This site is dedicated to the memory of Lily (Emerson) MacWhannell my mother

                                                                Deeply missed by all who knew her.


This is the history of my family that dates back before the 1800s and probably well before that but I will start with my great grandparents around the late 1800s, they were Randolph Emerson & Susannah Hazard. Randolph was born in 1876 at Whitehaven, Cumbria he was the son of Joseph Emerson and Elizabeth (johnson) Emerson . Susannah was born in 1866 at spennymoor she was the daughter of John William Hazard born 1818 died1900 and Ellen Hazard born 1826. After they married in 1894 they had six children, they were John, Lily, Ernest, randolph. Pauline, Lawrence and My great grandparents used to travel with a ride known as Emerson & Hazards leaping hounds which was given to them by Susannahís father John william Hazard, similar to a set of gallopers only with hounds to ride on instead of horses. The ride was probably made by Howcrofts of Hartlepool around 1890. It had a gavioli trumpet organ in the centre of the ride when it was new.


Later this was replaced by an 87 key gavioli fairground organ which intern was replaced with an 89 key gavioli, alas this did not last as to its poor condition the organ was broken up and the best parts of the gavioli carvework and figures were retained. Finally the organ was replaced by the now famous (Emersonís 65 key gavioli). My great grandfather went to Ireland in 1914 to buy the organ from an Irish fairground family called Pipers who had the organ from new in the centre of their gallopers . Emerson & Hazardís leaping hounds ride was taken to Savages in Kings-Lynn who were builders of fairground rides. It was there that the ride was altered and the hounds were replaced with Orton & Spooner horses and cockerels. The ride was eventually sold in 1936 and went on to be permanently situated as one of the attractions at Dreamland pleasure park in Margate. The ride is still in operation to this day and is in the ownership of a man called Mark Money who lives in Tasmania Australia and is now once again steam driven. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the ride as it is today but have been in contact with someone who has seen the ride in recent years and is in lovely condition and a credit to its owner.


 The rides trucks and living vans were transported from town to town by a traction engine named Lightning. Supposedly the engine got its name from winning a friendly race form Jebburgh to Carlisle between it and John Evans burrell traction engine named Edinbrough Castle. Lightning was an 8hp single cylinder fowler traction engine, number 3012 the last of twelve built from 3000-3012 It was new to G. Robson of Newton, St boswells on 30-07-1877. Emerson & Hazards bought the engine around 1906 from a haulage contractor in Wigtown for the sum of £30.00 it was used until 1913 when it was replaced by the now well known Lightning II.


Lightning II was a double crank 7hp Burrell showmanís road locomotive no 3526 it was ordered from their works in Thetford and was to be finished in verdine green, unusual for such an engine as this was the first engine ever to come from the works this colour . It has been said that the engine was requested in this colour due to Randolph Emerson being a Roman Catholic and of Irish origin, other people say its because of where they used to travel and the steam trains being that colour. The engine was delivered to Emerson & Hazards at millom by rail in November 1913 and cost £1,300. It transported the centre truck, my great grandparents living van, the organ truck and water dandy which was one continuos road train. Lightning II was also used for timber work at Rickmansworth Herts during the First World War and then later in the Welsh borders. The engine stayed in the family,s ownership untl it was replaced with two Scammel pioneers one from Edward boxís and the other ex military. Lightning II is now in preservation and owned by Richard Preston (Prestons of Potto) a haulage contractor from North Yorkshire. The engine graces many rally fields and is in beautifull condition to this day.


In 1936 Emerson & Hazards took delivery of a brand new 42ft Lakins noahs ark with the 65 key gavioli organ transferred from the gallopers to the ark, the centre of the machine was mounted on a grand slam bomb carrier which meant that the ride could be built up, pulled down and run without having to remove the wheels.the noahs ark remained in the family untill 1973


when it was sold to Billy Searle a southern showman who owned the ride until his sudden death in 1981 when the ride was to return to a member of the Emerson family two generations on Margaret (emerson) & Randall Taylor who travelled In Scotland.



They kept the ride untill 1995 i think, at which point they sold it to another southern showman Jason Herbert who has the ride to date. During the time Emerson & Hazards owned the ride it went through a few changes, the outside row of animals were replaced with motorbikes, the front rounding boards were altered and in 1967 the animals and motorbikes were replaced with waltzer cars supplied and fitted by maxwells, a ride builders form Mussleborough Scotland. Other than this the ride retained most of its other original features until it was sold in 1973.

 John Emerson was the first child of Randolph & Susannah born 1896, he left the fairground life to train to become a priest but due to unforseen circumstances did not complete his training and had to return to help run the family buisness. He was very keen and knowledgeable about art and had a good collection of oil paintings and fine china. He never married and spent all his life a bachelor and died at the age of 73 on the 31st Dec 1968 and is buried in ulverston cemetery in cumbria.

Elizabeth Emerson was the second child of Randolph and Susannah she was born in 1898 like her brother John she never married and spent all her life helping run the family buisness until she died in 1969 at the age of 72 and is also buried in ulverston cemetery.

 Ernie Emerson born 1900 was the third child of Randolph and Susannah and also my grandfather, he was an inovator and was happiest when playing the organ and keeping the noahs ark running and looking in tip top condition he went on to marry my grandmother Rose Holdsworth and between them they had four children one boy Ernest and three girls Rosemary, Elizabeth (Lily) and margaret. He died at the age of 76 in 1977 and is buried at Heversham cemetery.

 Pauline Emerson was the fourth child of Randolph and Susannah and was born in 1903 she went on to marry Quilly Hoadley, they had their own amusements which were round stalls and a coconut sheet. They had seven children between them, one boy called Joe and six girls, Winnie , Joanny , Sheila , Marina , Suzi and Pauline. She died in 1998 at the age of 95.

Randolph Emerson was the fifth child of Randolph and Susannah he was born in 1904 unfortunatly he did not have the chance to marry or have children as he died at an early age from a burst appendix. He was a great fundraiser and did a lot of work for various charitys he died on 29th may 1939 aged 35 and is also buried at ulverston cemetery.

Lawrence Emerson was the sixth child of Randolph and Susannah he was born in 1905 and went on to marry Nora Jeffries they had their own amusements, a swingboat ride , round stalls and a candyfloss . They had three children one boy laurie and two girls betty and mary-ann.He died at the age of 72 in 1977 and was laid to rest in Bolton.

After the death of my great grand parents Randolph in 1921 and Susannah in on 9th august 1944 it was left to the two brothers John and Ernie and their sister Elizabeth to look after and travel with the noahs ark they spent their winters in Barrow-In-Furness where the family had bought some land and various property. During the summer months they would travel a wide variety of places which included Kendal, Ulverston, Settle, Carlisle, Jedburgh, Tweedmouth, Eyemouth, Gullane, Dunbar, Prestonpans and again back to Kendal. After the death of John and Elizabeth who died within three months of each other it was left to my grandfather to carry on by which time he was quite happy just to stay in barrow on the land that he owned as he was getting on in years. In 1972 Barrow-In-Furness council compulsory purchased the land and property that belonged to my grandfather to build a health centre and ambulance station. In 1973 my grandparents moved from Barrow-In-Furness, having sold the waltzer but retained the gavioli organ they accepted an offer from Mr Bagot of Levens Hall to take up residence in the grounds of the hall and have the organ there as a permenant attraction along with Mr Bagots traction engines. My grandfather died in 1977 at the age of 76 and was buried at Heversham cemetery but my grandmother Rose Emerson stayed at levens for a futher thirteen years until she sold the organ to a Southport showman Herbert Silcock and she moved back to barrow where she bought a house and lived there until she died on 23rd November 2001 at the age of 78 she was also burried at Heversham along with my grandfather.

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