Dreamland Trust acquires unique Big Wheel

The Dreamland Trust has acquired the famous Southsea Corbiére Wheel. Built in 1956, it operated initially at Coney Beach Amusement Park in Porthcawl before moving to Southsea’s Clarence Pier Amusement Park, where it spent most of its life. It was acquired by Blackpool Illuminations Manager Richard Ryan in 2001, who restored it, and it then spent 2005 and 2006 operating at Southport’s Pleasureland. Following the closure of Pleasureland, the ride went into storage in Blackpool.

Following three years of discussions between Richard Ryan and Dreamland Trust Chairman Nick Laister, the deal was finally done earlier this year. The inspection and transport of the ride was organised by Jonathan Bryant and Bob Preedy of the Dreamland Trust.

The wheel was designed by Henri Corbiére, a French engineer, and built 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 as well as the normal vertical plane, 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.

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