Miniature funfair set to take centre stage on Antiques Roadshow
- Credit: Archant
A captivating miniature fun-fair which was packed away in Westerfield for more than 20 years is set to make a centre stage appearance on the Antiques Roadshow next week.
John Loades and his son Martin lovingly restored the funfair after it was packed away in 1996 and hearing the hit BBC One show was coming to Helmingham Hall, brought it along for filming in August last year.
Construction of the incredible 1/16 scale model began in the 1920s when the creator, John’s father Frederick Loades, was just a schoolboy.
Over the years, Mr Loades honed his skills, adding more and more attractions to the intricate model using cardboard, pins and clockwork motors.
Having been packed away during the Second World War, by 1948 Mr Loades had moved the models into a mobile unit, and set about touring East Anglia and the Midlands.
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The fun-fair was later contracted as an attraction at Pleasurewood Hills theme park, dazzling crowds from 1983 to 1994 and then Bressingham Steam Museum for two years.
It also made appearances at the Suffolk Show.
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Mr Loades died in June 1989, just three days before his 80th birthday.
The fun-fair was put back into storage in 1996 but, in late 2016, John and Martin, transformed it back to its former glory.
They look to tour again in the future, but in the meantime are bringing the extraordinary sideshow to the Arc Shopping Centre in Bury St Edmunds between Wednesday, May 30 and Friday, June 1.
John said: “We had packed it away in boxes because our lives were so busy at that time. “Then last year my son Martin said ‘this is ridiculous, I’m getting it out again’.
“We got it out at the end of 2016 and put it back together and it all worked as good as it ever did.
“We had already got it out when we heard that the Antiques Roadshow was coming to Helmingham Hall, which is just five miles up the road. “It seemed like a heaven-sent opportunity.”
However, Mr Loades was keeping the experts’ evaluation a closely guarded secret.
“You’ll have to wait to see the show,” he said.
The Antiques Roadshow, at Helmingham Hall is on BBC One at 8pm on Sunday, June 3.