by G Radice/H Booth/P Gould/P Grimshaw/R Houghton/D Jones/Kate/M Pavion
: Added 2004 to 2007

From The Blackpool Citizen 7th September 2006

Blackpool's struggling Pleasure Beach could get a shot of adrenaline with the transfer of a 5m rival ride from Pleasureland in Southport which was axed this week.

Pleasureland bosses hope the popular Traumatizer rollercoaster, a rival to the Big One, will find a new home at Blackpool as a replacement for its Log Flume which closed on Sunday.

The news comes after management at the Southport site, owned by the Pleasure Beach's Thompson family through a subsidiary, Pleasureland Ltd, announced it was to shut down, with immediate effect, at 5pm, on Tuesday.  

According to a Pleasureland spokesman, discussions are still "on-going" but, if relocated to Blackpool, the 109ft Traumatizer, one of Southport's top attractions since 1999, could act as little brother' to the Pleasure Beach's 213ft Pepsi Max Big One, which has been a flagship ride at the Ocean Boulevard site since 1994.

But both Pleasure Beach and Pleasureland management say it is unlikely the 52 permanent members of staff at Southport, made redundant by this week's announcement, will find work at the Blackpool site which is still looking at the possibility of making up to 70 employees redundant.

A Blackpool Pleasure Beach spokesman said: "We are still going through a period of restructure and have yet to confirm what is happening with regards to our own staffing situation."

They confirmed that despite an "increasingly competitive environment" the future of the Blackpool site is not under threat at present.

Accounts filed at Companies House show Pleasure Beach (Holdings) Ltd reported a profit after tax of 2.1m in the year to March 2005, against a 90,000 loss for the previous year.

Speaking on behalf of Pleasureland, which saw a slump in visitors from 2.1m in 2004 to just 500,000 last year after introducing a 2 admission fee, PR manager, Helen O'Neill, said: "It's extremely sad and disheartening that we have had to do this to our hard-working, loyal workforce.

"But the simple fact of the matter is that the entire theme park industry is struggling, not just here in the UK but also further afield.

"In the current climate the Southport site proved to be unsustainable.

"We are now looking into several possibilities including the idea of relocating the Traumatizer ride to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

"But it is too early to confirm or deny this. Our priority now is ensuring that our staff are taken care of to the best of our ability."

The Blackpool site is now the only remaining business in the Pleasure Beach empire - Morecambe's Frontierland closed in 2000.

Lori Hudson

Dave Jones: Memories

Had only just been to Pleasureland the week before its closure without realising that this would be my last ride on the Cyclone.

So many memories. I used to love the Helter Skelter and the Ski jump when I was a youngster.

Very sad.

Kate: More Memories

Back in 1968 (another time and another place) I had my first holiday without my parents.

I stayed with family friends in Southport and on my the first day my friend (Jacqueline who lived there) and I found ourselves in Pleasureland. I was desperate to go on the fair. Can you imagine the freedom I felt with no adult supervision?

Jacqueline was happy to walk round but HATED fast rides! I thought all was lost till she agreed to go on the RIVER CAVES.

We waited excitedly in the line after paying 6d each at the entrance...As we got to the front and waited for the boat to be pulled in we noticed the young male attendant. We both exchanged glances and smiles whilst he got the boat filled with people and pushed it on its way.

As we left the park sometime later and walked along the seafront the "young attendant" came back into our conversation and there and then we decided to go back the following day and see if we could see and talk to him!

What followed then was a time I will never forget as my friend and I then spent the whole week in Pleasureland! I got to know Barry well and even when it came to his day off we still spent time in the park on the rides!  

I went back to Southport again that summer for another holiday and again I spent it all in Pleasureland along with my friend and Barry. Back then, certain things were quite different...

One thing that stands out was that the attendants stood out from the visitors as they all wore white jackets with a coloured trim. Barry's was maroon which I understood was for the supervisor / senior attendant.

The other workers at Pleasureland (including the part time workers and the students etc) had a green trim. It was the time when two operators ran the park. I'm pretty sure Barry was under the SILCOCKS group.

I remember him telling me that he enjoyed Sunday morning when they all met on Princes Park and there would be a "friendly" football match between the two rivals! This was of course in the days when the park didn't open until 1.00pm on Sundays.

Aaah...Civilized times!

The Helter Skelter aka Mustapha Bowl in 2004. Photograph: themagiceye

Traumatizer in 2003. Photograph: themagiceye

Traumatizer on 28 December 2006. Photograph: themagiceye

Silcock's Tri-star. Photograph: Phil Gould

Helter's Hurricane Jets in 1980. Photograph: Phil Gould

Silcock's Ski Jump and the Sky Ride in 1980. Photograph: Phil Gould


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