Fairground Pioneer

A WELL-KNOWN member of the amusement catering business until his retirement in 1937, Mr. William Holmes Westray, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Nellie Rowley, of 2, Sandbeck Avenue, Skegness, on Saturday. He was 83.
Born in Lancashire, Mr. Westray was the son of the first man to have a steam waggon on a fair ground. As a young boy he travelled with Bostock and Wombwell’s menagerie, and after his marriage to Miss Margaret Jones, in 1887, he again took to the road and the music halls, and played comedy parts.

Mr. Westray, who came to Skegness after the first World War and opened with his own show, The Tarzan Glide, was one of the people responsible for the formation of a Merry Minstrel Club in the town.

He later paired with Capt. Fred Rye, who had a lion show on the promenade, and he was one of the men who assisted in the re-capturing of a lioness which escaped from its cage.


After his retirement from the amusement world Mr. Westray moved to Burgh, and for a number of years he worked as an attendant on the car-park sited on the spot where he had his own show.

President of the R.A.O.B. since, its formation in 1927, Mr. Westray laid the foundation stone of the Buffs’ Hall in Briar Way, which, in 1939, was taken over by the Skegness Working Men’s Club. he held the highest honour in Buffaloism — that of R.O.H.

Mr. Westray and his wife — she died eighteen months ago — celebrated their diamond wedding in 1957.

Besides his daughter, Mrs. Rowley, Mr. Westray has two more daughters, Mrs. M. Short, of St. Andrew’s Drive, Skegness, and Mrs. M. Sharpe, of Lincoln Road, Skegness, a son, Mr. W. J. Westray, of George Avenue; ten, grand children and eight great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St. Matthew’s Church at 12 noon to-day (Wednesday), and cremation is to follow at Grimsby.

Source: Skegness Standard 19th October 1960