by Gary Radice
: Added January 2007

"Until 1960, business (at Peter Pan's Playground and Pool) was brisk.."
Stephen Copnall, Pleasureland Memories

As a child, themagiceye always dreamed of working at the park. It seemed at the time that it must have been the best job in the world!

"..When the company was offered another long lease, a new trend had begun to manifest itself. Children were becoming more sophisticated and some families were starting to take package holidays in warmer climes. By the early 1970s the name of the park under different management, was changed to Happiland..."
Stephen Copnall, Pleasureland Memories

Nick Ousey: It must have been around spring 1974 when I first worked at Happiland. Once you had got the OK to work there you had to go down on a Saturday morning and sign on at 8.30am. After you had signed your name on a clipboard you then had to clean up the park, empty the bins and sweep up all of the rubbish from the day before. That normally lasted till about 10am when you were then assigned to your ride.

My memories are a bit foggy from here but I am sure for the 1974 season you stayed on the ride you were put on all day.

In '75 and '76 you rotated around three rides throughout the day about 2 hours per ride.

It was very much in pecking order to what ride you operated. I think the worst two rides were around the back near the café. They where The Jungle Ride (the ride that I used to love ten years earlier) and 'The Crank'. The Crank was a very old flying swing ride.
It wasn't very big but it would hold about 12 kids on it and you had to actually turn a crank to make it spin around! It was backbreaking on those hot summer days. You always went on The Crank when you first started working at Happiland.

People started to always arrive at the park around 11am, after you had been served tea by 'Fred' at around 10.30am. He always came around with a young helper who gave you a plastic cup then Fred used to pour out tea from a very large teapot. I guess Fred was in his late 60s and when you are only 16 that seems very old!

We used to work till about 6 or 7 at night. Basically we were allowed to go when the crowds of people became a trickle and then when there were just the odd stragglers we got the nod and it was time to lock up your ride.


Peter Pan's Playground and Pool c.1950s. Photo: Flyp

The Jungle Ride: one of "the worst two rides"?. Photo: Merseyblogs

"I used to love the Aeroplanes at Peter Pans...when I was old enough to go on them. The children of today would HOWL with laughter if they saw anything like that in a fairground today. This  is a picture of me aged about 4 on one of the Peter Pan rides (1950s)". Photo: Pedoja

Peter Pan's Playground in the 1960s.


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