dramatic and sudden closure in September 2006 the Pleasureland
Amusement Park at Southport was a major feature of the town’s
Long before the
park opened in the 1920s, the seaward
side of the town was synonymous with public amusement. From the 1870s
there had gathered a collection of shies, stalls and simple rides at
Southport’s southern lake near the foreshore. It was from this
haphazard gathering that Pleasureland evolved into one of the most
important amusement parks in Britain.
Memories tells the story of how the park rose from the foreshore
sands, despite opposition from Southport’s elite – and how a
ruthless fight for territory was fought within the park itself, a
battle in which only the politically savvy survived.
Pleasureland has ridden the roller coaster of change. From the early
promise of being a rival to Blackpool’s famous Pleasure Beach it
endured the tribulations of wartime requisition, but bounced back in
spectacular fashion in its 1950s heyday. Changing tastes eventually
led to a period of decline, but the park enjoyed renewed success
towards the end of the Twentieth Century under Pleasure Beach supremo Geoffrey Thompson.
Sadly, it was not to
last, with the park closing unexpectedly in September 2006 following
Thompson's untimely death.
published just before the park's demise, is
packed with well over 150 photographs, most of which have never
before been seen in print. It is a fitting tribute to a much
celebrated amusement park.
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Kursaal Memories: A History of Southend's Amusement Park
by Ken Crowe