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A TALE OF SHIPLEY GLEN: THE MIKE SHORT INTERVIEW (PART 4)
Interview by Gary Radice
Article: Added November 2003
July 2004 and sadly your eyes do not deceive you (see picture to the right).
The current owner, Mr. Teal (seen to the right dismantling the ride on 19 July 2004) was successful in his case to de-list the ride following the lack of photographic evidence to date it.
themagiceye respects the fact that he is just exercising his right to do so.Reportedly, the original timber ride from around 1900 was replaced by the metal version in the 1930s.
Due to the information above, the ride was therefore deemed unlikely to be the oldest surviving amusement park ride in the country - the basis for which the ride was originally listed.On behalf of themagiceye I'm sure I speak for many to express my sadness at this but also to thank Mike Short for all his valiant efforts.
Thanks to Mike for the interview.
On the 4th September 2005 The Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds finally closed its doors to visitors for good...
UPDATE FROM MIKE SHORT: 4th September 2005
This was the last weekend of the Shipley Glen Amusement Park and I can't tell you just how sad I feel.
Better known as 'the funfair', it was such an important part of my childhood, as it was for so many Bradfordians across the generations.
Shipley Glen was where I always had wanted to live and that, at last, became possible 18 years ago. My daughter, Jaime, loved it just as much as had I, and as had my parents before me.
Jaime's first ten birthdays were celebrated at 'the funfair' and the Breeze family (the operators) always gave us double the number of tokens we had purchased.
On this, the last weekend, the weather was beautiful and on Sunday, the last day (4 Sept 2005), there were loads of visitors. Some were aware that this was the last day but others weren't: they were there to enjoy themselves just as they had done so in the past - many times before.
The 'funfair' looked more than a bit tatty. With the uncertainty of the last two or three years, the Breezes had eased back on the painting and maintenance - and who can blame them?
But if you looked beneath the peeling paint and concentrated on the enjoyment and excitement of the young visitors, it wasn't hard to see that this was still an important place.
I took a lot of photos on Saturday. Some of the digital ones taken on an ageing digital camera are now on the joylandbooks.com website, courtesy of Nick Laister, and I came back on Sunday to take more.
On Sunday morning I was across the street at 11am to see Alan Breeze open the gates for the last time.
At 5.30pm I went across with my wife, Di Millen, to say a farewell. We cracked open a couple of bottles and after a few hugs it was goodbye to almost a hundred years of history and 18 years with the wonderful Breeze family as weekend neighbours.
They had no choice but to quit.
The Teale family who had owned and operated the Amusement Park from 1966 to 1987 and then who had leased the operation to the Breeze's had, after their unsuccessful housing planning application, demanded a large hike in rent that the Breeze's simply couldn't afford to pay.
The land will become derelict and 'ripe for development'.
Most of the rides have been sold.
The roundabout with its 1940s and 50s pedal cars is to be restored and is rumoured to be going to a London Shopping Centre.
The 'Teacups' are to stay with travelling showmen John and Denise Breeze. The 'Glen Railway' ride is to go to their daughter as a travelling ride. Most of the other rides will have new homes but the Helter-Skelter still needs a home - it's too big for my front garden!
A lot of the slot machines have been sold but the period machines will be kept by Alan and Wendy Breeze.
No more will I hear the sound of excitement as children pass by and shout to their parents or grandparents, 'It's open!'
I won't hear the sound of the 'Glen Railway' ride grating around its small circular track and I won't smell the frying of onions - a smell condemned by the supporters of the housing planning application.
THE FINAL WORD FROM GARY RADICEEver since I interviewed Mike Short on themagiceye back in 2003, I have always harboured the desire to visit Shipley Glen for myself.
By some coincidence I was in the area not long after the first anniversary of the funfair closing.
I wanted to walk down Prod Lane as Mike had described so well in his description of the area, and of course I wanted to see what had become of the Aerial Glide and Pleasure Grounds.
Sadly, The Tramway was not running, due to essential maintenance. But that didn't matter; my family and I enjoyed the walk up the hill.
Mike was right. The area is one of outstanding beauty.But tinged with sadness too..
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|More on Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds|
Joyland Books Shipley Glen
Saltaire Village website
|About Mike Short|
I was born in 1950 in a little Yorkshire village nestling on the slopes of the Pennine Hills.
The village was Honley, close to Holmfirth, a village made famous to British TV viewers as home of the comedy series 'Last of the Summer Wine'.
My parents had both lived in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England and, as youngsters, both had enjoyed many summer Saturdays and Sundays on Shipley Glen and at the Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds.
Although the family did not move to Bradford until 1957 or 58, I had my first visit to this little amusement park and took my first ride on the 'Aerial Glide' at the age of 4 in either 1954 or 1955.
I was one of nine children and, like many poor families living in Bradford, holidays were out of the question.
One of the biggest treats was for the family to take a bus into Bradford, another bus to Shipley and then walk from Shipley to Saltaire, through Roberts Park and across a public common to take a ride on the famous Shipley Glen Tramway.
I can't remember how much a ride on this Victorian cable-hauled vehicular railway was at the time.
I think is was 3d up and 2d down, but it may have been 4d up and 2d down. We are talking about pre-decimal British currency here and 2.4d (old pence) became 1p (new pence) or GBP 0.01 on decimalisation.
A ride up on the tram saved a climb up a very steep old bridlepath through the woods up to the Glen but the price on the return journey had to be reduced to persuade people to take the tram down the track.
With such a large family, we usually often walked up and rode back!
Although the Tramway has closed twice in its history, twice it has been saved and it runs today, the oldest surviving cable hauled railway (excluding cliff lifts) in the UK.
At the top of the tram is Prod Lane, the gateway to the Glen.
The first of the attractions is next to the Tram top station - the Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds.
Every Summer Saturday and Sunday and during school holidays I hear, countless times, the excited cry from a child of:
' Mum, Dad, the funfair's open!'
and that same cry has been heard countless times on every day the Pleasure Grounds have been open since the late 1890s/early1900s.
Every time I hear it, I smile and I am often reminded of my own childhood.