The beautiful ‘Juvenile Monorail’ vintage ride is called Hush Hush and dates from 1933. It comprises an engine, named Hush Hush, and 11 carriages each named after local stations on the London and North Eastern Railway: Hornsea, Bridlington, Filey, Scarborough, Whitby, Castle Howard, Redcar, Hartlepool, Sunderland, South Shields and Newcastle. So it is fitting that the ride makes a summer stop at Castle Howard.
It was built by Orton & Spooner of Burton-on-Trent, one of Britain’s greatest amusement ride manufacturers, for Mrs J Powell (nee Theresa Cole Hemmer), wife of Jack Powell, a well-known owner and operator of fairground rides in the 1930s.
Hush Hush travelled to fairs over the north of England for a number of years with the Powell family before it was sold and eventually fell into disrepair. It was then bought by James Cundall in 2014, a Yorkshire-based collector of vintage fairground rides, who set about restoring it to its former splendour.
Now the stunning circular train ride makes its first appearance at Castle Howard over the summer holidays, having welcomed passengers aboard for the first time in 30 years at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland in York, in November last year, and in York city centre at Easter.
And in a fitting completion of the story, Mark Powell – grandson of the original Mrs J Powell – and his son Mark approached James Cundall to see if they could be involved in running the ride.
“We came to see Hush Hush when it was unveiled at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland last year and were so thrilled to see it looking so spectacular and fresh. We are still in the fairground business, and work at a lot of the summer fairs, so we got in touch with James again and said we would love to be involved in something that was once a part of our family’s history,” says Mark.
Orton & Spooner were leaders in their field, renowned for designing and creating rides of superior quality and finish. They also had the formidable art design expertise of father-and-son team Sid and Albert Howell who created the stunning replica scenes of classic British Rail life around the top boards of the ride.
“When I first saw Hush Hush in 2015, even in its poor condition, I could see that it once must have looked glorious – even the faded artwork was a superb example of art deco fairground art. I couldn’t resist it,” says James.
With the expertise of fairground art specialists Jo Claire and Ellie Spinks, each individual panel of the ride was photographed, the artwork carefully traced before being stripped back to bare wood and flawlessly re-painted with the exact colours of the original.
Hush Hush will welcome children aboard from Thursday 28 July to Sunday 4 September and is located opposite the Adventure Playground at Castle Howard. Adding to the fun will be two other vintage fairground attractions – a set of six Swing Boats dating from the 1930s, and a Hook a Duck games stall dating from the mid 1940s.
Lunchbox Events is an established company specialising in traditional fairground rides, games stalls and attractions. Lunchbox Events is a sister company to Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which since its founding in 1992 has established an unrivalled reputation for producing top quality international entertainment – musicals, boutique shows, plays, international artists, concerts, spectaculars, ice shows and children’s shows – to millions of theatre-goers in 22 countries across five continents. Headquartered in the UK, the company has offices in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines.
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