hundred-year-old mansion, decaying and largely abandoned. A deep,
foreboding valley hosting pretty gardens and dozens of bizarre and
unusual structures. A terrifying plunge into Oblivion, and a
mysterious alien beast known as Nemesis.
All of these things can be found in
one truly unique place: Alton Towers. But how on earth did they get
there? The story behind the UK’s most popular theme park is just as
thrilling and full of twists and turns as the rollercoasters that
attract millions to the park every year.
Prepare to be sucked into a tale of
daring invention, personal tragedy, wanton destruction and brilliant
Two hundred years ago, a wealthy
earl began the transformation of a barren patch of land in rural
Staffordshire into the site of a stunning gothic mansion surrounded
by eye-wateringly beautiful gardens. Mocked and ridiculed by his
peers for his strange tastes and outlandish ideas, he nevertheless
succeeded in attracting people from far and wide to come and marvel
at his creations.
Less than 50 years later, the house
stood desolate and empty. The genius architect who had helped the
earl’s successor complete his vision lay dead at 40, having spent
many of his final months incarcerated in London’s brutal Bedlam
mental asylum. How had the mighty fallen so far, so fast?
It didn’t end there. The earl’s
descendants fought bitterly over Alton Towers – and with each other
– until finally the near-ruined property was sold into private hands
in the 1920s. In Tales from the Towers, you can experience what it
was like to visit the estate in its early years as a tourist
attraction, when spectacular fetes, fairground rides and exotic
animals were all part of the appeal.
Finally, you’ll find out how an
eccentric property developer was able to gain control over the
Towers and convert them into Britain’s first theme park. You’ll
learn about the astounding successes that followed, such as the day
that riders queued for nine hours to ride the park’s first major
rollercoaster. And your eyes will widen with amazement as you
uncover how the owner’s empire came crashing down when he tried to
convert one of London's architectural icons into a truly astonishing
second theme park.
As well as documenting – for the
first time – the full and fascinating history of Alton Towers, Tales
from the Towers also explains exactly how the park’s most popular
rides – such as Nemesis, Oblivion and The Smiler – were created. It
even takes an in-depth look at rides that were designed for the park
but never built, enabling you to take a voyage of discovery and
imagine what might have been.
Add a new dimension to your Alton
What happens if I get trapped on
the Skyride when it breaks down?
Is it true that people
have DIED on Alton Towers' rides?
What is it like to dress up as a
How do I become a ride operator?
Whatever questions you may have
about Alton Towers, Tales from the Towers has the answers!
Not only that, but the book is
peppered with unusual and interesting facts about the park. You can
keep your eyes peeled for the many "hidden secrets" that it
highlights during your next trip, adding a fun new dimension to your
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