more than half a century providing family entertainment at its most
exciting, George and Vera Bryan, founders of Drayton Manor Theme
Park have produced a fascinating account of their years in the
Memories of a
Family Fun Park is a lavishly produced 88-page book written by Fred
Bromwich who captures the flavour of the life of a theme park
George’s father William was famous
for his penny arcade slot machines, and Vera helped her father run
his amusement park in Wokingham called California in England.
When the couple took over Drayton
Manor in Tamworth, it was a crumbling ruin which had formerly been
the site of the ancestral home of the famous Peel dynasty, notably
prime minister Sir Robert Peel, and had been visited by Queen
Victoria, the Duke of Wellington, Gladstone and actress Beatrice
Lillie, who was married to the fifth Sir Robert Peel.
George Bryan borrowed money to buy
the derelict site that had been used by the army during the war, and
began the task of reconstructing the 17 army huts, installing a few
simple rides and digging a kiddies’ boating pool, to open for the
first time in 1950.
Now Drayton Manor is home to some
of the best rides in the world, including Shockwave, Europe’s only
stand-up roller coaster; the G-Force coaster with its special hip
restraint; StormForce 10, the UK’s fastest wet-knuckle ride; and
Apocalypse, the world’s first stand-up tower drop.
Drayton Manor is run by George and
Vera’s son Colin Bryan and the next generation, continuing the