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MORE WELSH WONDERS (PAGE 4 OF 6)
by Phil Gould
Article
: Added July 2006
While North Wales was always a regular port of call for my family we had never ventured to the south of the country.
 
This all changed one day in August 1981 when my dad suggested that we take a day trip to Barry Island and Porthcawl.
 
He remembered the resorts from the days when he worked as a sales rep and had to travel the length and breadth of western England and Wales.
 
As I had only seen glimpses of these two resorts and their amusement parks in annual travel guides I was more than keen to pay a visit.

After what seemed like hours travelling across country we arrived at Barry Island and Pat Collins Pleasure Park.


 
Although the famous wooden Scenic Railway had been demolished there were plenty of attractions to hold my interest.
 
On part of that ride's old site was a Pinfari steel coaster called The Galaxy. 

Next to this was the Wacky Goldmine dark ride: wood from the old Scenic had been used to build this ride.
 
Also along this back row, which was furthest away from the seafront, was the Jungle Ride, an updated version of the River Caves, and a small Log Flume, clad in fake rock.

The first ride that greeted visitors at the bottom end of the park was a Reverchon Matterhorn. I think this was brand new at the park. It was decorated in a very similar fashion to the rides at Rhyl and Porthcawl and had a snow scene backflash and glitter ball in the centre. But this version had spotlights on columns around the outside of the track instead of cut out pine trees giving it a more modern feel.

Walking along the narrow part of the park I found a collection of kids rides and stalls but this avenue opened out into the main section of the rides which were situated at the top of the park next to the Butlin's holiday camp.

Swinging high at the seafront side of this section was The Huss Pirat Ship (Pirate spelt Pirat). This, like a few of the other novelty rides at Barry, visited Nottingham Goose Fair in October 1981.

Next to this was another Huss ride, the Enterprise, a fast spinning wheel, which started off horizontal and raised to completely vertical sending its riders upside down at its highest point.

Two other unusual novelties could also be found here. The SwingAround, which worked in a similar fashion to the ride at Rhyl, although I think this was a slightly larger version. It had alternate bright blue and orange arms. 

Next to this was a Telecombat. This was very rare in the UK. An updated version of the popular Hurricane Jets, it allowed riders to turn the individual cars and shoot down the riders in front or behind them.

Other rides included a Swingin' Gym, where riders had to work pretty hard to swing their cage through 360 degrees, a set of Dodgems in a permanent building, a Ferris Wheel which was called Over The Falls and a 'Disco' Waltzer.

This latter ride was one of the last waltzers ever built by the famous company George Maxwell of Musselburgh. It was a very attractive machine which was painted in traditional style with the boards having a base colour of orange.
 
The cars, or tubs, were a very modern shape with the sides sloping outwards making the top of the tub wider than the base.

There was also a standard Bennet Lifting Paratrooper and a Ghost Train called Uncle Frankenstein's Scream Machine.

Finally, hidden at the back corner of the park next to the Galaxy coaster, was a Fun House. I think this had all of its novelties supplied by Modern Products of Scunthorpe.
 
Although Barry Island wasn't the largest of seaside parks at the time it was very well maintained and packed full of the latest novelty rides.
 
When I called in at the park last year (2005) it seemed in a pretty sorry state with everything looking like it needed a good coat of paint...

Nick Laister/Joyland Books 26th October 2006
 
"The South Wales retailer, Hyper Value, is reportedly in financial difficulty.
 
The Company, which owns Barry Island Pleasure Park, is closing several of its South Wales stores following a period of poor trading.
 
Retail restructuring specialist Hilco has acquired a 50% share in the company, following Hyper Value's inability to borrow any further funds.
 
The Merthyr Tydfil-based firm was founded 25 years ago by Ken Rogers, who died in 2001 aged 56. He bought the Barry Island Pleasure Park in 1995 and undertook a 5m refurbishment programme.
 
The future of the Pleasure Park is now in doubt. A statement on the future of the company is expected soon..."

 

Nick Laister/Joyland Books 25th December 2006
 
Famous South Wales amusement park, Barry Island Pleasure Park, might have been saved in an eleventh hour deal between its owners, Hyper Value, and retail restructuring specialist Hilco.
 
Hilco acquired a 50% interest in Hyper Value Holdings Ltd in August 2006 when the business was close to collapse.
 
As part of the transaction Hilco has now also agreed to fund a joint venture arrangement with Ian Rogers, son of the business's founder (the late Ken Rogers), to acquire and operate the Barry Island Pleasure Park including the Dolphin Bar and KR's nightclub.
 
Whether this becomes a long-term solution remains to be seen.
 


The Log Flume, which opened in the 1980 season, in Barry Island.


The Matterhorn at Barry Island.


The Pirat ride, Barry Island.


The Enterprise at Barry Island.


The Swingaround at Barry Island.


The Telecombat with the Galaxy Roller Coaster behind at Barry Island


The Disco Waltzer at Barry Island.

 

 

About halfway down the leaflet above the following can be read: "And opening during the 1980 season is the fabulous log flume".

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