by Phil Gould
: Added June 2011
The following decade saw some new attractions added but many of the stalwarts remained in place and this area was still seen as a safe haven from the scary adult thrills on offer in the rest of the park. An early 1970s guide to Pleasure Beach states:

"A complete world of fantasy for the young. Here children will find miniature versions of all famous adults ride. In addition to the 12 rides there is a Pony Track with 25 ponies, a llama ride and a children’s adventure playground. There is a qualified nurse on duty in the adventure playground so parents may leave their children in perfect safety while they enjoy all the excitement of the Pleasure Beach."

Attractions at the park listed are the Mini Skooters, Helicopters, Carousel, Jolly Caterpillar, Fairy Whip, Grotto La Paz, Crazy Daisy, Little Dipper, Kiddy Turnpike, Kiddy Speed Boats and Streamliner. I have no idea what the last attraction listed is. 

In the 1980s the first tentative steps were made to market the children’s section as a themed attraction with the arrival of Funshineland.  In 1937 Tom Purvis had designed a character called Ice Drome Jack to help publicise the park’s new ice rink. More than 40 years on Keith Ingham used this character to create a new motif for the Pleasure Beach. Originally called Mr Sunshine he became known as Mr Funshine. He soon became an instantly recognisable figure on posters, publicity and around the park itself. According to author Peter Bennett this led to some confusion in the Debrett’s Handbook of 1982, which lists distinguished people in British Life. A Geoffrey Funshine was listed as son of Leonard Funshine and his wife was Barbara Funshine!     

Unsurprisingly the Children’s Park became Funshineland. In a mid 80s park publicity guide the area is described as follows:

"Paradise is a kids playground …fabulous fun under a cloud of candy floss…mini white knuckle rides."

Attractions highlighted are the mini Autoskooters and Waterboats. But old favourites such as Magic Mountain, Pony Rides and the Zipper Dipper were still going strong.     

Over the years many quirky features sprung up around the children’s park - the smallest house, the watering can fountain, the totem pole, the comedy figure holding up the monorail and a caricature of the late - and still very missed - Geoffrey Thompson positioned on the mini turnpike.

The Jolly Caterpillar. Picture: Phil Gould

The Watering Can Fountain in Funshineland. Picture: Phil Gould


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