This is one of our favourite items in our extensive collection, a 1902 article from The Royal Magazine, detailing the operation of the Steeplechase ride at Alexandra Palace. This would be more than seven decades before the debut of the modern equivalent, the Steeplechase at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1977.
“We Britishers have been famed from time to time immemorial as breeders of racers. Mr Cawdery may be said to further improved the breed. By a simple but ingenious device he has done away with the necessity for racing stable, trainer and all other costly equipments. For – you may have guessed it – his steeds are of wood!”
The ride system, designed by William Cawdery would be modified by George Tilyou for use at Coney Island, Brooklyn as part of his Steeplechase Park attraction. Here is a video of that ride at Coney Island in operation to better demonstrate the concept.