Between the 19th and 30th of June 2007 Horsham hosted a 90′ Ferris wheel for the first time. It was parked outside Sussex Stationers (Now Fat Face & Crew Clothing) and King & Chasemore but visible from a great distance. The second visit, to the same location, was timed to co-incide with the schools’ Easter Break; 7th – 19th April 2008.
The structure is transported on two lorries, the trailer of one transforming into the base of the wheel. It takes about 12 hours to erect and about 15 hours to take down again. The six tonne structure can operate in wind speeds of up to 120 mph although the current owner will only run it in winds less than 60 mph.
The wheel was imported from Italy two years ago when it was one year old. Each of the 20 gondalas has glass walls and ceiling enabling it to operate in the rain. The cost of the ride was just £2.50 for adults with under 12s paying £2.00 – prices held from 2007. Whilst not being as slow as the London Eye the wheel was designed to allow you to get views over the rooftops of Horsham in the style of an observation wheel. Unfortunately the weather was poor throughout the ten days in 2007 so it was not possible to get distant views. For the Horsham Photographer’s 2008 visit the visibility was no better.
The Ferris Wheel is operated to a high safety standard, supported by the owner and carefully laid down in British & European law. The ride is thoroughly checked every year for electrics, welding and corrosion. Without this certification the ride will not be authorised for use. Even before its first use in the UK the ride had to undergo a £10,000 design review to check its compliance with UK regulations.
The ride will operate for about three days on a tank of fuel, the cost of which has risen from £75 at the beginning of 2007 to £135 in April 2008. Extensive use of the lights reduces the life of the fuel tank.
The owner is currently considering whether to invest in the 60m version of the wheel although this could not fit in the footprint available in the Carfax.
The wheel has not returned to the Carfax since 2008 because the market traders do not want to relocate for the affected period of time.