This Page is an Archive of all news items featured on the Joyland Books News Page between 1 January and 30 June 2008.
For the latest news, click here.

Graeme Cassidy's Great Yarmouth Chronicles [28/6/08]

Graeme Cassidy has been fascinated with roller coasters and amusement parks ever since he sampled the delights of Great Yarmouth and, in particular, the Super Snails, Tyrolean Tubs and Roller Coaster attractions. themagiceye invited Graeme to write an article based upon his observations and memories of Great Yarmouth following a trip report he wrote on Eric Gieszle's 'Ultimate Rollercoaster' forum. Joyland Books has delved into themagiceye archives and presents his nostalgic story of "somewhere very special". Read on...

New circus books available now [28/6/08]

Two brand new circus books have been released and are in stock and being dispatched from today. Circus Transport Photographs Volume 3, compiled by Adrian Corti, features a collection of 250 transport photographs from Britain, Ireland and the European continent. Adrian has a wealth of experience of circus logistics, having worked with Brian Austen's company for many years. Circus Transport Photograph Volume 2 is also still available.

Somersaults and Somer-not!: My Early Life in Variety and Circus tells the story of Johnny Hutch, who became one of the best acrobats and tumblers in variety and circus last century. Click here for more information and here for our full list of our new circus books.

Discover the history of Bridlington's lost cinema[28/6/08]

Bridlington's Joyland Amusements complex, one of the oldest and largest amusement arcades in the country, expanded in 1980 to include the former Lounge Cinema auditorium. But what happened to the rest of the Lounge Cinema? Wes Walker, son of the founder of Walkers Tussauds Waxworks, has written the history of this almost legendary Bridlington venue, which opened in the 1980s as Mountbattens. Click here for 'The Mountbattens Story', which is new to the Pennies by the Sea website.

Popular fairground videos now available on DVD [26/6/08]

Three of Joyland's most popular fairground video titles have finally been made available on DVD. A Fairground Heritage is a documentary on the history of the famous Boston Fair. Transport enthusiasts will want to order Fairground Pull-On, a behind-the-scenes look at the transport used by today's travelling showmen. Nottingham's Goose Fair is covered in Fairground Magic.

These DVDs form only a small part of Joyland Books's huge selection of fairground DVDs and videos, almost certainly the biggest collection anywhere in the world. We hold most titles in stock for immediate dispatch. Click here to see our full selection of fairground DVDs and here to see our full DVD list.

The amazing story of Britain's most famous elephants [24/6/08]

A new circus book, The Legend of Salt and Sauce: The Amazing Story of Britain's Most Famous Elephants by Jamie Clubb and Jim Clubb is now on sale through Joyland Books. The book tells the true story of Salt and Sauce, two Indian elephants, who arrived in Britain in 1902 and became involved in the live entertainment industry from the Music Hall scene to circus and finally Butlin's Holiday camp. This is the story of how the elephants became both feared and loved by some of the most famous people of their era, and how their story became mythical among the circus community. For the first time ever Jamie Clubb, aided by his father, famous wild animal trainer and circus/zoo historian, Jim Clubb, tell the complete and true account of their lives. Click here for more...

Alton Towers tickets only £18: 48% off for 48 hours [16/6/08]

48% off Alton Towers tickets for 48 hours only! Ticket only £18 for limited time only so take advantage TODAY! is giving a massive £17 off regular entry to Alton Towers with 48% off for limited time only. Click here for more details.

Click here for our discount theme park tickets page for even more discounts or here for links to other websites offering deals, discounts and money-off vouchers. Check back regularly as we add new deals as they are launched.

Historic Water Chute reopens [14/6/08]

Scarborough's historic Water Chute is up and running again, following the closure of the Kinderland park in which it was located. The ride is being operated by the North Bay Railway Company, which operates the adjacent miniature railway line. The ride was built in 1932 as part of the development of Northstead Manor Gardens and is one of only three left Wicksteed chutes operating in the country, the others being at Hull's East Park and Wicksteed Park in Northanptonshire. The land around the Water Chute, including the former Marvels Amusement Park, forms part of the Sands redevelopment site.

Above: Back in action: Scarborough's Water Chute.

Seaburn Fun Park closes again [14/6/08]

Seaburn's sea front amusement park - Seaburn Fun Park - has closed its gates after the lessees failed to pay their rent to the Council in time. Park owner Sunderland Council has served a possession order and cranes have moved in to clear the site. The Council will now consider options for the redevelopment of the site.

The park previously closed in 2001, but was saved when showman Billy Joe Butlin took over. However, visitor numbers are believed to have declined, as the park found it increasingly difficult to compete with the much larger Ocean Beach Pleasure Park in South Shields. The 1.88 acre site is now likely to be marketed for redevelopment as part of the Council's regeneration plans.

Special deals on theme park tickets [17/5/08]

We have added some special extra reductions on theme park tickets to our Discount Theme Park Tickets page. Some of these deals - which include £16 off entry to Alton Towers - are only available in May. As always, we recommend that you check this page regularly, as new deals appear all the time. Discount theme park tickets.

New England's most beloved amusement park [30/4/08]

Following its opening in 1894 as a picturesque retreat on the side of Mount Tom, Mountain Park expanded and evolved into one of the most beloved amusement parks in New England. At the beginning of the 20th century, Holyoke was the most prosperous community in the state and the first planned industrial city in the United States. The city’s progress drew crowds of visitors to Mountain Park, and the park gradually developed into a bustling destination. Although the park closed its gates in 1987, the echoes of laughter from generations of visitors still reverberate throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Mountain Park by Jay Ducharme, who worked at Mountain Park for over a decade, tells the full story with numerous wonderful photographs. More...

Reeltime Memories at themagiceye [30/4/08]

themagiceye at Joyland has been bringing you some of the best articles on amusement park history from the archives of Gary Radice's much-loved website. Last month, we took you to the final days of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Virginia Reel ride in The End of the Reel. Now, for the first time since themagiceye has been hosted at Joyland, we bring you a brand new article, Reeltime Memories. The article is an interview with the daughters of the Virginia Reel's inventor, Henry Elmer Riehl, and makes a wonderful companion to last month's article. Read on...

Stamford Mid Lent Fair on DVD [27/4/08]

Hot off the press is this brand new DVD from the good people at BCM Video Productions. BCM specialise in fairground DVDs and videos and they have been producing fantastic videos for many years. Each year they release a video and DVD of Stamford Mid-Lent Fair, and these titles make a fantastic record of this ever-changing street fair.

Stamford Mid-Lent Fair 2008 begins with the extensive pull-on by night and day of showmen's transport into the streets of this ancient market town. This is followed by the official civic opening ceremony, held on the front of Billy Crow's Extreme. Then all the major rides are seen in action at Lincolnshire's largest street fair. Amongst the attractions appearing in the town for the first time were Daren Church's 'Crazy Bounce' Jump and Smile, William Percival's Twist, Jimmy Rogers' High Roller and, from Scotland, John Wheatley's Speed Buzz. More...

New coaster opens at Old MacDonald's Farm [19/4/08]

A new roller coaster - The Wacky Worm - has opened at Brentwood's Old MacDonald's Farm Leisure Park, heading the line-up of new attractions for 2008. Also new this year are the Big Diggers (construction diggers for kids), a new Construction Area playground, The Bull Frogs Show (an animatronics show), The Nature Walk and Adventure Bridges. The park was acquired by the Manning family three years ago, and now also features a carousel, helter skelter and train ride, alongside the educational farm animals.

Grand Pier reopens [19/4/08]

Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier, billed as "a theme park over the sea", reopened today after a revamp. The pier was acquired earlier this year by brother and sister Michelle and Kerry Michael, in a reported multi-million pound deal, following 61 years in the ownership of the Brenner family. The new owners have plans for new restaurants, live music, weddings, children's parties, a museum, new rides, side shows, attractions and market stalls and hope to appeal to locals as well as visitors. The pier has only changed hands three times in its 104-year history.

Fairground funeral [19/4/08]

David Jones, operator of the permanent fairground at Dudley's Black Country Living Museum, has died. From a travelling background, Mr Jones approached the Museum 27 years ago with a proposal to operate a vintage fairground on the site, as fairgrounds have been an important part of the Black Country's heritage. Jones spent the last 27 years of his life operating the museum fairground, a job he loved. The fairground has now been taken over by his sons, Matthew and Dean.

Fall of the Big Top: Major new circus book [10/4/08]

A brand new circus book has been released looking at the big changes in the travelling circus. Fall of the Big Top: the Vanishing American Circus by David Lewis Hammarstrom is a major release that explores circus history from 1793 to the present and addresses the forces of modern culture (such as the popularity of Cirque du Soleil, and pressure from the animal rights movement) that are pushing big top shows toward what the author calls “circus ballet.” Numerous photographs and in-depth interviews conducted with show owners, performers and directors enrich the narrative. The book reveals a sobering contrast between circuses of yesterday and today, even as it honours the outstanding performers who created, and have sustained, the enduring appeal of the circus. Click here for more information.

Margate Scenic Railway partly destroyed by fire [7/4/08]

A fire has partially destroyed the Scenic Railway roller coaster at Dreamland. The Scenic Railway is the UK's oldest roller coaster and a Grade II listed building. Approximately 25-30% of the structure (the main lift hill and much of the central part of the ride) is believed to have been lost, and so has the workshop, which housed all the original trains.

A detailed news report is on the Save Dreamland Campaign website and there is much debate on the Save Dreamland Forum.

Photo: Nick Evans

Killarney Springs not to reopen [6/4/08]

Killarney Springs Family Park in Cornwall, which closed last year after going into administration, will not reopen as a fun park. Its current owners, property developers LandMarque, have secured planning permission for a luxury residential property with equestrian facilities at the 66-acre site. News of the acquisition is here and details of the redevelopment can be found here.

Seaside resorts in film [5/4/08]

A new book - Beached Margin by Jez Conolly - explores the strong link between British seaside resorts and film, asking why filmmakers through the years have been attracted to this particular environment.  The author spent the first 20 years of his life experiencing first hand the conflux of seaside and cinema, as his father was manager of the ABC Ritz and Regal cinemas in the East Coast resort of Cleethorpes. He witnessed part of the post-war decline at a national level of both resorts and cinemas, a decline which was not entirely related. The book looks at the cinematic possibilities presented by seaside resorts and the way they have been depicted in various films and television programmes, including Brighton Rock, The Benny Hill Show, Fawlty Towers, Funny Bones, The Full Monty, Last Resort, London to Brighton, O' Dreamland and Quadrophenia. Click here for more information.

Wonderland Pleasure Park sold [30/3/08]

Nottinghamshire's Wonderland Pleasure Park has been acquired by the Bendall family, which owns Woodlands Leisure Park in Devon and Twinlakes Park near Leicester. The company has a history of investing in newly acquired parks, and a number of new rides are already planned for the 2008 season. The park has been renamed Wheelgate Adventure Park.

41% off Alton Towers tickets [29/3/08]

Our Discount Theme Park Tickets page constantly looks for the best reductions on theme park admission tickets. Until 7 April, is offering 41% off the entry price to Alton Towers if you book the ticket through their website, making admission only £20 (down from the usual £34). There is also 29% off the child admission - now only £17. Click here to go to our Discount Theme Park Tickets page, where there is a link to buy the reduced price tickets. We have also now found offers on admission to Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park in Suffolk and Dickens World in Kent.
41% off Alton Towers tickets...

Vintage footage of Blackpool's Pleasure Beach [29/3/08]

A new DVD has been released featuring some of the most detailed and extensive footage of Pleasure Beach Blackpool between 1914 and 1926 that we have seen. A substantial part of the two documentary films featured on the DVD, Fun on the Sands in Blackpool (1914) and Happy Days at Blackpool (1926), features the Pleasure Beach Amusement Park, with much time spent on rides such as the Water Chute, Witching Waves, Velvet Coaster, Scenic Railway, Virginia Reel, the Whip, the Joy Wheel, River Caves, and the brand new Big Dipper. One of these films was discovered whilst clearing out a shop in Blackburn, the other was discovered in a garden shed in the Fylde village of Westby. The DVD also comes with a bonus film, Blackpool Illuminations 1934, which features good night-time footage of the Pleasure Beach. For more information about this new DVD, click here.

Scarborough Legoland plans scrapped [27/3/08]

Following last month's press announcement that the UK's first Legoland Discovery Centre was to be built in Scarborough (see 10/2/08 below) comes the surprise news that Merlin Entertainments has scrapped the plans. The company decided at an internal meeting yesterday to pull out of the North Bay project in favour of opportunities in the USA and mainland Europe.

Walkers Tussauds Waxworks - new article and photos [24/3/08]

A few weeks ago, Skelter Publishing added a fascinating new article on the history of Bridlington-based Walkers Tussauds Waxworks to the Pennies by the Sea website. Since then, Wes Walker of Walkers Tussauds has been in touch and provided a large amount of new information and some fantastic photographs.

This has now been added to the article, with a large new 4-page photo gallery at the end. The story of Walkers Tussauds takes in vintage fairground rides on Blackpool's Golden Mile in the 1940s, several amusement arcades in Bridlington, three waxworks exhibitions (in Bridlington, Whitby and Blackpool), a horror museum in London and Fort Paull in Hull, amongst its wide range of attractions. Read about Walkers Tussauds...

Bad weather hits British parks [23/3/08]

Poor Easter weather has affected more than one UK amusement park this weekend. The 98ft high Colossus roller coaster was closed at Thorpe Park after a fault developed, and was not able to reopen as the weather was too cold to test it. Temperatures were below 5C, which is the minimum temperature at which the ride can be tested. And strong winds blew the roof off the main office building and damaged the Ghost Train at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach yesterday, leading owners to close the park on Easter Saturday. The owners said this is the first time the park has been closed on an Easter Saturday. Colossus at Thorpe Park is still listed on the park's website as unavailable, but Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach will reopen on Easter Monday, having been closed all day Easter Sunday.

Above: Colossus at Thorpe Park, affected by bad weather this Easter.

Amusement Parks of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware [22/3/08]

A fun, informative guidebook profiling 15 major American amusement parks (and a selection of smaller ones) has just been released by Stackpole Books. Amusement Parks of Virginia, Maryland & Delaware by Jim Futrell includes the history of all these parks, accompanied by vintage photographs and postcard scenes. Visitor information on the location of the parks, their opening times, admission, touring tips, food, children’s fare, special features, and rides round out this useful source on favourite family destinations. Featured parks are Trimper’s (Ocean City, MD), Jolly Roger at the Pier (Ocean City, MD), Funland (Rehobeth Beach, DE), Frontier Town (Ocean City, MD), Jolly Roger (Ocean City, MD), Funland Family Fun Center (McHenry, MD), Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA), Six Flags America (Largo, MD), Busch Gardens Europe (Williamsburg, VA), Baja Amusements (Ocean City, MD), Motor World (Virginia Beach, VA), Go-Karts Plus (Williamsburg, VA), Virginia Beach Amusement Park (Virginia Beach, VA), Blue Diamond Park (New Castle, DE) and Adventure Park USA (New Market, MD). More...


New developments proposed for Isle of Wight attraction [22/3/08]

Robin Hill Adventure Park director Simon Dabell has announced a series of new attractions aimed at increasing visitor numbers to the Isle of Wight theme park by a third. The new attractions will include an unnamed ride, a cinema telling the story of the Island, an interactive experience called The Thunderdome in which visitors can experience a tropical rainstorm, woodland gardens area, Roman villa interpretation centre and an energy centre. This is in addition to moving attractions from the company's fast-disappearing Blackgang Chine theme park, the first of which will be the Frontierland Western Town. Robin Hill currently attracts 115,000 visitors a year.

Signed copies of Blackpool Pleasure Beach book [22/3/08]

Joyland Books has a limited number of copies of the acclaimed book Riding on Rainbows: Blackpool Pleasure Beach and its Place in British Popular Culture signed by its author, John Walton. John is one of the most prominent authors in Britain writing on the subject of seaside resorts, having previously written books on Blackpool and Coney Island. A professor at Leeds Metropolitan University, John's books have become standards for academics and historians researching subjects as diverse as Blackpool landladies and fish and chips. His book on the Pleasure Beach is the first completely independent history of the park. Click here to buy signed copies.

Pleasureland developers announced [21/3/08]

Urban Splash has been announced as the developers of the former Pleasureland site by owners Sefton Borough Council. The Liverpool-based developer proposes an £80m development, to potentially include a winter garden, outdoor heated swimming pool and two hotels. Urban Splash beat off rivals St Modwen Properties and Maple Grove Developments. Pleasureland closed in September 2006, when owners Blackpool Pleasure Beach pulled out. A temporary funfair operated on the site in 2007, which has just reopened for the 2008 season.

The End of the Reel [21/3/08]

When the Save Dreamland Campaign carried out a survey to find out which lost ride members would most like to see replicated for the proposed Heritage Amusement Park, one ride received more votes than any other: the Virginia Reel. themagiceye goes back in time to relive memories of the Virginia Reel at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, courtesy of someone who actually worked on the ride during its final years. Ian Beech's 2003 interview and archive photographs provide a fascinating insight into the last days of this classic ride: The End of the Reel.
The Virginia Reel at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, as featured in the new article at themagiceye

Discount theme park tickets [15/3/08]

Easter is almost upon us, the theme parks are all reopening and Joyland Books has been searching for the best theme park deals available. We have put all the best deals on a new page. We can offer you a 45% discount on tickets to Legoland, 26% off tickets to Alton Towers, 25% off tickets to Thorpe Park, 34% off tickets to Camelot Theme Park and much more. Click here for our Discount Theme Park Tickets page and keep checking back on a regular basis as new deals are added all the time.

Top worldwide amusement parks announced [14/3/08]

Visitor numbers to worldwide theme parks in 2007 have been released by Themed Entertainment Association, showing that Disney parks remain the most visited in the world with 116.5 million visitors. But European operators are prominent, with Poole (UK) based Merlin Entertainments (owners of, amongst other parks, Alton Towers and Legoland) now at number two with 32.1 million visitors. Spanish operator Parques Reunidos is at number 7 (12m) and French operator Compagnie des Alpes (formerly Grévin) is at number 8 (9.6m). The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (Florida) is the most popular park (17m), with Pleasure Beach Blackpool (5.5m) Britain's highest placing - the only British park in the Top 25.

Britain's top 4 parks:

1. Pleasure Beach Blackpool (5.5m) -8.3%
2. Alton Towers (2.4m) 0.0%
3. Thorpe Park (1.7m) 0.0%
4. Legoland Windsor (1.65m) +11.5%

Click here to download the full statistics (PDF).

Oakwood sold to Spanish Aspro Group [11/3/08]

Oakwood theme park, Wales's largest paid for visitor attraction, has been sold for an undisclosed sum to the Spanish tourist attraction operator Aspro Group. Aspro operates 32 attractions across Europe, including water parks, zoos and holiday establishments - more than any other European operator. Aspro already operates two aquariums in the UK. Former owner Paddy McNamara said in a statement today that Aspro has "an excellent track record of operating leisure parks across Europe".

Step back in time at Six Flags park [9/3/08]

Six Flags Over Georgia: Relics From the Vaults allows you to relive history as you take a step back in time to watch the early years of the park. Located in Austell, Georgia, Six Flags Over Georgia was the second park in the Six Flags chain. This DVD contains exclusive, vintage, never-before-seen footage and documentaries on Six Flags Over Georgia and its rides and attractions. See early attractions at the park and watch as the park expands with the addition of roller coasters and shows throughout the first years. Witness defunct rides such as the Mini Mine Train, Drunken Barrels and the Okefenokee Swamp. Take an early ride on the Dahlonega Mine Train, watch the opening of the Great Gasp, or see the construction of the world famous Great American Scream Machine wooden roller coaster. Click here for more details of this special DVD.

50% off tickets to Zippos Circus [8/3/08]

Zippos Circus is back on the road for 2008 and Joyland Books, in association with, is currently offering half price tickets. Adult tickets are £7.50 (normally £15) and Child tickets are £5 (normally £10). Tickets are available for venues across the UK.

Click here for tickets...

Pleasure Beach Blackpool in the news [3/3/08]

Pleasure Beach Blackpool has really been making the news over the past week. Local and national newspapers reacted with surprise at the announcement that, breaking with a century of tradition, the park will be charging for admission from 2009. The entrance charge will be £5, giving visitors a 'Freedom Pass' allowing access to a number of attractions, including the Pleasure Beach Express, Monorail and Noah's Ark. Visitors buying Unlimited Ride Wristbands will enter the park for free, as will under-threes. A few days later, it was announced that the Pleasure Beach was the most visited tourist attraction in Britain, with 5.5m visitors entering the park in 2007, beating the Tate Modern, British Museum and Cornwall's Eden Project. The numbers are down slightly on 2006, despite the introduction of the new Infusion roller coaster (the former Traumatizer from Southport's Pleasureland Amusement Park).

Day of the Knights: Camelot Theme Park [1/3/08]

A 2006 visit to Camelot Theme Park is the latest article to be dusted down from the archives of amusement park nostalgia website themagiceye. Visit a unique Ghost Train in a tent, some wonderful horsemanship, an unexpected goat attack and a ride on a former Dreamland roller coaster in Day of the Knights, an article by themagiceye creator, Gary Radice. And if you just can't get enough of all things Camelot, buy the history of the park in a fantastic book: From a Saint to a King.

Massive selection of rare circus books [24/2/08]

Joyland Books has added thousands of pounds worth of rare and out-of-print circus books in one of our biggest expansions since Joyland Books' launch in 2000. We have tracked down some of the hardest to find circus-related titles and placed them in a brand new department, Secondhand Circus Books (yes, we are good at giving things cutting edge names!). Much sought after books, such as Caravan, Sons of Sawdust and Circus Company by Edward Seago, The Circus Moves by Rail by Tom Parkinson/Charles Philip Fox, Dust, Dope and Sawdust by Paul Carew (pictured right), A History of the Circus by George Speaight and Wings by Veronique Vial, are joined by more affordable titles like Circus by Rodney Manser, Cowboy Roping and Rope Tricks by Chester Byers, Josser by Neil Stroud and Sampson's Circus by Howard Spring. We have also revamped our entire Secondhand Shop, which is now divided by categories for ease of browsing.
Above: Dust, Dope and Sawdust.

World exclusive new circus book [23/2/08]

For a limited time only, Joyland Books is making available brand new copies of the classic 1980s circus book, Circus Press Agent by Gene Plowden. The book is the life story of Roland Butler, who gave us saucer-lipped Ubangis, the giraffe-necked women from Burma, the man who performed atop a ten-storey buggywhip, the man who walked on his forefinger, a child prodigy at the xylophone, and a group that "shakes dice with death at dizzy heights." The book has become a timeless circus standard but was deleted many years ago. Used copies of the edition we are selling (the 1984 version) generally fetch well over £20, but are available brand new from Joyland Books at only £12.50! Click here for more details on this first-come-first-served offer...

UK-first indoor Legoland for Scarborough [10/2/08]

The UK's first indoor Legoland will open in Scarborough in 2009. The complex will be built at The Sands leisure development at North Bay, which is partly a redevelopment of the former Marvel's Amusement Park site. The world's only Legoland Discovery Centre is currently located in Berlin, and features a range of rides and attractions. The Scarborough proposal, which will play a large part in the regeneration of the resort, was put together by theme park planning consultant Nick Laister.

Planning permission granted for new Thorpe Park coaster [10/2/08]

Runnymede Borough Council has granted planning permission for a new roller coaster at Thorpe Park. The ride, to be built by German manufacturer Gerstlauer will feature a 97 degree drop from a height of 100ft. It will be similar to Rage at Southend's Adventure Island theme park (pictured right), which opened to good reviews in 2007. It will feature four inversions, and will join the park's existing roller coasters, Stealth, Nemesis Inferno, and Colossus. The park claims that the ride's four loops will take the theme park up to number three in the world for total number of inversions, at an impressive 18 - ten ahead of the number two in the UK.

Construction of the new ride will commence in May 2008 in the Canada Creek area of the park and it is expected to open for the 2009 season.

New amusement park and seaside history books [2/2/08]

Three new history books have been added to the Joyland Books website. Pocket Belle Vue: Manchester's Playground is filled with wonderful images of the famous amusement park and zoo, many of them previously unpublished. Belle Vue is brought alive, from the beginning of its history until the final days. Two new books take readers on a trip down memory lane at two of the country's best known seaside resorts. Blackpool Then & Now by Craig Fleming and Steve Singleton shows how many of the town's famous landmarks have changed over the years. In Skegness Past (pictured right) by John Cowpe, immerse yourself in photographs of the resort through the years, including the town's amusement parks and its most famous attraction - Butlin's.

Belle Vue Bobs remembered [1/2/08]

To this day, 35 years after its demolition, Manchester's Belle Vue Bobs remains one of the most highly rated, important and revered roller coasters ever to be built in the UK. This month, amusement park nostalgia website, themagiceye, presents a wonderful article by regular Bobs rider George Drew, who recounts his love affair with this iconic Hyde Road landmark. Explore the greatest ride themagiceye never rode - Bobs: George Drew Remembers. And click here for other articles at themagiceye.

Photographs of a season with vintage funfair [26/1/08]

Carters Steam Fair travels around London and the South East, for seven months of the year. The other five months are spent in a frenzy of restoration, painting and repairing. Carters is the result of John Carter's passion for collecting old and interesting items, discarded by the owners, as being too unfashionable or too derelict to preserve. Over the last 30 years a whole funfair has been collected, complete with historic vehicles to transport it from site to site, with vintage living vans to complement the show. Carters Steam Fair: Photographs of a season with Britain's premier vintage funfair does exactly what it says on the tin and follows the fair through a typical year, with stunning black & white photography by Adrian G Shaw and words by Anna Carter. Details...

'You Must Be This Tall' - new amusement park DVD [19/1/08]

This new feature length film documents the long history of Rocky Point Park, an amusement park and shore dinner hall situated along the coast of the Narragansett Bay. For over 150 years, New Englanders flocked to the spot, for a game of Sunday baseball, for a picnic, for a rock-n-roll concert, or to ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Then, in 1996, the park closed. With its rides sold off, the park sits as a ghost town, scheduled for demolition and primed for the construction of condominiums.

The story of Rocky Point Park is told entirely by the people who lived there, who worked there, and who spent every waking moment of every summer at the park. We have collected footage, family photographs, and memorabilia from the park. Along with a couple of local still photographers, we have shot extensively inside the ruined buildings and on the hallowed grounds of the former amusement park. You Must Be This Tall captures all the fond memories left behind at Rocky Point, leaving future generations with a visually-stimulating reminder of the way things were.


Three new fairground DVDs - snap them up! [5/1/08]

Three brand new fairground DVDs have been added to our Fairground DVD Store, all from the reliable hand of BCM Video Productions. Heading up the list is Step Back in Time: A 1960s Fairground, filmed at Kettering. The fair was held by independent showlady Ann Perrett and featured vintage rides such as a skid, chair-o-planes, cakewalk, octopus, ark, dodgems and swinging gyms.

In Fun Fairs on the Move 2007 Vol 15, we see the transport pulling onto the Northampton Balloon Festival and the famous Nottingham Goose Fair.

Finally, Hull Fair 2007 takes us to Europe's largest travelling fair, with a massive collection of thrill rides.

Happy New Year from all at Joyland Books! [1/1/08]

Welcome to 2008! We hope that you will spend the year by regularly joining us here at Joyland Books.

2007 was a record-breaking year for Joyland Books, with website visitors up by a staggering 76% on 2006 figures. And there were many good reasons to come to Joyland Books, the biggest reason being to buy new books and DVDs. Last year saw the release of top titles such as Tracking the Thrills, Townsends: A Showman's Story, Riding the Wall of Death, Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens, The Showman's Forgotten Scammells, The Old Tyme Penny Arcade and Vintage Fairground, The Working Scammell Showtrac and England's Seaside Resorts. The biggest release of the year was Riding on Rainbows, John Walton's new book on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which has quickly become the definitive work on the subject.

Above: John Walton's new book on Blackpool Pleasure Beach's history and importance.

Generally 2007 was a poor year for amusement parks, with the number of park closures accelerating. In January it was announced that the American Adventure in Derbyshire was not going to reopen for the 2007 season. All the rides at Barry Island Pleasure Park were put up for sale in January as the park prepared for redevelopment. The UK's last surviving Figure Eight roller coaster was demolished at Folkestone's Rotunda Amusement Park in April, despite a last-minute effort by the Save Dreamland Campaign to save it. The Campaign also tried to save the world's last surviving water chute at Ocean Beach Fun Fair in Rhyl, after the entire park was closed and demolished in October. It was also announced in June that Metroland indoor theme park in Gateshead is to close and in the same month Killarney Springs Family Park in Cornwall went into receivership.

However, despite all the doom and gloom in the industry, events at Dreamland took a positive turn in 2007 with the launch in May of the Save Dreamland Campaign's proposals for a heritage amusement park on the site. This proposal was quickly supported by the owners of the site and Thanet District Council, the latter of which issued a Planning Brief for the site to ensure that most of it remained as an amusement park.

Above: The Save Dreamland campaign dismantling the Wild Mouse roller coaster at Southport Pleasureland in June. the ride is currently in storage for potential use at the proposed Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park in Margate.
The Campaign took advantage of the recent spate of park closures by rescuing all the historic rides from Southport's Pleasureland (including the Wild Mouse roller coaster and Caterpillar), and the main working parts of Rhyl's Water Chute.

In other 2007 news, a major roller coaster opened at Camelot Theme Park in Lancashire, winning rave reviews from enthusiasts, and temporary amusement parks opened in Southport (on the site of the former Pleasureland) and at Scarborough (on the site of the demolished Atlantic water Park). And themagiceye, the world's best love amusement park nostalgia website was relaunched as part of Joyland Books.

So keep checking back to this site throughout 2008 - there is certain to be as much news as there was in 2007!

Pennies by the Sea website expands [1/1/08]

The website set up in association with the launch of the book Pennies by the Sea: the Life and Times of Joyland Amusements, Bridlington by Nick Laister has been updated with new information not featured in the book. Two new deleted sections have been added, one showing fascinating old newspaper cuttings and the other on crime in the complex. And some wonderful new information and photographs have been sent in by Margaret Broom, one of the granddaughters of Joyland's founder, giving an insight into this way of life. And a new section on Walkers Tussauds Waxworks tells the nostalgic story of Brian Walker's waxwork empire and how it might have expanded into Joyland itself. Click here for the Pennies by the Sea website.

Bekonscot: The Tim Dunn Interview [1/1/08]

Amusement park nostalgia website themagiceye continues to delve into its huge archives. This month's fantastic archive feature is an interview with Tim Dunn of Beaconsfield's Bekonscot, the world's oldest model village.

"The sound of a heavenly choir resonating from a church on a hill. A game of cricket on the village green. A model railway enthusiast's dream and a piece of 1930s rural England where time stands perfectly still." Click here to read this article...

Skelter Publishing looking for salesperson [1/1/08]

Are you enthusiastic about amusement parks, fairgrounds or circus? Do you love books? Do you want to earn some extra money working from home? Then you might be just the person that Skelter Publishing is looking for! The company needs a person who can spend an hour or two a week within normal working hours assisting them with marketing their titles. The role is an informal one, working entirely from home and doing as much or as little as you have time for.

Skelter titles you will be involved with are Riding on Rainbows, Pennies by the Sea, Pleasureland Memories, From Lamp to Laser and Kursaal Memories.

If you think this role is for you, please email us.

News Archives

2013     January to June    July to December

2012     January to June    July to December

2011     January to June    July to December

2010     January to June    July to December

2009     January to June    July to December

2008     January to June    July to December

2007    January to June    July to December

2006     January to June    July to December

2005     January to June    July to December

2004    January to June    July to December

2003    January to June    July to December

2002    January to June    July to December

2001    January to June    July to December

2000    January to December

Search Joyland Books

 Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
 ©2000-2005 Joyland Books. All Rights Reserved.