Used circus books added
1 April 2024

Billy Smart's Circus: A Pictorial History

Belper's fairground heritage
1 April 2024

This is the long overdue history of a town with a great fairground history. Belper's Fairground Heritage by Neil Calladine tells the story of a fair that has been coming to Belper for hundreds of years.

It demonstrates that showpeople have strong roots, with families associated with the fair living and working in Belper for many years. There is focus on two such families: the Halls and the Proctors.

The book provides much detail on Belper's fair, with lots of detail on the people who owned and operated the fairs which will be o great interest to people with an interest in local history and fairground historians. More...

Joby Carter's two books on fairground signwriting available now
March 2024

In 2020, with interest in signwriting exploding, Joby Carter co-published his first signwriting and fairground art book with designer Scarlett Rickard.

Signwriting Tips, Tricks and Inspiration has since sold 10,000 copies to readers based in over 50 countries around the world. It is an entertaining and immersive guide to the wonderful world of traditional signwriting and fairground art. More...

In Novmber 2023, Joby published his second book All the Fonts of the Fair, which features 26 beautiful fairground inspired alphabets which were all designed and painted using traditional signwriting techniques. More...

The autobiography of showman John Culine MBE published
January 2024

John Culine was born in a caravan on May 31st 1947. At the age of 11 he left school and began the way of life previously led by his celebrated ancestors, stars of the worlds of circus and fun fairs.

John learned the trade - the life - well and went on to not only become the President of the Showmen's Guild and recipient of an MBE for his untiring work on behalf of showmen and many charities, but he also became Mayor of Spennymoor.

The Mayor from the Fair by John Culine is the story of a man and his amazing heritage. You will laugh, you will cry, you will help repair engines, paint stalls and enjoy the smell of candy floss and hot dogs. You will love seeing the crowds flock for their own fun of the fair. More...

Used fairground and circus books added to the Secondhand Shop
2 January 2024

Happy New Year from Joyland Books!

We have significantly expanded two departments of our Secondhand Shop. We have added lots of new Fairground and Circus books to the store, and to celebrate the New Year we have also reduced a number of items in the various departments, so it is a chance to snap up a bargain. As these are secondhand books, when they are gone, they are gone.

Visit our main departments for used books:
Amusement Parks

New release Disney theme parks documentary and special offer
31 December 2023

The sixth and final DVD in the Disneyland California documentary series has been released. Disneyland 2000-2009 shares the history of Disneyland during the infancy of the new Millennium including the parades added, the closing of some shops and eateries and the addition of three new attractions: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster; and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. More...

We have also added a special offer. Buy all eight 'Theme Park Series' DVDs and save £15! This series includes a documentary about Walt Disney World in Florida and Disney's California Adventure Theme Park. More details of this offer at the bottom of the Disneyland 2000-2009 page.

'The Land' and 'Ride-Thru' series of DVDs added
30 December 2023

Joyland Books has added a new range of DVDs from Theme Parkology. 'The Land Series' (Disneyland) and 'Ride-Thru Series' (Walt Disney World) provide a front-row view of some of the most famous attractions at these two parks. The following titles have been added:

The Story of the Rowland Family
30 December 2023

The Romany and Traveller Family History Society has published Fairground Destiny: The story of the Rowland family. It’s the latest book from Frances Brown, the highly regarded author of fairground history and Traveller family history books.

In this first ever published account of the Rowland family, Frances traces her ancestors’ lives as they evolve from 18th century hawkers, dealers and basket-makers to become 21st century riding-masters, one of the leading names on the British fairground.

It is available at Joyland Books at a reduced price. many of our titles are sold at a significant discount from the RRP. More...

Updated version of travelling showman biography
29 December 2023

The Life of a Showman by Martin MacGilp is based on the Second Edition of the biography of David Prince Miller. It has been edited, with an essay and other additional material on Miller by MacGilp and is published on the Gilpress imprint.

With over 350 pages, the book has been fully-indexed, along with the addition of a genealogical chart, and 39 illustrations, some of which are being published for the first time.

This publication brings together Miller’s lively text, a new essay on Miller and his life, and additional information on his children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren, particularly those who became involved with theatricals. More...

Memories of a reluctant traveller
28 December 2023

Jean Stirling, of Penicuik, has released a memoir about her life growing up as part of a family of travelling showpeople in Scotland. Flattie tells the story of her 'merry-go-round' life on the road with her family's fair.

The book is an insight into the culture of travelling showpeople during the 1940s to 1960s, and is a personal account of this way of life. In this period, fairs opened at almost every highland games event and on miner's gala days.

Jean's life on the road was a result of her mother (who was not a traveller) meeting her Dad, who was a serving soldier in World War 2, but not being aware that he was a showman. Hence, this wonderful life began. More...

Mont Blancs and Airways
27 December 2023

Prolific fairground authors Kevin Scrivens and Stephen Smith have assembled another of their comprehensive ride surveys. Mont Blancs and Airways divides the rides into separate chapters, listed under their owner, and provides the history of the individual ride, illustrated by black and white photos. More...

Other ride surveys available on Joyland Books:
Scenic Railways

Steam Yachts

Mont Blancs and Airways by Scrivens and Smith

Illustrated history of the Thurstons
9 May 2023

One of the most prolific writing partnerships in the fairground world is that of Kevin Scrivens and Stephen Smith. Their books are known not only for their accuracy and interest, but also for the in-depth approach they take to each subject, aiming to produce books that become the definitive work on a specific subject.

The Famous Thurstons: An Illustrated History is their latest work. The name of Thurston is recognised amongst travelling showmen throughout Britain. As the Fairground Society published the original version of the Famous Thurstons, it seemed only right and proper that they should do it again. This is a glimpse into fairground history. More...

Origins of the Stamford Mid-Lent Pleasure Fair
8 May 2023

Joyland Books is proud to be a supplier of independently and self-published books, that are hard to find online and in bookshops. Stamford Fairs and Markets by Keith Hansell is a perfect example of why Joyland Books exists.

Markets and annual fairs have been held in the streets of Stamford since Saxon times. Originally established for trading specific goods and livestock, they have adapted over the centuries, resulting nowadays in the Friday market and mid-Lent funfair. Keith Hansell looks at the history and origins of the Mid-Lent Fair through the great markets and fairs of the town, supported by numerous black & white photographs, many never seen before. More...

A Tale of Murder and deceit in Edwardian England
16 April 2023

On 28 November 1911 a retired showman died violently at his home in North London. Known to the world as Lord George Sanger, he was once the biggest name in show business, and was venerated as a national institution. He was a circus entrepreneur and co-founder of what would become Dreamland in Margate - Hall by the Sea.

The Killing of Lord George by Karl Shaw tells the story of the death of the internationally famous showman, which was reported in the newspapers and received with horror and disbelief. The brutal slaying of a defenceless old man was one thing. The idea that it was done in his own home by a trusted employee was quite another. More...

British Wall of Death 1929-1939
15 January 2023

Stories behind the sensational motorcycle act the Wall of Death are told in a new book from the daughter of two of the riders. Ann Wright has written British Wall of Death 1929-1939, with Alan Mercer. More...

More on the Wall of Death:

James Newsome's Grand Circus
13 February 2022

A new book has been released chronicling the history of James Newsome's Grand Circus by Stuart McMillan.

The book is about James Newsome, born on June 4th 1824. He started out as an apprentice at Astley's Amphitheatre in London, under William Batty, and became one of the leading equestrians and horse-breakers of the day. He then started out in partnership with other circus performers, later starting out on his own, building over 60 wooden circuses which held 2,000 to 3,000 people all over the country. For 40 years, Newsome's Grand Circus was known throughout the country as one of the good circuses with good acts. This book is the full story of James Newsome and his grand circus. More...

More circus history books added to our Circus Bookstore
2 January 2022

Two new circus history books have been added to our Circus Bookstore. The first of these is a King Pole Extra: Circus Perfomers - Extraordinary feats from ordinary people by Mark Twitchett and Steven B Richley. It is based on an exhibition of the Circus Friends Association Archive celebrating 250 years of the circus. The second is The Ringmaster's Ringmaster: the Life and Times of Norman Barrett by Steven B Richley and Mark Twitchett. It tells the story of the World's greatest ringmaster in amazing photographs.

These are just a small selection of circus books available in our Circus Bookstore, and we also have a huge selection of Used Circus Books. More...

The 'Theme Park Series' of DVDs now available
31 December 2020

All 7 of the 'Theme Park Series' of DVDs, which explore the history of the Disney theme parks in the USA, are now available from Joyland Books. These Theme Parkology documentaries are a must for every fan of the Disney theme parks. We stock Disneyland 1955-1959, Disneyland 1960-1969, Disneyland 1970-1979, Disneyland 1980-1989, Disneyland 1990-1999, Walt Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and the new release Disney California Adventure Part 1, which can all be purchased individually.

You can save a whopping £15 if you buy all 7 of these together. A 'Buy' link is available on all the Theme Park Series pages to take advantage of this special offer. More...

The making of a fairground showman
22 November 2020

David Slattery-Christy’s book Traveller's Tale: the Making of  a Fairground Showman gives us an insight into the life of his grandfather Reg Pratley, born in a small Berkshire village called Appleton near Oxford, who literally ran away to realise his dream to be a fairground showman.

He worked and toured with the famous William (Billy) Nichols fairground empire and established himself as a Master Showman by the time of his death.

It is also a fascinating insight into the life in those small rural communities of that period; a life that has now all but disappeared. All copies signed by the author. More...

The brief and brilliant life of Boston's million dollar amusement park
22 November 2020

If you take Boston's Blue Line to its northern end, you'll reach the Wonderland stop. Few realize that a 23-acre amusement park once sat nearby - the largest in New England, and grander than any of the Coney Island parks that inspired it. Opened in Revere on Memorial Day in 1906 to great fanfare, Wonderland offered hundreds of thousands of visitors recreation by the sea, just a short distance from downtown Boston. 

The story of the park's creation and wild, but brief, success is full of larger-than-life characters who hoped to thrill attendees and rake in profits. In Lost Wonderland, Stephen R. Wilk describes the planning and history of the park, which featured early roller coasters, a scenic railway, a central lagoon in which a Shoot-the-Chutes boat plunged, an aerial swing, a funhouse, and more. More...

History of famous Devon fair and its many characters
22 November 2020

Martin Burridge developed a fascination with Barnstaple Fair when his mother took him and his siblings to the fair before he started school.

That childhood fascination developed into a serious involvement and study of the fairground business.

Barnstaple Charter Fair by Martin Burridge traces the history of the fair and introduces readers to some of the more colourful characters, the presenters and performers of the old time shows that have enlivened it. Illustrated with colour and black & white photographs throughout. More...

Updated version of Battersea Fun Fair book now available
31 August 2020

An updated version of Battersea Fun Fair 1951-1974 by Robert Preedy and Nick Laister is now available (from the August Bank Holiday weekend 2020). The first edition of this book sold out within weeks of being published, so the authors decided to create an updated version, which not only made a number of corrections from the first edition, it also adds new information and photographs. The book also comes with a Foreword by author Laurence Staig, whose father operated some of the Fun Fair's best-loved sideshows, including the Globe of Death, the Spider Lady, the Invisible Ray, the Wowl, the Hands of Dracula, the Speed Boat and the Space Rocket. Copies of the book are now in stock and being dispatched to everybody who placed an advance order. More...

Second volume of the story of Victorian Britain's premier equestrian circus is out now
8 August 2020

Hengler's Grand Cirque Volume One and Two is the definitive biography of Hengler's Circus. Volume One is a 371 page book which tells the story of the early Hengler circus family, starting their first circus, and the death of Charles Hengler. In that time Charles Hengler had gone from tenting circuses, to temporary wooden circuses and finally building substantial circus buildings in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Dublin and Hull.

Volume Two of Hengler's Circus picks up where the first volume left off, taking the story right through to 1922. More...

More circus books...

Britain's Victorian Resorts
8 June 2020

Bradshaw's Guide of 1863 was the staple book on what's what and where's where for the mid-Victorians and it gives the modern reader a unique insight into the world of the nineteenth-century railway travellers. The guide introduced the notion of seaside holidays to the general public and thanks to the railways it became possible for a town or city dweller to catch a train for a day-trip to the coast and still be home in time for supper.

Using Bradshaw's Guide illustrated with contemporary images and seaside postcards, in Bradshaw at the Seaside, John Christopher and Campbell McCutcheon take us on a tour of Britain's Victorian resorts. More...

The amazing story of 'Britain's Barnum'
19 April 2020

Dancing off the page like real-life Dickens, this autobiography of Victorian circus pioneer and the man who first brought an amusement park to the Dreamland site in Margate, ‘Lord’ George Sanger, is dark, fun and irresistible. As befits a man who lived by his wits, he tells a great story – letting us enter the wild world of 19th century peep-shows, menageries, freaks and travelling fairs.

Written in 1910, this neglected gem of Victorian life has been wonderfully rediscovered. The new edition of Seventy Years a Showman by 'Lord' George Sanger adds gorgeous illustrations, many from Dickens collaborator George Cruikshank, plus a useful introduction and index, and a foreword by Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame. More...

The remarkable history of a fairground family
19 April 2020

The Studt family of South Wales were amongst the earliest presenters of amusements to the public at fairs and gatherings in Great Britain in the 19th Century. From hand-turned machinery travelled by horses they were very early in the field of applying steam to the propulsion of their rides and for haulage purposes.

Their earliest manually propelled rides featured hand turned mechanical organs. Over the years they operated over forty steam road engines, and were in the forefront of changing to more modern diesel powered vehicles in the 1930s. Their detailed story is set out in Studts of South Wales: The Remarkable History of a Fairground Family by Kevin Scrivens and Stephen Smith.

A life with Burrell, Fowler & Scammell
14 April 2020

Ian Hall's new book Sidney Harrison, His Life and Times with Burrell, Fowler and Scammell has been published and is now available. The book took Ian five years to produce, gathering facts and information. Sidney Harrison was the sole agent for the Scammell Showtrac, a purpose built vehicle for travelling showmen. This book provides the full story of Harrison, a character from a bygone era.

Another book about the Scammell Showtrac is available from Joyland Books: The Working Scammell Showtrac by Barry Brown. For more on Burrell and Fowler, we would recommend Traction Engine Album by Malcolm Ranieri and Burrell Showmans Road Locomotives by Michael R Lane.

The official biography of Charlie Cairoli published
19 January 2020

For 39 Summer Seasons Charlie Cairoli entertained and delighted audiences who witnessed his hilarious antics at the world famous Blackpool Tower Circus. A much celebrated and popular clown in his trade mark bowler hat, red nose and baggy trousers, he became synonymous with the Tower Circus. Sadly, he is no longer with us. It is in his memory that this book has been published, its objective to perpetuate the memory of the king of slapstick and master of adlib.

On Friday 1st November 2019, in the ring of the World Famous Blackpool Tower, the long awaited Book, Charlie Cairoli - 39 Years Under The Tower by Nigel Male and Steven Richley was published. More...

A reflection on over 40 years of fairground enthusiasm
19 January 2020

Northern Fairgrounds in Photographs by Bernard Mitchell is packed full of colour and black & white photographs of fairgrounds in the north of England over the past 40 years.

A local fair 40 or 50 years ago would have a waltzer, a dodgem and often a speedway, usually owned by members of the same family presented as part of their annual run of places. The skid was also popular. The decor on their painted wooden boards reflected the cultural themes of the times. More...

Long awaited Battersea Fun Fair history book available January
30 December 2019

Battersea Fun Fair, London (UK), was a special place. Millions of Londoners would spend their weekends and bank holidays on the many rides and attractions, which included the famous Big Dipper roller coaster and the Water Chute. The park began as the Festival Pleasure Gardens, part of the 1951 Festival of Britain, and closed in the mid-1970s.

In Battersea Fun Fair 1951-1974, authors Robert Preedy and Nick Laister tell the full story of one of Britain's most fondly remembered amusement parks. The book is out on 20th January 2020 and can be pre-ordered exclusively from Joyland Books. More...

History of famous Merseyside amusement park and tower
8 September 2019

New Brighton in Merseyside was home to a significant amusement park with a wooden roller coaster, gallopers, waltzer, helter skelter, big wheel, chairlift and much more as well as a tower that looked similar to the Blackpool Tower. One of the most important structures ever built in Victorian Britain, the tallest building in the land, it stood at 567 feet.

The Tower Theatre, sited between the legs of the tower, could accommodate an audience of 2,500, while the ballroom the largest in the North could entertain another 1000 couples dancing the night away. Its Pleasure Grounds were one of the best fun parks on the British coast and continued long after the Tower had been demolished. The History of New Brighton Tower and Grounds by Roy Dutton takes a walk down memory lane. More...

A photo history of a legendary amusement park
8 September 2019

A photo history of how a fabled Chautauqua and legendary amusement park became a thriving arts colony is now available from Joyland Books.

Glen Echo Park: A Story of Survival by Richard cook and Deborah Lange features over 100 historic photos of Glen Echo Park from the Richard Cook collection, including 26 photos from the Chautauqua era and 62 photos from the amusement park era - the most comprehensive history of the park available. It includes over 10 photographs of the Glen Echo park roller coasters and six photos of troller cars at Glen Echo.

Filled with delightful anecdotes, fascinating historical nuggets, and extraordinary photos that will be treasured by all who love Glen Echo Park. More...

Glen Echo Park Carousel history book back in stock
7 September 2019

Learn about the restoration of the beautiful and historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park. Restoring the Glen Echo Park Carousel by Deborah Lange includes wonderful colour photographs and a detailed history of the Park's centerpiece.

The book has been unavailable for some time, but is now back in print and available from Joyland Books.

Restoration artist Rosa Ragan spent 20 years, from 1983 to 2003, restoring the Dentzel menagerie carousel in Glen Echo, MD. The full story of her work is now captured in this book, with over 500 beautiful full-colour photographs showing the methods Rosa used on the animals, chariots, drum panels, ceiling panels, rounding boards, and band organ. More...

The story of the world's first prehistoric sculptures
7 September 2019

Out of print for a number of years, the book that celebrates the history of the world's first prehistoric sculptures is back in print.

The prehistoric animal sculptures in London's Crystal Palace Park represent a unique picture of the state of palaeontology in mid-Victorian England. The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs by Steve McCarthy and Mick Gilbert tells the story of these remarkable stone and plaster animals, their construction and their impact.

We have a number of books on the historic park, including The Perfect Playground: Childhood Memories of the Crystal Palace and The Crystal Palace is on Fire: Memories of the 30th November 1936. More...

A travelling family's journey from Victorian theatre to 1940s fairground
24 March 2019

In From Fanfare to Funfair, John Culine MBE traces the fascinating history of his own family, bringing to life a host of colourful characters as he describes real people and real events in a narrative that could be straight from a Hollywood movie script.

The story begins in 1822, and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs as the Culine family make the journey from Victorian theatre and circus to the world of the travelling fairground in the 1940s.

Experience the drama as Alice Culine attempts to walk across Bridlington Harbour on a tightrope in 1890. Share in the highs as Cliff Culine performs with Buffalo Bill, and the lows as William Culine is declared missing in action in France in World War I. More...

Dreamland in disrepair
16 March 2019

Rob Ball remembers Dreamland amusement park in Margate with great fondness from his own childhood visits. In Dreamlands he incorporates colour photographs of found objects and of the park as it fell into disrepair, as well as black and white archive photographs and tintypes.

Dreamland opened to the public in 1920, though its site has an even longer historical link with fairgrounds, having been first used for amusement rides as early as 1880. During the height of its popularity it was one of the UK’s best-loved amusement parks and a top tourist attraction. Years of steady decline and a slow dismantling of iconic rides led to the park’s eventual closure in 2003. More...

David Jamieson circus collection comes to Joyland Books
20 January 2019

Author David Jamieson, who died in 2017, produced many great circus books over his lifetime and we are delighted that his personal collection of books has come to Joyland Books. Many of the books in this collection are extremely rare, and some are signed by their authors or famous circus performers. They often include personal messages from their authors to David (for example, Les Menageries Foraines, pictured right). The books from this unique collection are sure to be in demand, and we only have single copies of most titles. View them here - the new collection is identified by 'New'.

Rare fairground books added to Secondhand Shop
20 January 2019

We have added a large selection of used fairground books to our Secondhand Shop (new books identified with 'New').

Some of these books are extremely hard to find, such as Mannings Amusements, T Whitelegg and Sons: Cavalcade of Shows, Anderton & Rowlands: Illusions & Reality, British Fairgrounds: A Photographic History, Fairground Architecture, The Story of Harris's Fun Fairs and the legendary Fairground Art.

Fairground transport lovers will enjoy The Showman's Forgotten Scammells and The Working Scammell Showtrac. More...

Used roller coaster and amusement park books added
20 January 2019

A large selection of amusement park and roller coaster-related books, magazines, DVDs and videos have been added to our Secondhand Shop, some of which are very rare (new additions highlighted).

We have large quantities of Roller Coaster! Magazine and ACE News. Books such as Roller Coaster, Roller Coasters, Roller Coasters! Record Breakers and Fan Favourites and The American Amusement Park are available. There are a wide range of videos and DVDs, either taking you onto the rides themselves, or journeying through their history. See the full list of roller coaster and amusement park books...

The story of a pioneering roundabout proprietor
13 January 2019

Researched by fairground experts Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith, William Davies: The Story of a Pioneering Roundabout Proprietor book charts the story of the Davies Family from Stoke on Trent, who were early operators of fairground equipment. The book is illustrated throughout with mainly black and white and a few colour photographs. More...

We stock a number of books written and researched by Scrivens and Smith, including The Rodeo Switchback, The Electric Scenic Railway and Manders Shows and Menageries.

Celebrating the Spanish City fairground and pleasure buildings
11 January 2019

A revised and updated book tells the complete story of the iconic Spanish City amusement park from its beginnings to the recent historic reopening of the pleasure buildings. The new edition of The Dome of Memories by Mick Sharp celebrates the hugely successful and memorable opening weekend and gives readers the most comprehensive history of this much-loved venue.

It is a follow-up to the original book released in 2011. The revised version captures the essence of that unique exhibition and adds new and previously unseen stories, research and images.  More...

Exploring the biographies of fairground, circus and entertainment personalities
10 January 2019

Four Swallows and Two Elephants by Ned Williams is not a book that falls into any clear category but it mixes local history with family history on the fringes of the world of entertainment, including fairground shows and circus. If you like watching “Who do think you are?” on TV, you may like this book. It looks at seven people who have been difficult to research because an element of mystery has surrounded the names by which they have been known. The world of entertainment that these people inhabited involved, circus (250 years old in 2018), the funfair, early cinema and theatre. Their lives criss-crossed the Black Country in a world and way of life that has now vanished. Naturally we recommend this book to you! More...

The colourful life of a trapeze artist
5 January 2019

It’s 30 years since Rebecca Truman founded pioneering aerial company Skinning the Cat. Her new memoir, Aerialist, is now available from Joyland Books at a discounted price.

To quote Dr Dea Birkett, writing in Circus 250: "The founder of Britain's first female contemporary circus company takes us on an astonishing, often heartbreaking, journey from her childhood tumbling to being one of the world's most sought-after performers. In this unflinching account we share the life-threatening lows and adrenaline highs, the pains and the joy of becoming an aerialist. We learn what it's like to risk your health and your life to take up the trapeze and fly.".

More details here...

Celebrating the first 10 years of unique circus
27 December

Each summer a small and glamorous part of the 1930s comes back to life, recreating magic from an era long past. Evoking a tradition common in the English countryside before the arrival of radio, cinema and television, since 2000 Giffords Circus has delighted fans from far and wide with good old-fashioned entertainment, complete with acrobats, jugglers, horses, magic, puppeteers, dancers and comedy.

Lavishly illustrated with a wealth of stunning colour photographs, Giffords Circus: The First Ten Years by Nell Gifford goes behind the scenes at the not-so-big top, to show how the magic and mystery are created. More...

The life of Albert Barnes - manager of Rhyl's amusement parks
October 2018

Kathryn Nedd's new book, White Socks and a Walking Stick, is about her grandfather Albert Barnes who was the manager of Marine Lake and Ocean Beach amusement parks in Rhyl from 1911 until his retirement in 1948.

The aim of the book is to give readers the chance to get a sense of her grandfather's achievements in the fairground and engineering world. As well as his achievements operating two of Britain's best-loved amusement parks, he is best known for his legacy, the six 'Barnes Atlantics', the miniature steam engines that have taken passengers around the Marine Lake for nearly 100 years. More...

An illustrated history of Britain's seaside
October 2018

The British Seaside by Stuart Hylton is an illustrated history of the British public's relationship with the seaside. It tells of  how steamboats, the railways and enterprising landowners opened up the coast to mass tourism and how holidays with pay made it a financial possibility; the battles that were waged over what could be worn on the beach or what saucy seaside postcards could say; the history of popular seaside entertainments; the Edwardian heyday of the British seaside and its subsequent decline; its wartime role, and how inland authorities tried to replicate the seaside experience with Holidays at Home; and how the modern seasides are fighting back against their overseas opposition. It will bring back fond memories for older readers and surprise and amuse many younger ones. More...

Indian Scout motorcycles and the Wall of Death
October 2018

The Indian Scout motorcycle is the favoured mount for Wall of Death riders all over the world. Drawing upon modern and archive material, Wall of Death owner and rider Allan Ford and author Nick Corble explore the reasons behind this relationship and bring the story of the Wall up to date, including behind the scene details of the latest Wall of Death speed record achieved by Guy Martin. You Can't Wear Out an Indian Scout: Indians and the Wall of Death is a story that spans more than a century, starting with experiments with motorised bicycles in the 1890s, passing through two world wars and ending by looking to a future where Indians continue to be restored and ridden on the Wall. More...

Britain's seaside beach huts
October 2018

From the eighteenth century the beach changed from a place for fishermen and smugglers to a fashionable place where the wealthy could recover from illness. In the nineteenth century the coming of the railways and the introduction of holidays for workers made the coast increasingly popular. A growing demand for entertainment and accommodation led to the birth of the seaside resort and, with it, the development of the seaside that we know and love today.

Beach Huts by Karen Averby is part of the Britain’s Heritage series, which provides definitive introductions to the riches of Britain’s past, and is the perfect way to get acquainted with beach huts in all their variety. More...

The golden age of a Kent seaside resort
October 2018

In this fascinating collection of images featuring Folkestone’s many grand hotels, Victoria Pier, the Leas, seafront attractions and entertainments, switchback railway and horse tramway from Sandgate to Hythe, local author and historian Martin Easdown illustrates the glory days of this famous old seaside town.

Over the course of the nineteenth century Folkestone was transformed from a little fishing village into a popular seaside resort, complete with large hotels to accommodate its many wealthy visitors, a theatre, bathing establishment and pleasure pier. Fashionable Folkestone shows the glory years of this resort. More...

Britain's glorious seaside hotels subject of new book
October 2018

In the new book, Seaside Hotels, author Karen Averby takes us through the rise, the fall and the modern-day resurgence of the grand seaside hotel across the whole of the UK, from their exclusive and luxurious nineteenth-century beginnings, through their renaissance in the interwar years, decline in the 1970s as foreign package holidays became popular and their recent, more accessible refurbished form today.

These imposing Grands, Royals and Imperials, filled with every modern convenience of the period and containing opulent restaurants and ballrooms, are fascinating buildings that reflect the fortunes of those who built and visited them throughout the years. More...

Cliff lifts and railways of the British seaside
16 September 2018

Cliff Railways, Lifts and Funiculars by Martin Easdown illustrates, mainly in colour, all the principal cliff lifts and railways that have been built in the British Isles, along with associated cable tramways, since their inception in the Victorian age.

This simple method of transporting people up and down the cliff side has been a feature of our coast, and a few inland towns, for over 150 years and has recently undergone a renaissance at places as varied as the National Coal Mining Museum, Legoland and the Centre for Alternative Technology. In addition to featuring all the surviving lifts, this book includes others which are long gone, and serves as a fine record of these charming and unique structures. More...

The premier equestrian circus company in Victorian Britain
9 September 2018

Charles Hengler was the proprietor of Hengler's Grand Cirque and built it up into a famous establishment known throughout the British Isles. Hengler's Grand Cirque: The Premier Equestrian Circus Company in Victorian Britain by Stuart McMillan focuses on the story of Charles Hengler, who started with a tenting circus and made it into the most respectably conducted established circus in the country, located in what is now the London Palladium. Charles Hengler's Cirques held between 4,000 to 5,000 people and often hundreds of people had to be turned away when the building was crowded.

This volume of Hengler's Circus finishes at Charles Hengler's death and covers the years from 1780 to 1887. More...

From horses to artics
28 August 2018

Travelling fairs hold a special place in English history and traditions. Once or twice a year local towns and villages are overwhelmed with a cacophony of sounds, sights and smells, bringing magic and excitement into peoples’ lives before, all too quickly, moving on. The transient nature of travelling fairs is part of their magic, and an integral part of that magic is the transport that carries the people and the rides. More than just vehicles however, fairground transport is often an integral part of the show, acting as homes for the showmen, a way of generating power and even converting into parts of the rides themselves. In short, they are part of the way of life.

A History of Fairground Transport: From Horses to Artics by Allan Ford and Nick Corble looks at the history of the travelling fair through its transport. More...

A history of the English fair
26 August 2018

Tracking the development of the English Fair, in the new book Frost Fairs to Funfairs Allan Ford and Nick Corble capture the diversity, sounds, smells and sensations that have beguiled the Great British public for centuries – from the days of charter fairs through to modern winter wonderlands and theme parks.

A nostalgic journey through the history of one of our most endearing and popular pastimes, Frost Fairs to Funfairs is a fascinating look behind the curtain of this ancient and enduring tradition, encompassing the many attractions that make up a fair, as well as the showmans’ way of life, and how the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ nature of the fair seems to bring with it fresh rules, transforming otherwise monochrome lives into a kaleidoscope of colour, even if only for a short while.

David Cam's 42 years at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
June 2018

With the opening of the £16m Icon roller coaster at the Pleasure Beach last month, themagiceye talks to the man who spent more than four decades at the park, became its company secretary and made a significant impact on the amusement park industry in the United Kingdom. Six months before the launch of Icon, David Cam DL looked back over some very happy memories of his 42 years at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Click here to read...

The life of a Scunthorpe showman chronicled in new book
26 May 2018

John Eva is a retired travelling showman, from a family that has spent its life on the fair. In The Life of a Showman, John tells the story of being brought up on the fairgrounds, his two years in the armed forces, and his more recent work modelling fairground transport and painting fairground scenes. The book includes photographs of the family's machines, John's models and his beautiful paintings.

This is a man who has fitted so much into his life, and it is a fascinating insight into a way of life that has changed substantially. The book is written in John's humerous style, which makes it a book you just cannot put down! More details...

Also just released by the Fairground Heritage Trust is an updated and enlarged 2018 Guidebook for the Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre. You can still by the 2015 edition here and the 2010 edition is available in our Secondhand Shop.

Two new books published by Fairground Heritage Trust
14 April 2018

A Heritage Lottery-supported book has been produced to accompany the Exhibition held at the Fairground Heritage Centre in 2018 to commemorate the part played in the Great War by the Travelling Showmen of Great Britain. A limited edition of only 1000 copies of The Showmen's War by Michael Smith, Stephen Smith and Kevin Scrivens has been produced to support the Fairground Heritage Trust, and Joyland Books has a number of these copies in stock now. The book is fully illustrated throughout, with many previously unpublished photos.  More...

Also just released by the Fairground Heritage Trust is an updated and enlarged 2018 Guidebook for the Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre. You can still by the 2015 edition here and the 2010 edition is available in our Secondhand Shop.

Well researched book on Wall of Death attraction just released
11 February 2018

Design historian Ann Wright has been researching the history of the Wall of Death attraction, which featured at British travelling fairs and amusement parks throughout a large part of the last century, for a number of years. Her book, The Wall of Death, is now released and includes much primary research that has not featured in any other books.

The introduction of the Wall of Death into the UK in July 1929 caused a sensation and it became extremely popular with the public thereafter. The Todd and Soutter shows toured all over Britain and Europe, as well as Abyssinia and Persia, and were seen by British and foreign royalty, Hitler and Mussolini, and thousands of the general public. They appeared at the 1930, 1952, and 1953 Munich Oktoberfest, the 1938 Glasgow Empire Exhibition and the 1951 Festival of Britain. More...

New copies of much sought after fairground book now available
14 January 2018

The mechanical organ used to be one of the fairground's most popular attractions. Supplying the gay background music for the rides, it also acted as a "front of house" enticement for the side-shows.

The Fairground Organ: Its Music, Mechanism and History by Eric V Cockayne is now fetching very high prices online, with copies of the original 1970 print run fetching over £1,000.

Exclusively available online from Joyland Books, we are offering brand new copies, published as a revised edition by the St Albans Musical Museum Society, for only £20 each.

This book describes the mechanism of the organs, the music they played and their history. Click here for more details...

Massive collection of rare amusement park books added
2 January 2018

The Joyland Books Secondhand Shop has just expanded with the addition of a huge collection of rare amusement park books, in fantastic condition. Some titles, such as Knoebels: An Amusement Park With a Heart and Harry G Traver: Legends of Terror are difficult to find online in fine condition. The selection includes titles such as Goodbye, West View Park, Goodbye, The Great American Amusement Parks, Herbert P Schmeck: The Forgotten Legacy, Hersheypark: The Sweetness of Success, Kennywood...Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Roller Coasters: A Thrill Seeker's Guide to the Ultimate Scream Machines and much more. Click here for the full list (the latst additions are marked as 'NEW').

New book goes inside the spooky world of the Ghost Train!
1 October 2017

In a new book just out, author and historian Guy Belshaw explores the history of the Ghost Train: one of the most enduring and iconic fairground attractions of the 20th Century.

Corny, scary, or both?

Many children claim to have had several rides but seen nothing, as their eyes were tightly shut.

The Ghost Train: An Illustrated History pays homage to the builders, showmen and... More...

Vintage Blackpool Illuminations light up Oxfordshire!
1 October 2017

Vintage illuminations that were once on display along Blackpool's famous Golden Mile are back...this time in Oxfordshire! Fairytale Farm near Chipping Norton acquired a range of vintage lights from Blackpool Council, and has given them a complete overhaul and new look, at an investment of around £50,000. They are now alight again and still recognisable from their years looking out over the Irish Sea. The Oxfordshire Illuminations switch on from 14th October 2017 and are worth a visit. More here...

Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach development 'edges' closer
14 July 2017

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has resolved to grant planning permission for a new leisure development, which will extend Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach onto the site of a former caravan park. The development will be in several phases, with the first phase (a Premier Inn hotel) starting in October. Phase 2 will include an indoor play centre, 10-screen cinema and restaurants, with Phase 3 being a casino. The development, called 'The Edge', is expected to revitalise this part of the seafront. Click here for more...

New range of seaside DVDs added
2 July 2017

Summer is here and many of us will be heading to the traditional British seaside resort for some fun in the sun. Here at Joyland Books we love to celebrate the history of some of the country's greatest resorts and already have a large number of books and DVDs covering this very subject; your favourite resort is sure to be here somewhere.

We have now added a range of new DVDs chronicling the history of some of our most famous resorts. From 'The Way We Were' series of DVDs, you can visit Clacton, Torbay, Brighton & Hove and Canvey Island. From the 'Looking Back' series, you can visit Worthing and the Isle of Wight. We have also added Bournemouth on Film, Isle of Wight and Solent from the Air and a DVD on the history of Clevedon Pier. More can be found at our Seaside DVD Shop.

Book looks at Great Yarmouth’s 19th century forgotten entertainment acts
11 June 2017

It is a resort that sees large crowds of people enjoy the summer weather, its sandy beach and a wide range of attractions and amusements every year. And now a new book is casting a fresh glance at Great Yarmouth’s entertainment past, including crowds gawping at General Tom Thumb.

Local historian Gareth H H Davies (author of Pablo Fanque and the Victorian Circus) has written Forgotten Yarmouth Entertainments: Reflections of popular culture in a 19th seaside resort.

It looks at how the resort in the 19th century brought local, national and international entertainers and acts to the town. More...

Story of the first black circus proprietor released
4 June 2017

Author Gareth H.H. Davies dips into the entertainment world of the mid 19th century. With Pablo Fanque and the Victorian Circus he looks at the life of Norwich-born entertainer, horseman and impresario Pablo Fanque, born William Darby in 1810. In describing the circus as "the ultimate form of spectator entertainment" the author relates how it professionalised, commercialised and industrialised types of performance that had existed for hundreds of year. The fact that Pablo was African British tells us something about Victorian Society, but so does the fact that he was born of very humble origins and became one of the best known and loved circus proprietors of the Victorian period. Click here for more information.

Two limited edition circus books now available
12 March 2017

For a limited time only, two major circus history books are available from Joyland Books - on a first-come-first-served basis.

The first of the two books is the second in Double Crown Books' 'The Posters of...' series - a collection of books dedicated to showcasing historic illustrative artwork in entertainment advertising. The Posters of Billy Smart's Circus by Steven B Richley tells the story of this famous circus via its amazing artwork and follows the 2014 release of The Posters of Bertram Mills' Circus by the same author.

Also released is Sir Robert Fossett's Circus: The Definitive Visual History by Mark Twitchett and Steven B Richley.

Two new fairground DVDs added to our online store
12 March 2017

Two new DVDs have been added to our online store. One features one of the latest white knuckle rides and the other takes you on a trip back in time with one of the country's most traditional fairground rides.

In Building up the Xtreme Bomber we look at a KMG-built machine, which began life at Brean Leisure Park in 2005 before being purchased by a French operator six years later. Bertie Holland acquired the ride for 2014, when it is recorded being built up at Buxton in Derbyshire. More...

In Noah's Arks and Speedways Volume 2, we see a number of these traditional rides being operated at various locations around the UK, including at Folly Farm and Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre. More...

Camelot Theme Park history book back in stock
5 March 2017

Alec Price's excellent history book of the Park Hall/Camelot Theme Park site is back in stock at Joyland Books - but we understand that the availability of new stock of this book is now very limited, so this is on a first-come-first-served basis.

Camelot Theme Park was one of Britain's best known and longest established theme parks, but the history of its site - Park Hall - goes back much further. Alec Price tells the full story of the site in his book, From a Saint to a King: The History of Park Hall, Charnock Richard. This book is well illustrated with many specially commissioned photographs and is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the colourful past of Park Hall/Camelot Theme Park. With the park having closed in 2012, it makes the book all the more fascinating.  More...

Roller coasters of the UK photographed in major new book
4 February 2017

The first book by roller coaster enthusiast Peter Andrews is a photographic look at the rides of the UK, along with some of the classics that have been lost since the mid 1980s. Featuring nearly 400 colour images over 224 pages, including many behind the scenes shots, Coasting Around the UK is the ideal book for anyone with an interest in these wonderful machines. Covering the length and breadth of the UK, this photographic and historic guide takes you from Brighton up to Glasgow, and from Gwynedd over to Great Yarmouth, and provides the ultimate adrenaline rush. More...

Drayton Manor boss receives OBE
31 December 2016

Colin Bryan, Chief Executive at Drayton Manor Theme Park, and son of the original founders, has received an OBE in the New Year's. This is in recognition of his charity work and his ongoing contribution to tourism.

Colin comments: “My parents opened the park in 1950 and I have been working there since I was a young boy, when my first job was helping them clear the rubble with my miniature wheelbarrow. I have worked in nearly every department over the years and qualified as a Chef to really understand what makes the park and catering companies what they are today. It is in my blood so I feel very honoured to receive this OBE. I still love watching our guests have fun, enjoying themselves, knowing I have played a part in that.”

Fairytale Farm's autumn illuminations go snap happy!
October 2016

Fairytale Farm will be unveiling its brand new illuminated features when it switches on its popular autumn light display next Saturday, 15th October. This is the park's fourth illuminations event since it was opened by the Prime Minister in 2013. The highlight is a new fairytale-themed 'Giant's Camera', one of the Farm's biggest single investments to date, which comes complete with illuminated tableaux showing a friendly giant in various poses, taken with a camera so large that you would have to be a giant to use it!" More here...

Coast to coast thrills in new roller coaster book
2 October 2016

Thomas Crymes has ridden more than 350 roller coasters. Enamoured with their serpentine beauty, he has been photographing them since 2004 and is forever seeking that perfect shot.

In 2012, Crymes released the hugely successful American Coasters: A Thrilling Photographic Ride. He has now released the follow up, American Coasters 2: Coast to Coast, which contains breathtaking photographs of more than 100 roller coasters in 38 parks and 17 states. More...

Pleasure Island Theme Park to close
22 September 2016

Pleasure Island Theme Park in Cleethorpes is to close at the end of October. Formerly owned by Flamingo Land, the park was personally acquired by one of the directors of Flamingo Land in 2010 and operated independently. According to its owners, visitor numbers have declined to the level where the park cannot be sustained.

The park's final event will be the firework display on 29th October. Joyland Books hopes to be able to present a retrospective of the park on themagiceye in the near future to remember 25 years of thrills.

Photograph of Pleasure Island in the 1990s - this ride moved to Brean Leisure Park in Somerset.

The thriller of the thirties
7 August 2016

The Fairground Heritage Trust, operator of Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, has announced that it has been awarded £90,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) to help safeguard Shaw’s Moonrocket, the only historic thrill ride of its kind still fully intact and functioning.

The money from NHMF launches the Trust’s fundraising appeal to raise the final £17000 to secure this unique piece of fairground heritage.


Built in the 1930s, the Moonrocket was the ground-breaking forerunner to the white knuckle rides now a staple of theme parks and fairgrounds across the world. It represents an era when speed, thrills and excitement were the height of fashion. Streamlined excitement for a streamlined age.

A new book on the history of the Moonrocket ride has just been published to help raise these funds. Moonrocket: the Thriller of the Thirties by Kevin Scrivens, Michael Smith and Stephen Smith includes detailed histories of every UK example of this ride. Click here for more details.

New book tells story of pioneering UK theme park
May 2016

Blackgang Chine is one of the oldest theme parks in the UK, with a history dating back to the 1800s, and it is still operating today. Possibly the closest thing we have to Disneyland in Britain, the park is a collection of family rides and themed lands, all set in rambling Victorian gardens that hang precariously along a cliff edge.

Blackgang Chine remains a truly unique and iconic attraction. Blackgang Chine: Journey into Imagination by Joanne Thornton explores the Chine's early history as a garden and beauty spot right through to its development as a land of imagination. Many visitors over the years have fond memories of their own journey into imagination at the park; now they can re-live those memories as they once again discover a world of fairies, dinosaurs and pirates... Click here for more details of this book.

Joyland Books also has a copy of a 1970s Blackgang Chine guide book in its Secondhand Shop.

New book looks at circus entertainment of the 1800s
March 2016

The Clown King by Gareth HH Davies is a micro-history of popular entertainment in the period 1840 - 1860, woven out of the career of Arthur Nelson, the Clown King.

Born around 1816, Nelson began as an actor in provincial and minor theatres before specialising as a ‘talking’ or Shakespearean clown. While some contemporaries wrote accounts of their lives, Nelson left no such formal record and yet, as one of the most popular clowns at the time, his career was one full of interest. Traced through playbills, advertisements and newspaper reports of the period, he moved seamlessly between circus ring and pantomime stage, as well as performing in concert halls with his musical novelties. His ‘benefit’ stunt, being drawn in a washing tub by four geese, although not original, drew huge crowds when performed in a town or city. More...

Blackpool Tower Circus book available again
31 December 2015

Unavailable for several years, Clowns of Blackpool Tower Circus, edited by David Jamieson with text by Daniel Potier, is now available again at Joyland Books.

It remembers the host of clowns who tripped, fell, joked, made music and were totally soaked by buckets of water and 'slosh' in their efforts to amuse. The hilarious roll-call includes Kellino and Pim Pim, August and September, diminutive Doodles, the legendary Charlie Cairoli and Company, Coco and Co., the Rastellis, Tony Alexis Trio and David Larible, right through to today's young clown star, Mooky (Laci Endresz Jnr.), who tells us how he became the latest in this long line of funsters to grace the Tower ring. More...

English translation of definitive book on German mechanical organs
28 December 2015

After three year’s preparation, Dr. Herbert Jüttemann’s excellent book about German mechanical organs, Waldkircher Dreh- und Jahrmarkt- Orgeln has been translated into English by Andrew Pilmer under the title of WALDKIRCH STREET AND FAIRGROUND ORGANS. Dr. Jüttemann has already published a number of books on mechanical music and related subjects which have become standard works; this is the first to be translated into the English language.

With the co-operation of Dr. Jüttemann, the original German text has been completely revised, and a number of new drawings have been specially prepared for this new edition. 

Printed on quality art paper, hard bound and with a full colour dust jacket, the book consists of 300 pages. More...

Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre Illustrated Guide - New Edition!
28 November 2015

The popular illustrated guidebook to Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon has been updated with a brand new edition in time for Christmas 2015. Now expanded to 60 pages, it features information on the Museum's rides and exhibits – Super Dodgems, Supersonic Skid, Rodeo Switchback, Super Chariot Racer Ark, Ghost Train, Toyset, Happy Caterpillar, Autodrome, Shows, Palace of Pleasure Arcade, Stalls, Wagons, Transport and Artwork. Click here for more details...

Dreamland history book updated
18 October 2015

Dreamland Revived: The story of Margate's famous amusement park by Nick Evans has been updated to include the opening of the park in June this year. Click here for more details...

The Showmen of Castleford - out of print but back in stock!
5 September 2015

The Showmen of Castleford by Mark Middleton has been out of print for a number of years, but is now back in stock and available exclusively from Joyland Books! We only have limited stock and when it's gone, it's gone, so make sure you buy your copy.

In this book you can meet the colourful showmen of this Yorkshire town. Featuring Proctor's Amusements, RE Eddy and Sons Funfair and James Finnie's Funfairs.

Many showmen have either been born, or settled in the "showman friendly" town of Castleford. This is the story of three families, their history, transport, rides, and their way of life - life on the travelling funfair. More...

See vintage Blackpool Illuminations light up again
5 September 2015

Every Saturday and Sunday evening in September and October you can see a number of vintage features from Blackpool Illuminations light up again. The attraction is at Fairytale Farm near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, where you can see much-loved features such as the Film and Camera, Party Poppers, Sea Creatures, Mermaid and the Extinct illuminated again. They have all been lovingly restored, and light up at dusk each weekend. There is discounted admission to the farm after 5pm (£2 for adults and £1.75 for children), so don't miss it.

The Extinct at Fairytale Farm

Summer events announced for Fairytale Farm
19 July 2015

A number of exciting events have been announced by Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm visitor attraction. Next Saturday and Sunday (25th and 26th July) visitors can join in with the Teddy Bears' Picnic Weekend. There will be a giant picnic in the adventure playground, a storytelling teddy bear, best dressed teddy competition and discounted entry and food for children who bring their teddy bears to the Farm. Full details here.

Walking with Alpacas returns to Fairytale Farm this summer on selected dates. For full details of the Summer 2015 Walking with Alpacas events and dates, please click here.

Above: Teddy Bears' Picnic Weekend on 25th and 26th July 2015.

Fairytale Farm is being invaded by TV's most frightening aliens on Saturday and Sunday 15th and 16th August when the farm park holds a special Sci-Fi Weekend in aid of charity. The aim of the weekend is to raise money for a local charity (Let's Play Banbury - a charity which supports local disabled children), and there will be opportunities to donate to the charity at various places around the farm. The Sci-Fi Weekend runs from 10am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Put the date in your diary now!

New Diggerland theme park for Worcestershire
28 April 2015

Diggerland has announced that it will be opening a fifth theme park in the UK, at the Evesham Country Park in Worcestershire.

The park will open in 2016 at a cost of £5m, and will add to the existing Diggerland sites in Devon, Durham, Yorkshire and Kent. The theme park forms part of a rebranding of Evesham Country Park as 'The Valley', which will include new retailers, new food and drink outlets, cycle paths, zip wires and climbing walls, creating a significant leisure destination for the south Midlands.

Visit the story-telling Easter Bunny
31 March 2015

Fairytale Farm's unique Easter event runs right through the Easter Weekend, from 3rd to 6th April 2015. Visitors to the children's farm on the A44 just outside Chipping Norton can enter the Giant Rabbit Burrow and listen to the Farm's own Easter bunny telling a charming Easter tale, and every child will receive an Easter egg.

The Farm also has other Easter activities running over the weekend, including an Easter egg hunt.

Owner Nick Laister says: "Last year we launched our first ever Easter event, which was a huge hit with our visitors. They told us that they wanted us to do it again, so we have, with some new touches this year. Once inside the giant burrow, the rabbit will be telling a lovely Easter tale and giving away Easter eggs to every child that visits. And the Burrow is entirely under cover so you can visit the Bunny whatever the weather. There are lots of other Easter-related activities for our visitors to enjoy. And everything is accessible for those with disabilities."

The Easter event runs from 3rd to 6th April (Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday inclusive). Open 10am to 5pm. The rabbit burrow has an extra charge of £3 per child, which includes the burrow visit, Easter story and an Easter egg.

Fairytale Farm, which was opened in 2013 by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is the UK's first visitor attraction to put the needs of disabled children first, but is open to all and with no pre-booking required. The Beanstalk Cafe is open all day and serves a selection of hot and cold snacks.

More details on the Easter event are here. You can buy tickets to Fairytale Farm from Joyland Books here. (Note that admission to the Giant Rabbit Burrow is an additional £3, and these tickets can be bought at the admissions desk as you enter the Farm.)

Big discounts on roller coaster DVDs
5 March 2015

Big discounts on the 'Roller Coaster Adventures' DVD series from today. You will witness some of the greatest, tallest, and fastest roller coasters in the United States. The DVDs will take you to some of the best amusement parks in the country and let you experience the feeling of riding front row and showcase numerous different roller coasters.

Each DVD in the series is reduced from £16 to £12, or buy the entire series of 7 DVDs for only £74! More here.

Also big discounts on the Front Seat Thrills series of DVDs - ride some of the world's best roller coasters from the front seat!

We have a huge selection of roller coaster DVDs and books - so do check them out.

All the Fun of the Travelling Fair
28 February 2015

Award winning DJ Reg Chandler decided to take the challenge of writing a book about a unique subject that has only been lightly touched within the publication world, and having already written a 8,000 word thesis many years ago about fairground life for a diploma in project management, it has proved an interesting journey that has involved 18 months of research in order to add a further 20,000 words and revisit the original version.

The idea of All the Fun of the Travelling Fair by Reg Chandler is to provide information about how a fair operates and to highlight 700 years or more of great British history. Other topics within the book include fairground artwork, famous UK fairs, fairground transport, popular rides, fairground history, sideshows and catering, steam rallies, fairground life and all that is 'All the fun of the fair'. More...

Wooden Rollercoasters in Europe
27 February 2015

Wooden rollercoasters are considered to be wild, thrilling and nostalgic. But even today, new rides are installed. To celebrate the 100th birthday of the oldest rollercoaster in Europe that still exists, Up & Down by Ralph Latotzki presents every ride installation during the modern era of the wooden rollercoaster in Europe up to the present day and provides insights into the technical development of this ride type. Additionally, this book includes portraits of the people and companies involved in the construction of those imposing structures.

Packed with colour photographs of every surviving wooden rollercoaster in Europe, along with the stories of their development and operation, this large book is the ultimate reference source for wooden rollercoasters in Europe. More...



250 full colour circus posters in hardback book
25 January 2015

Circus Posters, edited by David Jamieson and the late Malcolm Clay, is a beautiful A4 book, in full colour throughout, with 250 colour posters featuring all the major circuses, including Astley and Ducrow, Sangers, Broncho Bill, the Great Carmo, Chapman, Bertram Mills Circus, Blackpool Tower, Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, Chipperfields, Billy Smart, Sir Robert Fossett’s, Robert Brothers’ Circus, Gerry Cottle, the Austen Brothers, the Mack family’s Circus Hoffman, Gandey’s, Zippos and the Moscow and Chinese State Circuses.

This book contains posters from 170 years of circus in Britain. Click here for more information.

The Crystal Palace is on Fire
11 January 2015

The Crystal Palace was destroyed in November 1936 in the biggest peacetime conflagration London had ever known. "The Crystal Palace is on Fire!" was the frantic cry that brought thousands of people on to the streets on that fateful night. This "Palace of the People", constructed of iron and glass, had been London's centre for 'enlightenment and entertainment' for four generations. Its demise was, for many, like the passing of an old friend. The fascinating tale of the fire is told in The Crystal Palace is on Fire: Memories of the 30th November 1936 by Alison Edwards and Keith Wyncoll.

Also available are The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs by Steve McCarthy & Mick Gilbert and The Perfect Playground: Childhood Memories of the Crystal Palace by Pat Scott, Alison Edwards and Eileen Pulfer.

DVD history of Disney's Monorail
4 January 2015

In 1958, while vacationing in Cologne, Germany, Walt Disney discovered a mode of transportation that travelled above on a steal beam: the monorail system. Walt immediately knew that he had to have a monorail in his newly-built theme park, Disneyland, so along with several engineers and imagineers, the smooth travelling Monorail was built in 1959 and journeyed through Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

A brand new DVD has been released, called The Monorail, which tells the story of this ride from its inception to the present day. More details here.

Also new to Joyland are a number of DVDs on the history of famous Disney rides and attractions, including Tower of Terror: Journey to the 5th Dimension, Country Bear Jamboree, It's a Small World and a double release of Rocket to the Moon and the Flying Saucers.

New DVD documentary on the history of Disneyland's Monorail.

The posters of Bertram Mills' Circus
November 2014

Double Crown Books has announced the publication of the first book in its 'The Posters of...' series - a collection of books dedicated to showcasing historic illustrative artwork in entertainment advertising. Featuring over 260 posters, hanging cards and other rare items of circus ephemera, The Posters of Bertram Mills' Circus by Steven B Richley tells the story of the Bertram Mills Circus through its amazing promotional artwork. It covers Mills’ initial shows at Olympia, tenting as a joint venture with The Great Carmo in 1929 prior to going on the road with the Mills’ circus ‘under canvas’ from 1930. Completing the story are posters from Mills’ Circus’ travelling the length and breadth of Britain via train until 1965 and the post-war shows productions at Olympia until 1967. More...

Fairground transport of the 1980s in colour photos
November 2014

A perfect Christmas present is this new collection of colour photographs showing a cross section of fairground transport during the 1980s. Fairground Transport in the 1980s by Dick Furniss contains almost 300 captioned photographs of fairground transport from all corners of the UK taken by the author in this colourful decade.

We stock a number of books about fairground transport here at Joyland, including Fairground and Circus Transport by Denis N. Miller and Bart H. Vanderveen, Trucks in Britain Volume 2: Fairground Transport by Malcolm Slater, Fairground Transport Volume 1 by Malcolm Slater (secondhand collectable) and The Malcolm Slater Fairground Album (secondhand).

East coast amusement parks head up new DVDs at Joyland Books
November 2014

Several new DVDs have been added to our DVD Store in time for Christmas. Spend some time at Great Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach in 1995 on the DVD East Coast Parks, and then move on to experience the rides of Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells and Botton's Pleasure Beach at Skegness in 2012.

See Race-O-Rama, Disneyland Ride and Sea On Land built up in Building up Juvenile Rides.

The complete build up of Albert Holland’s six arm, KMG built 'Extreme' Orbiter, which he acquired from a Scottish Showman during early 2014 is in another, brand new, DVD release: Building Up the Extreme Orbiter.

Bewdley Town Council votes to approve safari park development
November 2014

Bewdley Town Council has voted unanimously to approve the proposed new £80m water park, hotel and conference centre at West Midland Safari Park. A full planning application was submitted by planning consultant RPS for the water park in August this year, with outline plans for the hotel and conference centre also forming part of the application. Park bosses say the improvements, which will be built over 10 years, would transform the park into a resort to rival other parks such as Drayton Manor and Alton Towers. More...

Loudoun Castle Theme Park redevelopment moves a step closer
November 2014

Plans have been unveiled for a £450m holiday resort development at Loudoun Castle Theme Park, which closed in 2010 and has been standing but not operating since. The 610-acre estate will be transformed into an all-weather resort featuring luxury lodges, with lake, indoor sports facilities and an indoor subtropical water park. The Loudoun Castle Project, the group behind the plans, hopes to create as many as 2,500 jobs and provide a multi-million boost to the local economy. More at Herald Scotland and Scottish Daily Record.

Meet Santa at Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm
November 2014

Santa is returning to Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm this Christmas at weekends from 6 December to 21 December and then daily from 22 December to 24 December.

At our 'Christmas Fairytale', children can meet Santa in his indoor fairytale Grotto and receive a present, join in with various Christmas activities, enjoy all the usual Fairytale Farm attractions and see our magical Christmas lights, which are bigger and better this year.

Owner Nick Laister says that it will be a Christmas event with a difference: "The feedback from our first Christmas event last year was so good that we will be doing it again this year, but even bigger and better. We have designed and built a grotto with a difference, that will appeal to adults as well as children, and all the Christmas activities from last year, including Christmas cookie decorating, mulled wine and mince pies, will return. Our spectacular Christmas lights are back again this year, with the Enchanted Walk and other parts of the farm illuminated from dusk with lots of new seasonal additions that will delight visitors."

The animal areas and adventure playground will be open until dusk, after which  we switch on our Christmas lights, creating a wonderland of colour. This will be a truly magical event which will create special memories.

Grotto tickets are £4.95, plus normal admission, and this includes Santa visit, gift, Christmas cookie decorating plus the mince pie and mulled wine for the parents. Non-farm visitors can still meet Santa for £7.50.

The farm is located on the A44 just outside Chipping Norton, and more details are on our website:

Click here for more information.

Enter the great seaside amusement park poll
November 2014

Which is the UK's best seaside amusement park of the past or present? Cast your vote here.

New roller coaster proposed for Scarborough sea front
10 November 2014

Scarborough Borough Council has announced that the proposed bidder for the redevelopment of the site of the Futurist theatre on Scarborough's seafront is Flamingo Land theme park.

Flamingo Land is the largest visitor attraction in Yorkshire, which attracts more than 1.5 million visitors annually. The theme park is partnering with established Leeds based property and construction company, GMI Estates, to progress the project.

The development will be a "premium visitor attraction" showcasing and displaying three distinct environments consisting of ‘subterranean, on the coastline and sky’. Key elements of the attraction would include: iconic glass roofed botanical gardens, a high octane, adrenaline fuelled roller coaster, a 55 metre iconic lighthouse structure and Space Shot Tower, which propels customers 55 metres into the sky, an elevated sea view bar, restaurant and function space, a walk through aviary and a new town square for Scarborough.

Nightmare Farm: The Fairytale is Over!
10 October 2014

Fairytale Farm near Chipping Norton will be turning down the lights and switching on the scares with a special Halloween event aimed at older children and adults. The event is called Nightmare Farm and sees the fairytale come to an end when the Enchanted Walk is turned into a giant outdoor horror maze with live actors prowling around with only one thing on their mind: to terrify visitors!

Owner Nick Laister explains: "We held our first Halloween event last year and the feedback was so good that we are going to do it again, but bigger and better and with more scares. Visitors will be taken on a late-night adventure as an old monk guides people through the most haunted part of the site to safety - we hope! In the horror maze they will meet a possessed flower seller, some horrible scarecrows, vampires, zombies, a not very friendly circus clown plus a gardener from the 17th Century who has an unpleasant use for his spade. Plus some surprises. We challenge people to make it from one end of the Enchanted Walk to the other without screaming. Nobody has done it yet."

Nightmare Farm: From 6.30pm on 31st October and 1st/2nd November 2014.

The walks will be taking place approximately every 20 minutes between 6.30pm and 10pm on three evenings from 31st October to 2nd November. Click here for the poster and here for more information.

Demolition of Barry Island's Haunted Goldmine commences
September 2014

Demolition of Barry Island Pleasure Park's legendary Haunted Goldmine ride (formerly the Wacky Goldmine) has commenced this week. The front of the ride has reportedly now been removed, with the remainder of the ride to follow. The ride's construction utilised timber from the former Scenic Railway roller coaster which previously stood on the site. The ride has been standing but not operating for several years.

Read more about the Goldmine at themagiceye here, here, here, here, here and here!

The Haunted Goldmine pictured in 2010.

A Tale of a Twist: Barry Island Pleasure Park
September 2014

Amusement park nostalgia website themagiceye @ Joyland Books, has launched a brand new exclusive article today, A Tale of a Twist: Barry Island Pleasure Park. In this fantastic journey behind the scenes, ride operator Heather Spierling tells the story of 1975's new arrival at the popular South Wales amusement park - the Twist. At first treated with suspicion, the ride would become her 'baby'. Read on...

At the end of the article we have links to other articles on the Pleasure Park.

Vintage Blackpool Illuminations light up in Oxfordshire
6 September 2014

A collection of restored former illuminated features from Blackpool's famous Illuminations are to be relit tonight at Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm and will be shining every Saturday and Sunday evening until the end of October. The illuminated features, which will be familiar to those who have driven along the 6-mile Lancashire display over the past few decades, include the Sea Creatures, The Extinct Band, Film and Camera, Party Poppers (from the Blackpool Millennium display) and Light Fountains, plus an unrecogniseable section of the Doctor Who display converted into a fountain! More here...

General view of the ex-Blackpool lights. Click on image for a larger version.

Amusement park owner dies
25 August

The death has been announced of William Knightly, who developed Knightly's Fun Park in Towyn, North Wales, from a small collection of rides to a major family entertainment centre. Mr Knightly, 70, was also a councillor at Conwy Council, had been suffering from motor neurone disease for some time. Knightly's has been a feature of this north Wales seaside resort since the 1970s, and Mr Knightly had operated it for 45 years.

Blackpool's Seaside Heritage
12 August

Painstaking research across two years has preceded the publication of Blackpool's Seaside Heritage by Allan Brodie and Matthew Whitfield. This book looks at the history of the town's most famous buildings and other structures, including the Pleasure Beach, Tower, piers and the amusement centres along the Golden Mile. The book is packed with colour photographs and archive material, and also looks at some of the less celebrated (but no less interesting) buildings, including the town's first amusement park, Raikes Hall. The authors told the Blackpool Gazette:

“...there is nothing else like the Pleasure Beach in the world. There are more historic rides in America than in Britain, but Blackpool has six which date to before 1939, and nowhere else has that many in one area. And these rides are still popular today. It’s remarkable that rides built for people in the early 20th century are still in use today.”

Click here for more information on this new book, which is reduced from £14.99 to £10.99.

Setting the record straight: Cooke's Circus
11 August

Cooke's Circus appears in many circus histories, often retelling the same story which was printed in the scarce booklet by Harry S Lumsden called Cooke's Royal Circus, or the even scarcer reprint called Life and Times of John Henry Cooke, which was sold at the circus in 1897. When the Cooke family of performers got too big, some of the sons took out their own circus with their own families. This meant that there could be up to four Cooke's Circuses touring Britain at one time. Often newspapers recorded a show at Cooke's Circus without mentioning which one, or often talked about Mr Cooke without saying which Mr Cooke. Because of this, many errors have been made in circus books. A new book has been published called Cooke's: Britain's Greatest Circus Dynasty by Stuart McMillan, which puts the record straight. More...

New guide to every British pier published
10 August

Published to mark the bicentenary of the opening of the first public pier in 1814, at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, the new book British Seaside Piers by Anthony Wills and Tim Phillips is a complete gazetteer of all piers which the public can visit around the coast of Britain with details of their location, history and current operations, and a variety of historical and contemporary illustrations. Whether your summer invariably includes visits to the coast or you enjoy the vicarious pleasure of the seaside from a winter armchair, this book is an essential companion for all who admire and value Britain's rich seaside heritage. More...

Fantasy Island goes into administration
5 August

News sources are reporting today that the Fantasy Island resort at Ingoldmells, near Skegness, has gone into administration. Fantasy Island is one of the largest amusement parks on the east coast of England, and features major roller coasters such as the Millennium and the Odyssey. The park was set up by Blue Anchor Leisure in the 1990s, but was sold to Conduit Skegness Ltd in recent years. Read more at ITV News, BBC News, Lincolnshire Echo and the Skegness Standard.

Vintage circus attraction opens at Fairytale Farm
July 2014

Travelling 'Mouse Towns' were popular on the travelling fairs and circus in the last century. Mouse-towns were living landscapes - houses, workplaces, recreation, infrastructure - with mice running freely and within various wheels and devices, presented as colourful sideshows. Fairytale Farm in Oxfordshire has opened a permanent Mouse Town attraction in a disused stable, featuring a quaint, beautifully-crafted town with a large family of mice going about their daily business. More...

Blackpool Pleasure Beach voted the UK's best theme park
July 2014

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, billed as Britain's most ride-intensive amusement park, has been voted the best theme park in Britain by TripAdvisor in its Travellers' Choice Awards. This is compiled by TripAdvisor based on millions of reviews and is considered to be the most accurate industry awards, being based primarily on customer satisfaction.

TripAdvisor spokesman James Kay said: "Blackpool Pleasure Beach is not just the country's best-rated amusement park, it is also one of the cheapest for a family day out among the UK top 10, proving that great value often trumps bigger rides in the eyes of consumers."

Paultons Park came second in the poll with Alton Towers third. Other featured parks include Drayton Manor (4), Thorpe Park (5) and Southend's Adventure Island (10).

Blackpool Pleasure Beach opened in 1896 and has regularly been listed as one of the most visited attractions in the UK, featuring 10 roller coasters and the world's biggest dark ride, Valhalla. It also features a range of big shows, numerous restaurants, retailing and the UK's only Nickelodeon Land. The park has recently invested millions of pounds in improvements, which has resulted in spectacular customer satisfaction ratings on TripAdvisor, making it the now UK market leader. Reported in The Mirror, The Daily Mail and

£80m investment at West Midland Safari Park
6 July 2014

West Midland Safari Park near Bewdley in Worcestershire has announced an £80m investment into the park, which will see the development of an indoor water park, hotel and conference centre, creating 500 jobs. This will be the biggest transformation of the park since it opened in the 1970s. Plans will be on display at the Safari Park on Tuesday 8th July from 11am to 8pm.

Photographs of the development appear on the Express and Star website.

Click here for 10/7/2014 update

View of proposed water slides at West Midland Safari Park

All about dodgems
3 June 2014

You have all bumped your way around the dodgem track, now a new book reveals what was happening behind the laughter. With details of manufacture from the very men who put them together, the new book Dodgems by Kay Townsend is the untold story of this popular fairground ride.

Did you know the dodgems have been with us for over 80 years? But where did they come from? Who made them? What makes them stop and what makes them go? This book takes you on a trip down memory lane and tells how this ride developed and how they work. With chapters covering the origin of the ride, the different British manufacturers and dodgem transport, this book is a step back in time. More...

Dreamland Expo opens
25 May 2014

At 2pm today the Dreamland Trust opened Dreamland Expo, the brand new visitor centre telling the story of Dreamland and giving a taste of things to come when the park reopens next year. Dreamland chair Nick Laister said a few words to the crowd and company secretary Susan Marsh cut the ribbon. People flooded into the former amusement arcade in their hundreds and feedback was very positive.

To celebrate the opening of the Expo, Nick Evans has updated his highly successful Dreamland book Dreamland Remembered, with 40 new photographs and brought it up to date with the present plans for reopening Britain's first amusement park of historic rides. The new book is called Dreamland Revived: The story of Margate's famous amusement park and it is available from Joyland Books at a discounted price. Click here for more...

Above: The cover of Dreamland Revived

Exclusive birthday party packages at Fairytale Farm
January 2014

Hold your birthday party at Fairytale Farm in January, February or March whilst the park is closed to the public, and the entire farm is yours for the duration of the party. And we won't book another party at the same time as yours - so you won't need to share with anybody else!

Each party package includes: exclusive use of Fairytale Farm for two and a half hours; your own party host; all food provided; goody bag for all party guests; free bag of animal feed for each child (daylight hours only); party invitations; birthday card for birthday child with £5 gift voucher to use in Fairytale Farm shop; one adult free with every full paying child; and a free return visit for every child. More...

Modern-day fairground transport images
19 January 2014

Pull On - Today's Showmen's Transport is a new fairground transport book by Dan Grantham, published by the Fairground Society.

The book includes 80 full page colour photographs of modern day fairground transport, as the packed up rides arrive at their destinations around England.

The book features photos by Dan Grantham, Tim Holmes, Ian Cant, Mike Hart, Mick Wells, Ant Williams and Steve Barton. More...

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