31. Corbiere Wheel (from Clarence Pier, Southsea)

The Corbiére Wheel at Clarence Pier (then Fun Acres) Amusement Park in 1992. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

Newly refurbished wheel at Pleasureland Southport in 2005. (Photograph: Richard Ryan).
History: The wheel was designed by Henri Corbiére, a French engineer, and built around 1956 by ARM (UK) LTD. The design was state of the art at the time. The design was probably the first to have 'spherical motion' i.e. the whole wheel revolves around its base such that the gondolas travel in a gentle spiral path describing a sphere through space. This concept required new thinking in respect to the design and construction of the wheel. 

It operated originally at Coney Beach Amusement Park at Porthcawl in South Wales, but spent most of its life at Clarence Pier (Southsea). Acquired in 2001 by Blackpool Illuminations Manager Richard Ryan, he restored it between 2001 and 2004, after which it operated at Pleasureland (Southport) for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The ride was removed from Pleasureland when the park closed and put into storage by Ryan in Blackpool. 

Dimensions: Wheel Diameter 15.25 M; Height 18.28 M; Base Diameter 9.038 M; Seating Capacity 56 persons (14no, 4 seat gondolas).

Importance: A very rare and unique amusement park ride. Similar rides once operated at Skegness, Great Yarmouth, Southport Pleasureland (1970s) and Battersea Fun Fair.

Latest: Now in storage in Maidenhead where it is being refurbished for possible preview operation in 2011.

If you have any further information on the history of this ride, please email nick@savedreamland.co.uk.

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