Aunt Smiler

The picture of 'Auntie Smiler' in the last issue of BIGGnews prompted John Palmer to go digging in Salisbury's archives. Here is a summary of his findings.

Height 15 ft ( estimated from photographs )
Built: 1930

'Aunty Smiler', the mechanical giantess, was built by the staff on the Salisbury Steam Laundry for the Salisbury Hospitals' Carnival procession in May 1930. She made 2 recorded outings, the Carnival in 1930 & the parade for the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935. She is also rumoured to have appeared in 1937 with Salisbury's St. Christopher.

She was dressed in a traditional nurse's uniform. Mounted on wheels she was pulled, not carried. A 1930 photo shows her pushing&34; a small car, probably a Baby Austin, made to look like a pram. In 1935 she was pulled by 2 men. She probably had some sort of eccentric axle as she was reported to &34;walk&34; with a realistic gait. A photo' of her & Christopher side by side shows her to be slightly taller - Christopher's height at this time was 14 feet.

Her Earthly remains are rumoured to be in a shed at the end of a Salisbury school playing field. This is currently under investigation.

Most of the information is from Salisbury historian Peter Daniels. The 1930 photo can be found in Peter's book &34;Salisbury in old photo's - a second selection&34; & the 1935 photo' is in the third book in the series ( also compiled by Peter ).

BIGGNews front page