Blackpool 1914, 1926 and 1934
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Release Date: 2007
Exempt from classification
Region coding: 
Not region coded
Running Time: 
Blackburn Archive Films

This DVD is made up of two films, plus a bonus film, that feature extensive shots of the Pleasure Beach in 1914 and the 1920s, some of the most detailed and extensive vintage footage of the park available.

The earliest of the three films, Fun on the Sands, features two of the renowned clowns at the Tower Circus called 'August' and 'September' taking their "old aunt and uncle" on a tour of Blackpool and its Pleasure Beach, finally visiting the Winter Gardens, and then ascending the famous Blackpool tower. The Pleasure Beach scenes are incredible, featuring extensive detailed shots of the Water Chute, Witching Waves and Velvet Coaster in action, as well as numerous general shots of the park. The Pleasure Beach scenes are described as follows on the DVD information sheet:

"The Pleasure Beach footage opens with a southwards pan from the junction of Eastern Avenue and Main Avenue showing the Bowl Slide (1911) - later redeveloped as the Ghost Train; a white circular building; in the distance the Velvet Coaster (1909); the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac - Naval Spectatorium (1910); and the River Caves of the World (1905). A second pan, filmed from the Casino roof, starts in the east and ends looking south along Ye Olde Englyshe Street, now Main Avenue. It shows the House of Nonsense (1911); Sir Hiram Maxim's Captive Flying Machine (1904); the Witching Waves (1913); the Scenic Railway (1907); the Rainbow Wheel (1912) - the outer part of which rotated around a sweeping carriage to render its occupants suitably disorientated, and which was dismantled in 1934 to make way for the Grand National (which opened the following year); and the Helter Skelter Lighthouse (1905).

"The party first goes through the turnstiles to take a ride on the water Chute...They then go on the Witching waves, where individual cars rode the "crest of the wave" on an undulating surface of what appears to be stitched together heavy sailcloth...Next, the group is seen at the pay kiosk "Fare 3D" of the Velvet Coaster, which stood on the south side of Watson Road (and was rebuilt as the present Roller Coaster in 1933). They are then seen on the pull up of the Velvet Coaster; however, all the shots from the front of the car are from the Scenic Railway; the party then arrives back and disembarks at the Velvet Coaster station."

The scenes filmed at the Winter Gardens are also of interest:

"Finally, before the Tower ascent, there is a brief interlude in the grounds of the Winter gardens, which extended from the Big Wheel on Coronation Street up Adelaide Street. One of the Wheel's large passenger compartments can be seen..."

Happy Days at Blackpool is no less impressive in its detailed coverage of the Pleasure Beach, with extensive, close-up footage of the Virginia Reel, the Whip, the Joy Wheel, River Caves and Big Dipper. The film features the cast of the 1926 summer season revue 'Brighter Blackpool', which opened at the Winter Gardens Pavilion on 26 June. From the information sheet:

"The opening pan at the Pleasure Beach was filmed in 1922, the only year that the Twistum was there. By the following year it had been removed, along with the Witching Waves, for the resited Dodgems. (Note in this pan the rare sight of the Rainbow Wheel moving). Although the cast is seen on the Reel (opened in 1922, a month after the nearby Noah's Ark - which is seen in action with customers walking into the attraction) its members are not featured in the footage of the Whip where ladies' fashions suggest an earlier date. They are then with us once more on the Joy Wheel (1910-1937) which stood near the present Alice in Wonderland ride. Next we see them on the Big Dipper; occasionally there are glimpses of the New South Promenade and trams. The tramway had only opened along this newly developed stretch in 1926. At the River Caves, Johnny Jenks is talking to cast members aboard a boat."

This film also includes the South Shore Open Air Baths, Central Pier, New South Promenade Sunken Gardens, North Shore boating pool and Stanley Park.

Finally, there is a bonus film of Blackpool Illuminations 1934. This includes good night-time footage of the Pleasure Beach Amusement Park.

Condition: Very good.

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