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Chapter Four

The Ballbarrow

James and Deirdre Dyson pushing Ballbarrows around a garden
  • Deirdre Dyson pushing the Ballbarrow around Dodington Estate

    Deirdre and the Ballbarrow

    When looking to promote the Ballbarrow, my bank manager put us in touch with the Codrington family who lived at the Dodington Estate near Bristol. The late eighteenth century house, designed by James Wyatt, was just down the road from where we were living at the time and was the perfect place for a photoshoot. One warm day in 1977, Deirdre pushed a Ballbarrow around the grounds for the camera. Little did we know, Dodington would become our family home 25 years later!

  • Deirdre Dyson holding toddler Emily, a young baby Jake, and a pet cat


    Deirdre with Emily and Jake in our garden at home in Acton Turville. We bought the house from the Badminton Estate in 1970.

  • Deirdre Dyson sitting in a Ballbarrow with Emily and Jake sitting on her lap

    Family entertainment

    Fun at home with Deirdre, Emily and Jake in a Ballbarrow in 1975 at my mother's home in Cley, Norfolk.

  • Jake Dyson puts his little hand into the small garden pool


    A Ballbarrow in France alongside a more antiquated wheelbarrow design. Jake testing the water here.

  • Outside view of Hill Leigh, timber merchant

    Cyclone inspiration

    Local timber merchant, Hill Leigh, had a cyclone to keep the building clear of dust. This planted the seed of inspiration which would become the cyclonic vacuum cleaner.

  • A young girl standing on a Provence beach holding the Trolleyball frame


    Claire Harris, the daughter of a family friend on a beach in Provence with the Trolleyball, which we started selling in 1978. Unlike other boat-launching frames, the pneumatic ball design borrowed from Ballbarrow, allowed it to float and stop it sinking in the soft sand.

  • A side view of a small boat, sitting on a Trolleyball frame


    A Trolleyball in action.