'Unique' Victorian fair ride to leave UK after auction
A "unique" hand-cranked Victorian merry-go-round that spent 30 years in the back of a lorry has been sold for £35,000 at auction to a French buyer.
It was made in Burton, Staffordshire, in 1895, but visited fairs across the Midlands and, apart from a few coats of paint, is in its original condition.
The 18ft (5.4m) ride, which retired at Nottingham's Goose Fair in 1979, can carry nine children.
Auctioneers in Derbyshire had hoped it would fetch about £100,000.
Charles Hanson, of Hansons Auctioneers, said: "The ride will be hopping across the Channel to a buyer in France.
"[The carousel] is an example of British craftsmanship as its best, exemplified by the magnificent carved detail in each of the horses and peacocks created to delight children when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
"It's an important, very early and unique carousel which captures the essence of the Victorian fairground."
The ride was made by George Orton, Sons and Spooner of Swan Works, in Burton, for Fred Westrope but was taken to fairs by the Meakin family.
It travelled to fairs in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and later passed to Jimmy Fantom, whose family ran it for 46 years.
Mr Hanson said after its final appearance at the Goose Fair, George and Joyce Mander restored it to its former glory and took it along to steam rallies and vintage fairs.
It has been in storage in the back of a lorry for about 30 years.