10. Water Chute (from Ocean Beach Fun Fair, Rhyl)

The Dreamland Water Chute in 1993. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

The Dreamland Water Chute from the air in 1993. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

Ocean Beach's Water Chute in 1980 - this ride has been acquired for the Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park project. (Photograph: Harold Robinson).

A Water Chute boat at Rhyl in May 2007. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

Dave Collard, David Wragg and Harold Robinson surveying the Rhyl Water Chute structure in May 2007. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

The Save Dreamland Campaign in Rhyl loading the boats ready for transport south in October 2007. (Photograph: Susan Marsh).

Some of the salvaged parts from Rhyl in storage for the Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park in October 2007. (Photograph: Dave Collard).

History: Large water chutes had appeared at numerous exhibitions between 1901 and 1908, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin. On these chutes a boat was released down a track into a lake, where the boats literally floated before being hoisted back up the incline. Permanent versions of this ride appeared at amusement parks at Blackpool, Southend and Southport. Smaller chutes, which operated on a similar principle, appeared at Wicksteed Park (Kettering), East Park (Hull) and at North Bay (Scarborough) and all still operate.

The Rhyl Water Chute was very different. This was a continuous circuit coaster with a water splash drop and is most commonly known as a ‘circular water chute’. On circular water chutes, the ‘boat’ never leaves the track; the ride is actually a side-friction wooden roller coaster.

The concept was invented by German Showman Hugo Hasse, designer of Great Yarmouth’s Scenic Railway. His first ride appeared at the Munich Festival of 1928. The concept was then adapted by amusement park entrepreneur Leslie Joseph, who opened similar rides at several of his parks. The first was at Coney Beach (Porthcawl) in 1936.

The Rhyl Water Chute originates from Southend's Kursaal Amusement Park, and was originally built in 1958. This survived until 1971, when it was dismantled and moved to Rhyl’s Ocean Beach Fun Fair, where it opened in 1972.

The ride was largely demolished in October 2007, following the closure of Ocean Beach. However, the main mechanical parts, including gears, motors, pumps and boats were rescued by the Save Dreamland Campaign. Details of the rescue can be found here.

It is identical to the Water Chute that operated at Dreamland between 1977 and 1995, itself having been relocated from Battersea Fun Fair, where it had operated from 1956. Identical Water Chutes also operated at Belle Vue and Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

There is a history of water chutes by Nick Laister at themagiceye.

Dimensions: 70 feet high, with seven boats (each carrying up to six passengers) and reaches speeds of up to 45mph.

Importance: The only surviving circular water chute in the world, and identical to Dreamland's former Water Chute.

Latest: Now in storage for use in the Heritage Park.

If you have any further information on the history of this ride, please email nick@savedreamland.co.uk.

Click on the photographs for larger versions.

Return to Our Proposals