North Wales was always a regular port of call for my
family we had never ventured to the south of the
This all changed one day in August 1981 when my dad
suggested that we take a day trip to Barry Island
He remembered the resorts from the days when he
worked as a sales rep and had to travel the length
and breadth of western England and Wales.
As I had only seen glimpses of these two resorts and
their amusement parks in annual travel guides I was
more than keen to pay a visit.
After what seemed like hours travelling across
country we arrived at Barry Island and Pat Collins
Although the famous wooden Scenic Railway had been
demolished there were plenty of attractions to hold
On part of that ride's old site was a Pinfari steel
coaster called The Galaxy.
Next to this was the Wacky Goldmine dark ride: wood
from the old Scenic had been used to build this
Also along this back row, which was furthest away
from the seafront, was the Jungle Ride, an updated
version of the River Caves, and a small Log Flume,
clad in fake rock.
first ride that greeted visitors at the bottom end
of the park was a Reverchon Matterhorn. I think this
was brand new at the park. It was decorated in a
very similar fashion to the rides at Rhyl and
Porthcawl and had a snow scene backflash and glitter
ball in the centre. But this version had spotlights
on columns around the outside of the track instead
of cut out pine trees giving it a more modern feel.
Walking along the narrow part of the park I found a
collection of kids rides and stalls but this avenue
opened out into the main section of the rides which
were situated at the top of the park next to the
Butlin's holiday camp.
Swinging high at the seafront side of this section
was The Huss Pirat Ship (Pirate spelt Pirat). This,
like a few of the other novelty rides at Barry,
visited Nottingham Goose Fair in October 1981.
Next to this was another Huss ride, the Enterprise,
a fast spinning wheel, which started off horizontal
and raised to completely vertical sending its riders
upside down at its highest point.
Two other unusual novelties could also be found
here. The SwingAround, which worked in a similar
fashion to the ride at Rhyl, although I think this
was a slightly larger version. It had alternate
bright blue and orange arms.
Next to this was a Telecombat. This was very rare in
the UK. An updated version of the popular Hurricane
Jets, it allowed riders to turn the individual cars
and shoot down the riders in front or behind them.
Other rides included a Swingin' Gym, where riders
had to work pretty hard to swing their cage through
360 degrees, a set of Dodgems in a permanent
building, a Ferris Wheel which was called Over The
Falls and a 'Disco' Waltzer.
This latter ride was one of the last waltzers ever
built by the famous company George Maxwell of
Musselburgh. It was a very attractive machine which
was painted in traditional style with the boards
having a base colour of orange.
The cars, or tubs, were a very modern shape with the
sides sloping outwards making the top of the tub
wider than the base.
There was also a standard Bennet Lifting Paratrooper
and a Ghost Train called Uncle Frankenstein's Scream
Finally, hidden at the back corner of the park next
to the Galaxy coaster, was a Fun House. I think this
had all of its novelties supplied by Modern Products
Although Barry Island wasn't the largest of seaside
parks at the time it was very well maintained and
packed full of the latest novelty rides.
When I called in at the park last year (2005) it
seemed in a pretty sorry state with everything
looking like it needed a good coat of paint...
Nick Laister/Joyland Books 26th October 2006
"The South Wales retailer, Hyper Value, is
reportedly in financial difficulty.
The Company, which owns Barry Island Pleasure Park,
is closing several of its South Wales stores
following a period of poor trading.
Retail restructuring specialist Hilco has acquired a
50% share in the company, following Hyper Value's
inability to borrow any further funds.
The Merthyr Tydfil-based firm was founded 25 years
ago by Ken Rogers, who died in 2001 aged 56. He
bought the Barry Island Pleasure Park in 1995 and
undertook a £5m refurbishment programme.
The future of the Pleasure Park is now in doubt. A
statement on the future of the company is expected
Nick Laister/Joyland Books 25th December 2006
Famous South Wales amusement park, Barry Island
Pleasure Park, might have been saved in an eleventh
hour deal between its owners, Hyper Value, and
retail restructuring specialist Hilco.
Hilco acquired a 50% interest in Hyper Value
Holdings Ltd in August 2006 when the business was
close to collapse.
As part of the transaction Hilco has now also agreed
to fund a joint venture arrangement with Ian Rogers,
son of the business's founder (the late Ken Rogers),
to acquire and operate the Barry Island Pleasure
Park including the Dolphin Bar and KR's nightclub.
Whether this becomes a long-term solution remains to
Log Flume, which opened in the 1980 season, in Barry
Matterhorn at Barry Island.
Pirat ride, Barry Island.
Enterprise at Barry Island.
Swingaround at Barry Island.
with the Galaxy Roller Coaster behind at Barry Island
Disco Waltzer at Barry Island.