lma Johnson - Wall of
'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.
Skinner and Mrs. Dale, circa 1936
Rudy Knight, 1932
Unidentified Rider, Scarborough 1932
Johnson and Friend, 1932
Hellmuth and Rudy Knight, 1932
Rudy Rube Knight, 1932
Alma and Friend
at Scarborough, 1932
Death Company, 1932
Orchestra with Alma and Speedy Rube Dancing on the Right
Images are posted with the permission of
Vanessa Toulmin National
Fairground Archive University
copy-righted ©2014 to the
National Fairground Archive at the University of
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
Fairgrounds Archive University of Sheffield
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