The Big Burton Carousel

Following the huge success of 2020’s Burton Swans Trail, the people behind that have launched Burton on Trent’s second sculpture trail, The Big Burton Carousel. Thirty decorated carousel horses have been installed all around Burton for people to go and visit.

The trail was inspired by Orton & Spooner, a local company who produced fairground rides and attractions at their factory in Burton upon Trent from the late 19th Century until the 1960s, including elaborately designed carousels with horses. The street “The Carousels”, just off Victoria Crescent in Burton, is named as a nod to the factory, which I believe was located nearby.

The trail is raising money for Burton Mind, the local branch of the mental health charity MIND. At the end of the trail (around the end of August), the horses will be corralled back to the stable, where they will then be auctioned off for the charity.

A gala event has been held over Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June to launch the trail at Stapenhill Gardens, coinciding with the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I got up early on Saturday morning to walk the trail, guided by the map and the free smartphone app, both available at the Big Burton Carousel website. The horses have a code number on the base, which can be inputted on the app to unlock the horse and a reward. I completed the trail in just under two hours, and some horses were easier to find than others.

Two of the horses are interactive, with people encouraged to tie a bow to number 7 (Ribbons and Bows), and chalk is provided at number 6 (Blackboard Beauty) for people to write or draw on the horse. People were invited to have their name written on MIND Horse (number 13) in exchange for a donation to the charity.

It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite, as they are all very good, but I would choose Lowry’s Burton as my personal favourite. The artist L.S. Lowry painted many pictures in Burton on Trent, the most well-known being The Crossing, which depicts a brewery engine pulling a load of wagons over a level crossing on High Street.

The trail is live for 12 weeks, so get yourself to Burton if you can to see the horses. Thanks very much for reading.

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