Pleasureland Memories: A History of Southport's Amusement Park
by Stephen Copnall

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ISBN Number: 0-9544573-3-1
Number of Pages:
Publication Date:
20 August 2005
Skelter Publishing LLP

Before its dramatic and sudden closure in September 2006 the Pleasureland Amusement Park at Southport was a major feature of the town’s tourist industry.

Long before the park opened in the 1920s, the seaward side of the town was synonymous with public amusement. From the 1870s there had gathered a collection of shies, stalls and simple rides at Southport’s southern lake near the foreshore. It was from this haphazard gathering that Pleasureland evolved into one of the most important amusement parks in Britain.

Pleasureland Memories tells the story of how the park rose from the foreshore sands, despite opposition from Southport’s elite – and how a ruthless fight for territory was fought within the park itself, a battle in which only the politically savvy survived.

Since then Pleasureland has ridden the roller coaster of change. From the early promise of being a rival to Blackpool’s famous Pleasure Beach it endured the tribulations of wartime requisition, but bounced back in spectacular fashion in its 1950s heyday. Changing tastes eventually led to a period of decline, but the park enjoyed renewed success towards the end of the Twentieth Century under Pleasure Beach supremo Geoffrey Thompson. Sadly, it was not to last, with the park closing unexpectedly in September 2006 following Thompson's untimely death.

The book, published just before the park's demise, is packed with well over 150 photographs, most of which have never before been seen in print. It is a fitting tribute to a much celebrated amusement park.

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