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GOING, GOING, GONE: THE ORIGINAL SOUTHPORT PLEASURELAND (PAGE 3)
by G Radice/H Booth/P Gould/P Grimshaw/R Houghton/D Jones/Kate/M Pavion
Article
: Added 2004 to 2007

themagiceye has magical memories from the Pleasureland of the past:

Noah's Ark, the Trip to the Moon dark ride with that snake at the end just before the slam doors. (Each of the circular Trip to the Moon cars had Apollo X, X1 etc painted on them).

The Pirate (Caves?) Slide walk through, the Haunted Swing, The original Hurricane Jets, the Go-Karts, the 1001 Troubles and all the kiddies' roundabouts at the entrance to the park.

The Ark Speedway, the Ski Jump, the Helter Skelter, the Crazy Cottage (aka the Haunted Inn) advertising outside its entrance the chance to see a creature half ape half woman and me being a disappointed ten year old when I eventually set eyes on a small doll encased in glass which had an ape's face and a woman's body with stars where the nipples should have been.

The River Caves, the smell of frying onions, the Caterpillar taking ages to stop at the end of the ride, the emaciated body peering out of a lit up coffin in the one roomed Ghost Train - those cars sped around that twisting track.

The Flying Saucers that turned on two axes, the (young) magiceye out of breath on the Swingin' Gym, the spew-inducing Scat and the Little Dipper opposite the Cyclone that only picked up speed half way down the first hill and hurt my back as it clattered round back to the station on its three laps.

The Fire Engines next to The River Caves which followed a track into the back somewhere, the original kiddies' Train Engines that followed a twisting, weaving track past a pond, the two sets of Waltzers, the Swirl which became the Black Hole and the Fun House.

Of course, the Cyclone and being able to walk under it to the Go Karts and Log Runner.

Those 'small beady red bits' in the candy floss, the toffee apples and the Side Stalls.

Remember testing your strength with that hammer or your marksmanship on the Rifle Ranges and the Darts?

Remember trying to get those white balls to roll into compartments for an exact score?

The Tri Star, the twisting Scrambler ride next to the Dodgems, the Wild Mouse from Morecambe that became King Solomon's Mines, the Flying Scooters.

themagiceye could go on and on and on...

November 2005:

"General manager of Southportís Pleasureland, Phil Pickett, has denied rumours the amusement park has been sold.

Speculation started earlier this year among the resortís business community following the death of Geoffrey Thompson, a member of the family who own Pleasureland and Blackpoolís Pleasure Beach.

Mr Pickett said: "The rumours are not true. Pleasureland is still owned by Pleasure Beach and there are no plans to sell.

"We are currently looking for a complimentary attraction for the old zoo land, and we are negotiating deals for three new rides for the summer of next year."

January 2006:

Pleasureland's new (short term?) attraction on the site of the zoo is Kombat Zone Paintball.

From Blackpool Today 8th August 2006:

Pleasure Beach Jobs Shock

JOBS look set to go as part of sweeping cuts at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Stunned workers were called to a meeting by managing director Amanda Thompson where they were told the UK's number one tourist attraction was undertaking a review to "increase efficiencies".

Four hundred permanent staff - from white-collar managers to on-site workers - now face an anxious wait to find out if they will be made redundant.

Worried staff contacted The Gazette claiming around 70 workers will lose their jobs, but Pleasure Beach bosses today insisted no figure had been discussed.

An independent consultant has now been drafted in from Europe to look at how savings can be made.

One member of staff, who asked not to be identified, said: "We were called to a meeting at 8am on Friday when Amanda Thompson told us there was going to be some restructuring.

"It's not seasonal workers, but permanent ones - many of who have been loyal to the company over many years.

"She (Amanda Thompson) wouldn't say if the company was in trouble financially, but they must be.

"The staff are terrified for their jobs."

Another employee said: "The Pleasure Beach has a lot of loyal staff and this is not a fair way to treat us.

"The atmosphere is very gloomy at the moment. Nobody knows if they will have a job in a few months. It's the uncertainty that's the worst part."

A spokeswoman for the Pleasure Beach said the company was enjoying a profitable summer and insisted it was not in financial difficulty.

Gill Mathison, head of public relations, said: "We can confirm that Pleasure Beach Managing Director, Amanda Thompson, met with permanent members of Pleasure Beach staff to update them on proposed changes to the structure of the company.

"With the help of an independent consultant, the company has been looking at ways to increase efficiencies so that Pleasure Beach can continue to be a market leader in an increasingly competitive environment.

"Our staff have been kept fully informed during the review of our business and we will work with them to find the best way forward.

"As a family business we operate very much as a team and together we will continue to build on our history and prepare the company for an exciting future.

"Blackpool is preparing for what we hope will be a very exciting chapter in the resort's history and as a stronger, fitter Pleasure Beach, we too are looking forward to this new era."

Around six million visitors flocked to the Pleasure Beach last year - making it the top UK tourist attraction ahead of nearest rivals the British Museum and the London Eye.

The figures were down three per cent on 2004 when 6.2m visited the fun park.

08 August 2006


The Flying Saucers with Ghost Train behind in the 1980s. Photograph: Phil Gould


The Crazy Cottage in an early 1970s postcard view. Courtesy: Gary Radice.


The Crazy Cottage in its 2004 guise as the Haunted Inn. Photograph: themagiceye


The Cyclone at Pleasureland (Southport, Merseyside) pictured on 8 September 2006 shortly before demolition. Courtesy: Gary Radice.

 

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