Company 'Mardigras UK Limited' and is owned by English showman Tommy Matthews.

London The Unfinished City
The Golden Carousel, at night.

The ride travels on its own self contained transport and can be positioned, built up and ready to gallop in a few hours.

The lighting, on the Carousel, consists of over 3000 environmentally friendly LED bulbs.

Brief History

The name Carousel originates from the old Italian and Spanish words Garosello and Carosella, meaning 'little battle'. Tis was because early machines were used for cavalry training by the Arabs in the 12th century.

Carousels first became popular for entertainment in the great public parks of Europe in the 1700s.

Early Carousels had no platforms: the animals would hang on poles or chains. 

These early Carousels were often powered by animals walking in a circle or by people pulling on a rope.

By the mid 19th century platform Carousels were developed  and these machines were steam powered. Eventually, electric motors were installed and electric lights were added, giving the Carousel its classic look.

By the late 1800s electric powered Carousels were popular everywhere in the country. Unfortunately, with the start of World War II, they fell into decline and today there are very few original Carousels left.

Each country had its own variations on the Carousel. For instance, while English Carousels rotate clockwise, American Carousels rotate anti-clockwise.


  1. Except you have the wrong owner

    1. I apologise, If I have made an error, and I am more than happy to update the page. At the time I wrote this blog I was informed that Tommy Matthews was the owner.