Blackpool Pleasure Beach: A Hundred Years of Fun
A Preview

One hundred years ago a small funfair appeared on the sand dunes to the South of Blackpool, on the site of an old gypsy encampment. Mr WG Bean had started what was to become one of the greatest amusement parks in the world: Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

This book tells the story of Blackpool Pleasure Beach in words and pictures from its beginnings as a small funfair to its Centenary in 1996, when it was, quite literally, on top of the world.

Due to the vision of WG Bean, by the time of the First World War, the Pleasure Beach had become a major tourist attraction and many features which make it so unique today were already in place. Popular rides of the early 1900s were Hiram Maxim's Flying Machine (still there to this day), the Velvet Coaster and the River Caves.

The Pleasure Beach really flowered between 1919 and 1929, when numerous major attractions such as the Big Dipper, Noah's Ark and Virginia Reel were installed. Following Bean's death in 1929, his son in law, Leonard Thompson, took over the reigns.

It was during the Leonard Thompson years that so many of the Pleasure Beach's famous attractions were opened, including the Grand National, Fun House and Ice Drome. There were also many lesser known rides, most of which have long since disappeared. This book covers the highlights brilliantly.

From 1976, Leonard Thompson's son, Geoffrey, took control, and these years saw the introduction of many of the park's most modern rides as Mr Thompson responded to the growth of the theme parks with attractions such as the Revolution, Avalanche and - most famously of all - the Pepsi Max Big One.

This book captures the history, the excitement and the atmosphere of the Pleasure Beach in its 56 pages. It does not set out to tell the story in great detail - that responsibility is in the capable hands of the highly recommended book Blackpool Pleasure Beach: A Century of Fun. Instead, it provides an entertaining journey through a hundred glorious years.


"This celebration of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's first 100 years of operation was a pleasure to read. A history of not only the park, but also the Thompson family, it gave a unique insight into the country's foremost entertainment family. Beautifully photographed, this should be on the book case of every theme park enthusiast around the world."

Mark Wilkins, January 2001


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