This Page is an Archive of all news items featured on the Joyland Books News Page between 1 July and 31 December 2004.
For the latest news, click here.

Loughborough Fair 2004 Now Available on DVD and Video [19/12/04]

A DVD and video showing the 2004 Loughborough Fair in action have just been released by BCM Video Productions. Traditionally the last of the season, this premier street fair featured a superb selection of attractions. Beginning with the showmen's transport pulling on, this is followed by the rides in action.

Loughborough Fair 2004 includes Brandon Bishton's Wave Swinger, Billy Crow's Extreme, Booth & James Leisure's Booster, William Percival's Waltzer, John Silcock's Afterburner, David Wallis's Sea Strom and many more.

This is just the latest in Joyland's massive selection of fairground videos. Click here for a full list of fairground videos and DVDs. We also have a large range of amusement park, roller coaster and seaside DVDs and videos.

Leading Fairground Operator Acquires Eastbourne Amusement Park [19/12/04]

Eastbourne's Fort Fun Amusmeent Park has been acquired by travelling showman Scott Manning. Manning will be permanently based at the family park, and all his travelling rides are now being advertised for sale in trade newspaper World's Fair.

The park, which has seen substantial development and modernisation over the past few years, includes rides such as the Runaway Train Rollercoaster, Junior Paratrooper, Jets and a 6-Lane Giant Astroglide. The 2-acre family fun park has also recently added a themed Adventure Golf and the indoor Rocky's Adventureland.

Major 2004 Fairs Captured on DVD [8/12/04]

Two of Britain's biggest and most famous fairs can be visited on DVD as BCM Video Productions launch their latest titles.

Goose Fair 2004 visits Nottingham's big fair, with the pull-on and the rides shown in action. New and familiar rides were present, and the unique atmosphere is captured on this DVD.

Britain's other giant fair is the annual Hull Fair. BCM Video Productions have captured the rides in action on Hull Fair 2004, as well as the transport and living wagons pulling off the fairground.

There is still time to order these titles for Christmas. Click here for more fairground videos and DVDs, or here for a full list of our video/DVD titles.

Pleasure Beach News [30/11/04]

Pleasure Beach Blackpool is to contract out all its games operations from the 2005 season, following a successful trial at sister park Pleasureland, Southport. HB Leisure of Llandudno will be taking over operations. Rides, food, retailing and shows will continue to be operated by the park and its sister companies. In other Pleasure Beach news, Managing Director Amanda Thompson, has appointed three new directors to the board: Jim Rowland as group operations director, Mike Brown as group commercial director and Robert Owen as marketing director. Their new appointments will come into effect for the 2005 season.

Tussauds Plans Theme Park Casinos [15/11/04]

The Tussauds Group plans to move into the casino market following the forthcoming deregulation of the UK's gambling laws. The Company is talking to major international gaming operators about building casinos next to its theme parks, in a move that could be controversial given the parks' popularity with children. The Company plans to build on spare land around Thorpe Park, including possibly draining part of a lake. Tussauds is also planning hotels at Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, and Heide Park, north Germany.

Amusement Park Enthusiast Organisation to Honour Deceased Life Members at Trade Convention [13/11/04]

The National Amusement Park Historical Association will hold a presentation to honour and pay tribute to two of its Life Members, Geoffrey Thompson and his mother, L. Doris Thompson, who passed away this past year, during an industry convention this month. The presentation will occur on the trade show floor during the annual convention of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (I.A.A.P.A.) in Orlando, Florida at 4:00 PM on Wednesday November 17, 2004 at the booth of Give Kids the World, an I.A.A.P.A. partner whose cause has been warmly embraced by the members of I.A.A.P.A.
When told of the presentation, Blackpool Pleasure Beach Managing Director Amanda Thompson said: "Both my Father and Grandmother were passionate about amusement and theme parks, in particular preserving the historical aspect. This is evident at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool where we still have 5 wooden rollercoasters amongst other original and historic features. I am delighted to attend this presentation which honours the lives of 2 of my family members and will aid a very worthy charity, Give Kids the World."
 

Oxford and Great Dorset Steam Fair on DVD [16/10/04]

Two new videos and DVDs have been added to Joyland Books.

The Fair at Great Dorset Steam shows both traditional and modern rides at this famous steam fair. As a bonus there are also showmen's engines, fair organs and old fairground transport. Click here for more details. Fans of the Great Dorset Steam Fair can also buy the 2002 DVD and video by clicking here.

Also newly released is a new DVD/Video of two famous Oxfordshire fairs: the Oxford St Giles and Thame Fair 2004, both captured on one DVD/Video. See waltzers, dodgems and Oxfordshire's beautiful street locations in this fantastic DVD/Video.

We have loads more fairground DVDs and videos; click here to view them all.

Great Secondhand Books Added [9/10/04]

Hold onto your hats, as more secondhand books are added to our Secondhand Shop, this time featuring everything from roller coasters and amusement parks to the seaside and travelling fairs.

We have the third edition of the popular Amusement Park Guide, a guide to the USA's top amusement parks and theme parks. We also have a rare copy of the currently out of print Belle Vue by Jill Cronin, plus a secondhand copy of Whitley Bay, which features the Spanish City amusement park extensively. The rare early 1990s booklet from Blackpool Pleasure Beach called Where the Theme is Fun has also been added.

For lovers of the British seaside, we have British Piers, Seaside Architecture and Pavilions on the Sea. Plus two books about saucy seaside postcards: The World of Donald McGill and Wish You Were Here.

Click here for the Secondhand Shop, where you will find even more new additions.


Above: The Amusement Park Guide

Acclaimed Fairground Books Arrive at Joyland [8/10/04]

With the launch of a new book on the history of Bridgwater's famous St Matthew's Fair, Joyland Books brings you a whole new range of classic fairground books from New Era Publications.

Besides this fantastic new title, New Era publish a wide range of books for the serious fairground enthusiast. The Travelling Cinematograph Show traces the early history of moving pictures on the fairgrounds, the forerunner of our modern cinemas. Philip Bradley's Fairground Photographs and Notes is a fascinating trip back to the fairground world of the 1930s. My Travelling Family by Eleanor Green tells the story of the Mitchell fairground family. Click here for even more New Era titles.

More Fun Fairs on the Move [2/10/04]

In the latest in the popular Fun Fairs on the Move series, we visit Wellingbrough, Newcastle Town Moor, Peebles and Galashiels to see fairground transport in action.

Beginning with Stevens' fair pulling off wet ground at Wellingborough, this is followed by some of the many showmen's transport, pulling off muddy ground on the Newcastle Town Moor. With farm tractors and chains having to be used on several loads, this fair was difficult for the showmen. From Peebles Fair, the programme moves to the pull-on at the Scottish border town of Galashiels.

Click here for details.

Pleasure Beach Blackpool News [19/9/04]

Pleasure Beach Blackpool is about to build its biggest ride yet, a massive new roller coaster that will fire riders out over the Irish Sea, according to a report in the Blackpool Gazette. The new ride, which will be bigger then the Big One, will cross the Promenade and tramway onto a specially constructed new pier. No further details are known at the present time, but news will be posted here as it breaks.

In other Pleasure Beach news, the popular Bean Street Food Court - Britain's first food court - was destroyed by fire on 2 September. And the Grand National roller coaster, itself partly damaged by fire in May, is to reopen within days with trains being tested on the ride over the past few weeks (see right).


The Grand National being tested in early September (Courtesy: Ashley Staniworth)

See rare pictures of Blackpool Pleasure Beach in this fantastic new book!

Kiddies Corner Fun Park at Cleveleys to Close [19/9/04]

A campaign has been launched by the operators of the Kiddies Corner Fun Park at Cleveleys in Lancashire after Wyre Borough Council served notice on them to quit the site. The park, which is the main attraction in the small coastal resort near Blackpool, has been operated by the Mason family for 42 years, and no explanation has been given to them by the Council for the notice. A table has been set up at the fun park for visitors to sign a petition to save the park. Already over 10,000 signatures have been received. Visitors, local traders and local residents are already calling on the Council to pledge to allow the fun park to remain on the site. If you do not want to see Kiddies Corner closed, you can write to: Philippa Davies, Business Support, Wyre Borough Council, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde FY6 7PU.

Blackpool Illuminations Celebrate 125 Years With New Book [3/9/04]

An electrifying 125 years of the Blackpool Illuminations were celebrated in style on 3 September 2004, with the launch of a spectacular new book: From Lamp to Laser: the Story of the Blackpool Illuminations. Written by prominent local author and historian Terry Regan and Illuminations expert Andrew Hazlehurst, the book takes a roller coaster journey through 125 electric light years, including colourful tableaux, celebrity switch-ons and a fascinating journey behind the scenes. Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell switched on the 2004 Lights and launched the year's celebrations, which will be marked by a special event on 19 September 2004, 125 years to the day since the first Lights were lit. The launch weekend also included an appearance by co-author Terry Regan on the BBC's popular Loose Ends show on Radio 4, with Ned Sherrin. Click here for more details of this acclaimed book.
Trip the lights fantastic: From Lamp to Laser

Blackgang Chine Coaster Dismantled [29/8/04]

The new Tornado coaster at the Isle of Wight's Blackgang Chine Theme Park has been dismantled and returned to its Italian manufacturer after it failed to meet UK safety specifications. Blackgang Chine is now demanding its £200,000 back from the manufacturer, Westech Ltd, who made five failed attempts to rectify the problem and receive UK health and safety approval since the ride was constructed in spring 2003. Structural modifications to the ride have included replacement supporting columns, but the required clearance between riders and supporting stanchions was still not achieved. The removal of the ride leaves a gaping hole in the centre of the park, one that the owners promise will be filled by a new ride next year. Blackgang Chine directors are currently "scouring the world" for a new ride, and have not ruled out the possibility of ordering another ride from Italy. Chine Director, Simon Dabell, estimates that in preparing the site, buying the ride and lost takings, the roller coaster problems have cost the park £500,000.

Super-sized Disk 'O' for Flamingo Land in 2005 [27/8/04]

Flamingo Land has announced that its new ride for 2005 will be a large version of the popular Disk 'O' ride. The Disk 'O' has unique outward facing seating which enables all passengers to view the park from about 60 feet in the air before the kamakaze plunging of the carriage takes them to the opposite side of the track! Flamingo Land announced only two weeks ago that a large number of their rides were for sale to make space for new attractions. Smaller Disk 'O' rides opened for 2004 at Southend's Adventure Island and Great Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach. (Courtesy: Jamie Baxter)

The Cheeky Girls Launch National Funfair Week [26/8/04]

The Cheeky Girls made a special appearance at Bob Wilson's Funfair at Ealing Common today to launch ‘National Funfair Week’ - in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSHCC). Joining the twins were locally based out-patients and former patients of the famous children’s hospital, who will enjoy an afternoon of free funfair rides. Also lending his support was the Mayor of Ealing, Cllr Ian Potts, who attended alongside other civic guests and personalities from the area. Wilsons threw the fair open for the afternoon with all proceeds from rides taken between midday until 6pm donated to the GOSHCC. The fair is open as normal daily until Tuesday 31st August.

Flamingo Land's Biggest Rides For Sale [12/8/04]

North Yorkshire theme park Flamingo Land has put many of its biggest rides on the market as part of a planned major "park restructure". Giving the reason that "we simply need the space", the park has decided to sell its three main roller coasters: the triple looping Magnum Force, the Bullet shuttle loop coaster and the Thunder Mountain Pinfari coaster. Also featured in the large double page colour advert in today's issue of trade newspaper World's Fair are several of Flamingo Land's other biggest rides, including the Top Gun, UFO, Flamingo Star 'Tristar', Jets, Formula K Go-Karts and the Ghost Train (currently in storage). Flamingo Land has embarked on a development programme to replace temporary travelling rides with permanent theme park-style attractions, in new themed areas such as the new-for-2004 Lost Kingdom, featuring the Lost River Ride.
Above: Going: the towering Magnum Force coaster.

Front Seat Thrills 2 Out Now [11/8/04]

The long-awaited Front Seat Thrills 2 is out now. This is our newest release of original roller coaster documentaries. In this DVD, you will get to ride in the front seat on 35 roller coasters. Featuring front seat, unobstructed, uninterrupted, full circuit 'point of view' rides on some of the most amazing roller coasters in the world.

Ride front seat on coasters like Talon, Goliath, Dueling Dragons, Moonsault Scramble, Stunt Fall, Wild Wild West, Magnum XL 200, Superman Ultimate Flight, and much more. There is even some bonus footage from Hercules at Dorney Park that will allow you to take a final ride on this extinct coaster! Front Seat Thrills 2 is a DVD for the coaster enthusiast who likes nothing but full 'point of view' shots on coasters! No annoying narration or distracting visuals. No fluff, no frills.... just Front Seat Thrills! Click here for more information.


Above: Take a front seat ride on coasters from around the world - Front Seat Thrills 2.

More Fun Fairs on the Move [20/7/04]

One for the fairground transport enthusiast, the latest in the popular Fun Fairs on the Move series is Volume 8, which shows fairground transport at Knutsford Heath and Cambridge Mid-Summer Fair.

Here is the full series:

Volume 1: Wakefield and Hertford (2002)
Volume 2: Knutsford and Spalding (2002)
Volume 3: Nottingham Goose Fair (2002)
Volume 4: Wakefield, Spalding, Boston and Corby (2002)
Volume 5: St Albans and Paignton (2003)
Volume 6: Barnstaple and Banbury (2003)
Volume 7: Stamford, Wakefield and Spalding (2004)
Volume 8: Knutsford and Cambridge (2004)

An Elephant's Journey: From Menagerie to Belle Vue Zoo [20/7/04]

When travelling menagerie owner Alexander Fairgrieve - the operator of the famous 'Wombwell's Royal Number One' menagerie - decided to retire, he sold his animals by auction in Edinburgh. One animal, the Asian Elephant called Maharajah, was purchased by Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in Manchester.

It was planned to send him by train to Manchester, but this plan was rapidly altered after he severely damaged a railway carriage. His keeper suggested that they should walk to Manchester, and this they did over the next ten days. Subsequently the tale of the walk entered zoological and fairground folklore, suffering some alterations over time and being linked with several other incidents. Click here for more information about the fascinating book The Elephant Who Walked to Manchester.

Aerial Glide Ride De-Listed [19/7/04]

The Aerial Glide ride at Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds has been de-listed by English Heritage following a successful appeal by its owner. Demolition has already commenced, with the photograph to the right - taken at 4.15pm this afternoon - showing the owner Mr Teale dismantling the ride.

There are still two listed amusement park rides in the United Kingdom: the Scenic Railway at Margate's Dreamland, and the Water Chute at Hull's East Park.

The History of Dorney Park Comes to Life in New Book [18/7/04]

The history of one of America's great old amusement parks is brought to life in this new book in the Images of America series. Among the vintage photographs and postcards, Dorney Park includes images of the Mill Chute, or the Tunnel of Love, as it was also known; the old wooden roller coaster under construction; the Zephyr train, a headliner in the park for many years; Castle Garden; the original Dentzel carousel; the racetrack; and the merry-go-rounds that were once a major attraction at the park.

Bob Ott, one-time owner of the park, shares his photographs, postcards, and experiences with Wally Ely to bring the history of Dorney Park to life.

Click here for more details. Or click here for more books on amusement park history.

Amusement Parks of the UK on DVD! [18/7/04]

Just For Fun: Amusement Parks of the United Kingdom is now out on DVD. This US-produced documentary visits nine of Britain's most famous amusement parks: Dreamland, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, Joyland, Gulliver's World, Alton Towers, Oakwood, Frontierland, Pleasureland and Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

The film includes on-ride footage of many of Britain's most amazing amusement park rides. Hop on board modern steel coasters such as Nemesis and the Pepsi Max Big One. Ride no less than nine wooden coasters, including Morecambe's Texas Tornado (demolished in 2000) and the threatened Scenic Railway at Margate. Click here to buy this DVD for £16. Plus we have reduced the video from £28.63 to only £16, a saving of £12.63!

Coney Island Arrives on DVD [18/7/04]

Our two popular Coney Island videos have now arrived in DVD format, and the price has dropped! Volume 1 captures Coney Island on film from 1917 to 1936, a DVD of classic memories. Volume 2 shows Coney Island from 1936 to 1954 as the glow from its million coloured lights begin to fade. Both DVDs feature documentaries and independent films of Coney Island in the past, and illustrate well its gradual decline from the world's greatest amusement park to the tarnished playground she had become by the 1950s. Click here to buy Volume 1 for £13.00, and here to buy Volume 2 for £13.00.

And we have now reduced the price of the original videos, from £24.99 each to £13.00 each, a saving of £23.98 across the two tapes!

New to Joyland: The History of a Popular Amusement Pier [18/7/04]

Teignmouth Pier has been a major tourist attraction in this Devon seaside resort for over 140 years. This is the first time a book has been written about the pier, which today features a large range of amusements from slot machines in the pavilion to rides on the outside deck.

The pier has had an ever-changing life and had extensions added and removed, boats bumping into it, deck sections cut away and replaced, bombs dropped next to it, machine gun bullets riddling it and has even had bits blown away by dynamite. This book includes photographs of everything from storm damage to people enjoying the rides. Click here for more information.

Keep Yourself Entertained in Theme Park Queues [18/7/04]

A creative amusement park enthusiast has written a new book specifically for keeping you and your family and friends, entertained while waiting in those long theme park lines. Containing over 50 pages of games, activities and ideas, 'Amusement 4 Theme Park Queues - Idea Pocket Book' is the ultimate in weapons against those dreaded long waits. This book caters for any scenario at any theme park with long queues. Whether it's your first visit or your 20th for that year. Whether you're old or young, in a group or visiting alone, this pocket idea book will help those hours of waiting fly right past.

Click here for more details.

125 Years of Blackpool Lights: Pre-Order Now [17/7/04]

2004 is the year that Blackpool celebrates 125 electric light years. In 1879, the first ever Blackpool light show was switched on, an event that received national newspaper coverage. Now, 125 years on, this nine week, six mile long show is a national institution. From Lamp to Laser: The Story of the Blackpool Illuminations is a nostalgic journey through the lights, featuring well over 200 photographs, many in colour. From the cliff-top tableau at Bispham to the celebrities who have switched on the lights each year, this is the definitive celebration of "the greatest free show on earth".

The book is available to pre-order now and will be dispatched several days before its official release date on 19 September 2004. Click here for more details.

Pre-Order Front Seat Thrills 2 Now [12/7/04]

Joyland Books is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of the sequel to one of the most popular roller coaster DVDs of recent years: Front Seat Thrills. The new DVD, Front Seat Thrills 2, includes several never before seen coasters and exciting 'point of view' (POV) footage of the now gone Hercules at Dorney Park and Moonsault Scramble in Japan. Nothing but full POV shots on coasters. No annoying narration, no distracting visuals, just Front Seat Thrills!

This DVD will be released in a few weeks, but you can be one of the first to own a copy by pre-ordering now on Joyland Books. Your copy will be dispatched on release. Click here for more details.

Pleasurewood Hills Acquired by Grévin et Cie [5/7/04]

Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park in East Anglia has been acquired by major European theme park group Grévin & Cie. Pleasurewood Hills opened in 1983 and had 250,000 visitors in 2003. Grévin is one of Europe's biggest theme park operators, with a portfolio of 13 attractions in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and now the UK. Their existing parks include Parc Astérix and Bagatelle in France and Panorama Park in Germany. Theme park planning consultant Nick Laister of RPS assisted Grévin & Cie in sourcing the transaction. Grévin & Cie plans to relaunch the Park. The full official press release can be found here: Grévin Press Release.
Above: Pleasurewood's Cannonball Express roller coaster.

Drayton Manor Chairman Awarded OBE [4/7/04]

The founder and Chairman of Drayton Manor Theme Park (Tamworth, Staffordshire) has been awarded an OBE for his contribution to tourism in the UK. George Bryan, 83, founded the 250-acre theme park in 1949, and gradually developed it over the years. Major developments included the opening of the Zoo in 1957 and the opening of the UK's first stand-up roller coaster - Shockwave - in 1994.

Devon Theme Park For Sale [1/7/04]

Once Upon a Time, the popular children's theme park, is for sale. The park, which is based around the former Woolacombe and Mortehoe Station, features many children's rides and attractions, as well as a shop, cafe, play areas and grottos. The business, which is currently sister park to Watermouth Castle Theme Park, is priced at £800,000.

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