by Gary Radice
Gallery: Added December 2005 (updated 2006/7)

Helter-Skelters hold many happy childhood memories for me. They symbolise a time of excitement and fun. Trying to lift the fusty smelling, big, heavy 'coconut hair' mat up the first few steep stairs...Being out of breath and full of anticipation as I attempted to run (tripping over the mat and cutting my knee in due process!)...The darkness inside the tower and the cracks of light shining through the tall, wooden structure. The never-ending spiral staircase...And then of course, after what seemed an age, getting to the top and being met by the brilliant daylight, the sea breeze and a man whose sole job in life seemed to consist of placing the mats on the ridged slide whilst people positioned themselves ready for the ride down...I wanted a job like that!

For a brief moment back then as I waited for my turn, this excited eight year old with butterflies in his stomach would look down on the rides and side stalls of Southport's Pleasureland in total awe. Everything was right with the world.

 The dictionary defines the word helter-skelter as a high spiral slide as at a fairground but it also defines it as hurried and confused, disorderly, and in haste...I remember riding the Helter-Skelter and being one all at the same time!

Image: Nick Laister/www.joylandbooks.com
Adventure Island, Southend-on-Sea.

Since this photograph was taken, the attraction has undergone a revamp. It now features painted brickwork, comes complete with a red and white striped canopy top and has been renamed The Lighthouse Slip.

Image: Nick Laister/www.joylandbooks.com
Brighton Pier.

"My dad Oscar Wakefield used to work on the pier. He was one of the people who built the Helter Skelter. I believe it came from a fairground in Wales." (Elizabeth Wakefield, 27-05-2005)

Image: Nick Laister/www.joylandbooks.com

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

The Museum occupies a 26 acre urban heritage park in the shadow of Dudley Castle in the centre of the Black Country conurbation of two million people.

Historic buildings from all around the Black Country have been moved and authentically rebuilt at the Museum to create a tribute to the traditional skills and enterprise of the people that once lived in the heart of industrial Britain.

Electric tramcars and trolleybuses transport visitors back in time from the modern exhibition halls to the canal-side village where costumed demonstrators and working craftsmen bring the buildings to life with their local knowledge, practical skills and unique Black Country Humour. 

Since its creation in 1983, the ‘Old Tyme’ fair at the Black Country Living Museum has been operated by the third and fourth generation of the famous Jones family of Cradley Heath who started travelling with the fairs in the early 1900s.



Image: Nick Laister/www.joylandbooks.com

Peter Pan's Playground, Ryde

This 'Slip' can be found at Peter Pan's Playground which is an ideal place for children to while away the hours.
The small park is situated along the Ryde Sea Front, just past LA Bowl and almost opposite The Ryde Castle.

Image: Nick Laister/www.joylandbooks.com

Spanish City, Whitley Bay

Alas, no more...Spanish City closed in 2001.
Whitley Bay, nearby Cullercoats and Spanish City are all mentioned in the Dire Straits song 'Tunnel of Love'.

Image: Paul Beesley

The Village Experience, Fleggburgh

Unfortunately the Slip pictured here is no more. The Village Experience in Fleggburgh UK where it was situated has closed its doors.

Image: Extreme Rides

Dreamland, Margate

Today, December 2005, Dreamland is battling for its survival and would probably be completely defunct if it wasn't for the magnificent Save Dreamland Campaign.
This photo was taken a few years back and comes courtesy of Extreme Rides website.

Image: Gary Radice

Children's Corner, Cleveleys

This photo was taken in 2001 by themagiceye. It's with some sadness that themagiceye reports that this particular slide no longer exists at the park, its place now taken by a mini gondola ride...Great memories though...
...And as at 2005 the future of the small park is in doubt...



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