lma Johnson - Wall of Death Rider



'Dare Devil' Alma Skinner / Johnson passed away in 2008, a fascinating person with a rich history of stories and photographs depicting her life and times as a Wall of Death rider with partner 'Skid' Skinner. Her pictures capture the maverick and intensely stylish nature of the individuals attracted to this dangerous and glamorous past-time. Many of the riders came from the emerging dirt-track and speedway scenes of the 1930s, full of daring stories of speed and calamity. The individuals were allowed to flourish on the Wall of Death, elaborating their personas equipped with lavish costumes and a bundle of the latest tricks up their sleeves.


This first collection of images shows Alma's time at Scarborough, resident at the town's 'drome' and quickly settling herself as a character about town. Alma was a remarkably strong, fearless and bold person who felt no discomfort in a world populated by dashing male riders.


History of the wall at Scarborough isn't recorded in any great detail, though we would appreciate any memories or factual notes to add to this article.


Alma Skinner and Mrs. Dale, circa 1936


Alma and Rudy Knight, 1932


Unidentified Rider, Scarborough 1932


Alma Johnson and Friend, 1932


R. Hellmuth and Rudy Knight, 1932


Alma and Rudy Rube Knight, 1932


Alma and Friend


Speedrome at Scarborough, 1932


Alma at Scarborough


Wall of Death Company, 1932


Catlin's Orchestra with Alma and Speedy Rube Dancing on the Right


All Images are posted with the permission of  Professor Vanessa Toulmin  National Fairground Archive University of Sheffield,  Photographs are copy-righted 2014 to the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield Library, All rights reserved,  they are part of an extensive sideshow collection. No Images may be reproduced, reposted or used in any manner except that of viewing without the express written permission of the National Fairground Archives. For more information click here  National Fairgrounds Archive University of Sheffield  

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