the story of two remarkable families, eventually united by the
author's parents' marriage in 1935. Twelve members of these families
were Wall of Death riders and owners from 1929 to the 1960s, several
of them among the first wall riders in the UK.
The introduction of the Wall of
Death into the UK in July 1929 caused a sensation and it became
extremely popular with the public thereafter. The Todd and Soutter
shows toured all over Britain and Europe, as well as Abyssinia and
Persia, and were seen by British and foreign royalty, Hitler and
Mussolini, and thousands of the general public. They appeared at the
1930, 1952, and 1953 Munich Oktoberfest, the 1938 Glasgow Empire
Exhibition and the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Their feats and trick riding were
outstanding and included towing a roller skater on the wall, riding
the wall with lions in a side car and the 'Race of Death'. These
spectacles were photographed and reported on throughout the period
by local, national and international press. They were interviewed on
radio, and films by Shell-Mex and British Pathé News were shown in
cinemas and on BBC television.