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Wooden Coaster Figure 8.....The Grand Pier Weston Super Mare

A

Anonymous

Guest
THE MYSTERY OF THE FIGURE OF EIGHT IS SOLVED.

Thanks to Sharon Poole I can now report the true story of the ride and this comes from the horses mouth, the Brenner family so you know it`s correct.

The Figure of Eight was a German travelling coaster that was bought pre Second World War by Leonard Guy who was the Pier owner up to 1946.He bought it in Glasgow where it was at the time and installed the ride in the pavilion above the Ghost Train.

The manufacturer of the FOE was Anton Schwarzkopf (his father actually but same company) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Schwarzkopf

When George Brenner bought the pier in 1946 his two sons Arnold and Derrick changed the wooden cars of the FOE to steel ones (Arnold was a qualified engineer). They also built the little "Big Wheel."

No one was ever killed on the ride but a drunk did stand up once and hit his head on a bolt.
(probably the RAF man I was told about who was injured messing around)

There was however a rumour that three GI`s were killed during the war when a car came off the Noah`s Ark ride. (the pier stayed open most of the war)
As it was just before the Brenner family bought the pier they only know it as a rumour.
Being GI`s it would have probably been hushed up during wartime if it was indeed true.

The Figure of Eight was dismantled during the winter of 1969/70 and sold to the Heal funfair family and was installed for a time on Brighton seafront. After that who knows,probably scrapped.

So there you have it....all we need now is some photos and I will be definitely buying her book too.
 

furie

SBOPD
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Just seen that. I do want to emphasise that it's NOT the one from Weston (for anyone else, not the uncle). New Brighton and Brighton are not being confused :D

I would like to know if anyone could dig up pictures or anything about the Brighton coaster. I can't find reference there either.

However, I think we are into the territory I first mentioned. These rides were often travelling rides, and though it was static at Weston, it may have only spent a couple of seasons at Brighton before being moved off again. I have done some quick cross referencing though, and no new FOE appears on the radar (in the UK) after 1965 or so until the one at Folkestone turned up. Though, we are now painfully aware of how poor records are.

Very interesting it was a Schwartzkopf by the way!
 

luke8

Member
Great to see this is confirmed then! I knew it existed the minute I first read this thread. from a personal point of view; a massive thanks to you 'uncle' for finding this coaster to be true - this story/investigation has had me glued for weeks!

Get onto rcdb, perhaps?....
 

furie

SBOPD
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I emailed Duane at RCDB about it - not heard anything back yet... I think he may have updated it a little, but not to the degree I'd have expected - I copy and pasted him the uncles "Mystery Solved" post :)
 

furie

SBOPD
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Got a reply from Duane on this.

Duane from RCDB said:
I believe the information about Schwarzkopf is not accurate. Anton’s father (also named Anton) built carriages and trucks for circus and traveling carnival operators. The first Schwarzkopf roller coaster came about in 1957. Occasionally I see people credit Schwarzkopf as the builder of Wild Mouse roller coasters. While Schwarzkopf was perhaps the most prolific amusement ride manufacturer of his time, he wasn’t the first or the only one. I suspect much of the confusion comes from misunderstanding of the phrase “GmbH”. It stands for "Gesellschaft mit beschraenkter Haft" which in English would be the way of saying “LLC” or private limited liability company. This GmbH can be found on most Schwarzkopf advertisements of the day and I think people assume anything with GmbH on it is by Schwarzkopf. Fact is most early German wild mouse roller coasters were built by Mack and most German transportable wooden coasters were built by Hugo Haase. The later would be who I’d suspect built the Figure of Eight. Attached is a picture of a Hugo Haase Figure Eight.
I trust Duane on this, as he he's done many, many hours of research on the industry. I imagine he's right in this case too...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Duane may well be right,I only reported what I was told.
Everyone seems to have something wrong about the Figure of Eight.

I too am suspicious about the 1969 date as I just cant believe it is possible.

I`ll go with Luke8s` grandfather`s date of gone by 1966 but 69 is a step too far for me unless I see proof.

I use to go to Weston nearly every Sunday during the Sixties in the spring/summer season and I`ll swear the FOE was gone long before the end of the decade.
 

furie

SBOPD
Staff member
Administrator
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Sorry, didn't mean to imply you were in the wrong David :)

It's possible, I suppose, Scharzkopf owned the ride as a travelling version and maybe sold it on. So they acted as go-betweens? I don't think that they ever did anything other than manufacture though, but may have taken the ride as a"part-ex"?

I imagine it's a mystery we'll never solve...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Probably not and of course too I was also told the Brenner`s made the FOE from scratch like they did with the little "Big Wheel" which was wrong aswell before I was told it was Anton Scwarzhoptf.

It`s good to get the FOE on the record books but it doesn`t make much sense on RCDB.
I hope he re-writes the entry.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I received an e-mail from Sharon Poole this evening and she says the FOE maker is not mentioned in the forthcoming book and so is not a problem if Hugo Haase is the real maker and not Anton Schwarzkopf.

And she also says that Rod Brenner (a grandson I assume) was adamant that the FOE went in 1969/70 so I`ll have to leave it at that.

My wife says does it really matter anyway if it went a few years later or earlier and most of you will probably agree with her.

For me though I still have lingering doubts about when the FOE was dismantled and also indeed why it went.

Maybe I just want subconsciously to keep a bit of mystery going about the ride when probably there isn`t any really.

But that`s me done with the Figure of Eight anyway.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Just a quick reminder.

I`ve just noticed that Sharon Poole`s book The History of the Grand Pier was published this week and should be a good read for anyone interested.

I doubt it will be in all bookshops as probably a limited release but is available online and in shops at Weston.
 
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