‘Mind-blowing’ model fairground rides made by Derbyshire man decades ago found in garage

Posted on 10/11/2020 in Press Coverage

All the fun of the fair has emerged from a garage in lockdown thanks to the discovery of a host of ‘mind-blowing’ model fairground rides – painstakingly handmade by a Derbyshire man decades ago.

Intricate, working models of a Cake Walk, Noah’s Ark Ride and Chairoplane, scaled down to exactly match their full-size equivalents, are due to be sold in November by Hansons Auctioneers.

Each one took the late Patrick Burton two or three years to build, according to his family. He made every part himself, working from drawings, and hand-painted hundreds of components. The colourful paintwork on the finished models included his very own name for his creation – ‘Pat Burton’s Model Fun Fair’.

His son Michael Burton, a 58-year-old joiner/taxi driver from Chaddesden, Derby, said: “Dad made models for more than 40 years. He started in his 30s with horse-drawn carts and wheelbarrows, that sort of thing, then moved on to fairground rides which he built for 32 years.

“After he died at the age of 73 in 2003 the rides ended up in a garage for nearly 20 years. We want them to go to a good home and be enjoyed again. Dad used to show them at steam fairs around Derbyshire.”

Patrick Burton, a former work study officer at Derby pipe-making firm Aiton’s in Stores Road, was born in Breedon-on-the-Hill. He later moving to Melbourne and then Chaddesden. He had five children and Michael remembers him returning home from work and building his models night after night on the family’s dining room table.

“It was just something he liked to do,” said Michael. “I think he found it quite therapeutic. He had a very understanding wife in our mum Peggy who’s 86 now.”

Steve Fulford, toy valuer at Hansons, said: “These fairground models are mind-blowing. I just can’t get over the detail, the care and attention – not to mention the enormous amount of time Patrick spent making them, hours and hours. It comes as no surprise to learn each ride took him years to build.

“They have hundreds of individual components and he made every one of them. We’ve had the fair rides working again and they are an absolute delight. There’s a fairground organ, too, and some trucks which are all part of the collection. They deserve to go to a new home and be seen and enjoyed again by as many people as possible.”

The rides, lot numbers 6401, 6402 and 6403, each have an estimate of £700-£1,000. In addition, lot 6404, a set of scratch-built fairground showman’s caravans and fairground organ, have an estimate of £200-£300. They are due to be sold on November 24 in Hansons’ Toys, Models and Gaming Auction. To find out more, email [email protected] or [email protected].

CLICK HERE to view the lots