This Page is an Archive of all news items featured on the Joyland Books News Page between 1 January and 30 June 2007.
For the latest news, click here.

Southport Wild Mouse comes down [23/6/07]

The Save Dreamland Campaign is reporting that dismantling work on the King Solomon's Mines roller coaster (formerly the Wild Mouse at Morecambe Pleasure Park) is progressing ahead of schedule, with about 50% of the ride now down. Rides such as the Caterpillar and Ghost Train have been completely dismantled and moved off site. The Campaign website now features a Photo Gallery showing the rides being dismantled and another Photo Gallery showing the current state of the park.

Killarney Springs Family Park in receivership [19/6/07]

The Killarney Springs Family Park in Bude, Cornwall, has closed with immediate effect after going into receivership. Set in 66 acres of countryside, Killarney Springs was recently acquired by showman Nicholas Wilson, who installed rides such as a roller coaster, log flume and travelling fairground rides, including a waltzer, dodgems and twist. Enforcement action was taken by North Cornwall District Council against the roller coaster and log flume in 2006 and a retrospective planning application for the rides was refused in February 2007.

Killarney Springs Family Park: The latest in a long line of fun park closures.

Save Metroland! [19/6/07]

A new campaign has been set up to try and save the MetroLand indoor theme park at Gateshead's Metro Centre. The Campaign to 'Save MetroLand' was set up by the staff of the theme park after they were told the news of the proposed plans by the park's owners, Capital Shopping Centres, to close it and open a multiplex cinema. The website seeks supporters to assist in the fight to make sure that MetroLand remains part of the region for many more years to come. www.savemetroland.com

A postcard from the Alton Towers of West Yorkshire [19/6/07]

A brand new release on the history of a much-loved Yorkshire pleasure ground is now available. Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens: A Postcard from Sunny Bunces by Chris Helme tells the story of what has been described as "the Belle Vue or Alton Towers of West Yorkshire". Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens near Brighouse opened in 1880, but became a fully fledged amusement park in 1883 when amusement rides were added. For more than seventy years, day trippers from around the north of England enjoyed its boating lakes, train and fairground rides, fireworks, helter skelter and beautiful gardens. And find out about rides such as The Glacier, The Aerial Glider and The Flyer, which were completely unique to Sunny Vale.

Click here for more details or to buy your own copy of this book.

Dreamland Campaign rescues historic Southport rides [14/6/07]

The Save Dreamland Campaign has begun dismantling the remaining vintage rides at Southport's defunct Pleasureland Amusement Park. The rides will form part of the Heritage Amusement Park planned for Dreamland. Ride dismantling started on Wednesday 6 June and will continue until the end of the month with a nine-strong team of experienced engineers. The rides being removed and placed in storage by the Campaign include the King Solomon's Mines/Wild Mouse roller coaster (pictured right), Caterpillar, Mistral Flying Machine/Flying Scooters and River Caves.

Above: Dismantling commences on the Wild Mouse yesterday. (Click on the image for a larger version)

Campaign Leader Nick Laister made the following statement: "Southport's Pleasureland is one of only a handful of seaside amusement parks in this country that still have original vintage amusement park rides. Rides such as the River Caves and Caterpillar date back to the 1920s. Sadly the park closed last year and the rides were due to be bulldozed this month to make way for a new temporary fairground operator. We have been in discussions with Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Pleasureland's new owners, Sefton Council, since April with a view to removing all the original rides to allow them to be placed in storage for use in the proposed Heritage Amusement Park. Thankfully these discussions have resulted in the rides being 'donated' to the Dreamland project".
The Save Dreamland Campaign launched its proposals for a Heritage Amusement Park, based around the listed Scenic Railway, in May 2007. The Heritage Amusement Park, which would be a world's first, will include some of the remaining examples of Britain's amusement park heritage in a high quality park-like environment around the Scenic Railway. The listed Cinema building would also be brought back into use with rides, shows, bars, restaurants and an amusement park/seaside heritage museum.
Above: The site of the former Mistral Flying Machine and Caterpillar, now in storage. (Click on the image for a larger version)
The Save Dreamland Campaign has set up The Dreamland Trust, which will play a key role in delivering the Heritage Amusement Park project. Nick, who is Chairman of The Dreamland Trust, adds: "We believe that this is the best option to secure the future of the Grade 2 listed Scenic Railway and for the distinguished history of the park to be recognised. It is also no exaggeration to say that within the next 12 months most of the country's amusement park heritage outside of Blackpool and Great Yarmouth will be lost. It is therefore an ideal way of safeguarding and preserving the UK's amusement park heritage at this critical time. The Dreamland project could not have been better timed and will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the regeneration of Margate."
Other Pleasureland rides being dismantled and moved into storage in the south of England include the Ghost Train (cars, track and electrics), Sandstorm (formerly the Astro Swirl at Blackpool Pleasure Beach), Cableway, Haunted Swing and the remaining machines from the Fun House. Laister is currently in discussions with a number of other parks about moving threatened vintage rides. Click here for more details of the Heritage Amusement Park and here for the latest news on the project, updated regularly.
Photographs courtesy of Richard Ryan

Above: The Ghost Train building being bulldozed; the cars and track have been moved to Margate. (Click on the image for a larger version)

A dazzling trip back to another time [13/6/07]

Narrated by Gene Wilder ("Young Frankenstein", "Blazing Saddles" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"), EXPO - Magic of the White City brings the Chicago World's Fair to life. Experience the world of 1893 through a cinematic visit to Chicago's Columbian Exposition. See fairgoers enjoying the popular and commercially successful Midway Plaisance where the festive atmosphere of this one-mile entertainment center offers an array of guilty pleasures. Dubbed the 'White City', it inspires future innovators like Henry Ford and Frank Lloyd Wright, debuts the Ferris Wheel and Cracker Jack, and, in many ways, marks the beginning of the 20th century. Filmed in High-Definition, EXPO - Magic of the White City immerses viewers in one of the world's biggest extravaganzas and one of the most unforgettable events in American history. Click here for more details.

Stay of execution for Pleasureland [3/6/07]

Temporary rides will return to Southport's former Pleasureland amusement park while the long-term future of the site is decided. A short-term lease for the 25-acre park has been agreed with leisure operator Dreamstorm until the end of the 2008 season. This will see a number of British and European travelling funfair rides moving to the site on a temporary basis, similar to the way Margate's Dreamland has been operated since its closure at the end of the 2002 season. The future of the remaining original rides will be announced shortly.

Merlin reveals expansion plans [3/6/07]

Merlin Entertainments has announced the completion of its 2bn acquisition of Tussauds and, according to reports in the Times, plans to spend more than 68m each year on a three-year expansion programme. Merlin is also considering a potential stock exchange float. Most of the theme parks (including Alton Towers, Gardaland and Heide Park) will be operated by a new Resort Theme Parks division. Legoland parks will have their own separate division.

Camelot prepares for Knightmare opening [3/6/07]

Knightmare, the new roller coaster at Camelot Theme Park, opens on 23 June 2007. At 3m, this represents the largest investment yet by Prime Resorts Ltd, owners of the park. The mile-long roller coaster reaches speeds of over 40mph and lasts for just under 2 minutes. The German-built roller coaster has been moved to Camelot from Kobe in Japan, and is highly rated by roller coaster enthusiasts.
M&D's theme park near Glasgow, Scotland, has also added a new roller coaster to its 2007 line-up, the Runaway Mine Train. This ride is a conversion from the park's Jamming spinning coaster, built by Barbisan in 1989. New roller coasters are also opening at Adventure Island (Southend), Pleasurewood Hills (Lowestoft), Twinlakes (Melton Mowbray), Flamingo Land (Malton) and Pleasure Beach Blackpool.

Ride the Wall of Death [27/5/07]

The Wall of Death in its various forms has thrilled and entertained audiences since the 1920s. Across the generations crowds have flocked to watch the seemingly impossible as riders tackle the vertical face of the Wall and compete with each other to perform ever more outrageous stunts. Riding the Wall of Death by Allan Ford and Nick Corble is the first comprehensive world history of the Wall of Death and explores its origins around the turn of the nineteenth century and chronicles the Wall through its glory days before and after the Second World War, its subsequent decline and more recent revival. Along the way we discover the men and machines, including the great Indian Scout motorbikes, how the Wall has entered entertainment folklore and the innovations used to stand out from the crowd, ranging from the spherical Globe of Death to the use of cars and go-karts. More...

Harbour Park adds new rides [27/5/07]

Harbour Park at Littlehampton has invested 750,000 in new rides and attractions for the 2007 season. The 75-year-old park, formerly a Butlin's Amusement Park, has added a new 7.5-metre high Log Flume ride, bucking the trend of log flume demolitions (Adventure Island and Pleasure Beach Blackpool both removed their log flumes at the end of the 2006 season). The park has also added a unique Crazy Bike ride (pictured to the right), believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. Other rides and attractions for the family include the Hic-Cup, Waltzer, Dodgems, Prize Bingo and prize games. Harbour Park also features an adventure golf, a panning for gold attraction, ice skating rink and haunted walk-through.

Click here for links to the websites of other amusement and theme parks throughout the UK.

American seaside town in new book [27/5/07]

Forty miles south of Atlantic City, just below the Mason Dixon line, lies Cape May, New Jersey. In his illustrated celebration of the birth, demise and resurrection of the America's oldest seaside resort, The Summer City By The Sea, Emil Salvini leads the reader through the Cape's two hundred tumultuous years, which have forever earned it the moniker Queen of the Seaside Resorts. During its ironic beginning as a coastal getaway not for New Jerseyans but for Philadelphians, middle-class families would weather the arduous two-day journey to the site then known as Cape Island. More...

New amusement park opens in Scarborough [26/5/07]

A new, albeit temporary, amusement park opens in Scarborough this weekend on the site of the former Atlantis water park. Atlantis Family Amusement Park will feature a range of family rides and stalls including a family roller coaster, dodgems, waltzer and superbob. The Atlantis water park site forms part of The Sands development, which includes residential apartments, casino, hotel and cinema on the site of the North Bay Leisure Parks - the current amusement park is a temporary measure until this part of the site is redeveloped. The Sands development site also includes the now derelict Marvels Amusement Park site and Kinderland (which currently remains open). Atlantis Family Amusement Park is open from 26 May to the end of September and costs 50p to enter. Click here for more details.

King and queen of the amusement park [12/5/07]

The king of the amusement park is the mighty roller coaster, and now you can read a guide to the roller coasters of the United States and Canada. Roller Coasters by Todd H Throgmorton includes a listing of amusement and theme parks as well as numerous photographs of the rides, coaster history, information on the great coaster designers and other fun facts.

If the roller coaster is king of the amusement park, then the ferris wheel is undoubtedly the queen. Ferris Wheels: An Illustrated History by Norman Anderson is a huge book with more than 400 pages of history, photographs and even drawings and designs of these rides which have become a universal symbol of the amusement industry.

Grove Land Leisure Park to become holiday park [12/5/07]

Carmarthenshire County Council has resolved to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of the Grove Land Leisure Park, St Clears. The park, which opened in 1994, featured a number of rides and attractions over the years, including the Tornado roller coaster (pictured, right). The park closed at the end of the 2005 season and will now be redeveloped into a holiday park with 110 timber lodges and 30 new build cottages. Click here for the full planning report on the council website.

More circus books added [12/5/07]

The Joyland Books Circus Books department is becoming one of our biggest, and is certainly our fastest growing. We have now added three new titles, all of which take a detailed and scholarly look at various aspects of this fascinating form of entertainment.

Two Hundred Years of the American Circus by Tom Ogden is a large encyclopaedia on the subject.

The New American Circus by Ernest Albrecht is an authoritative study for the armchair reader and circus fan.

Ringling: The Florida Years by David Weeks is a study of circus giant John Ringling.

Heritage amusement park plan for Dreamland launched [11/5/07]

The Save Dreamland Campaign has launched plans for the world's first heritage amusement park at the famous Margate fun park. The new attraction would include examples of Britain's 'at risk' amusement park rides, rescued from closing parks. The plans are the culmination of several month's work, in consultation with Thanet District Council and the Margate Renewal Partnership. The Campaign is currently discussing the plans with the owners of the site, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company. Full report here.
In other amusement park news, the campaign to save a vintage carousel and a Log Flume ride at Crealy Great Adventure Park in Devon is hotting up, with over 700 people having written to the local council. East Devon District Council has served an enforcement notice on the park for the removal of the rides. More here.

More secondhand books added [29/4/07]

Our popular range of secondhand circus books has just got bigger. We have added a book on the history of Bertram Mills Circus; the Wisconsin Great Circus Parade; Circus Trains, Trucks & Models; Two Hundred Years of the American Circus; and Clowns.

Enthusiasts of amusement parks will love Blackpool Pleasure Beach: A Hundred Years of Fun, published in 1996 to celebrate the park's centenary. Roller Coaster is the definitive book on the most popular amusement park ride of all, and Skegness Pier 1881 - 1978 is the history of the ill-fated seaside pier.

Fairground enthusiasts will want to buy Fairground Strollers and Showfolk and the 1975 guide to Wookey Hole, which then featured a fairground collection. More...

Pioneering circus book wins rave reviews [28/4/07]

Described by the American Historical Review as "well-produced" and "nicely illustrated", The Circus and Victorian Society by Brenda Assael looks at the large performing circus in Victorian Britain. With its roots in the eighteenth century, the circus reached its pinnacle toward the end of the Victorian era when there were, by one count, 74 circuses throughout the country. Some of these could regularly draw bigger audiences than music hall, although there was a wide spectrum of quality. Many circuses were very local, itinerant, and ephemeral; others, like the best-known purveyor of tableau and spectacle, Astley's, were large, long-lived institutions where a few star performers could earn the kind of money that suggested professional respectability. This is the definitive work on Victorian circus. Click here for more details or here to see our full selection of circus books.

Crealy launches 'Save the Rides' campaign [25/4/07]

Devon's Crealy Great Adventure Park has launched a campaign to save two of its most popular rides. East Devon District Council has decided that the Tidal Wave Log Flume (pictured, right) and Victorian Carousel need planning permission because the part of Crealy in which they stand is not an amusement park. If planning permission is refused, the rides - which were installed in 2003 - may have to be removed. The Council has also launched enforcement action. There is a full report here. More: www.crealy.co.uk/savetherides

Infusion press launch in London [21/4/07]

Pleasure Beach Blackpool's new 8m roller coaster, Infusion, was given a movie-style launch in London on Thursday. The press were treated to a special preview film of the ride at The Savoy Hotel. The suspended looping coaster - relocated from the Company's defunct Southport Pleasureland park - replaces the park's Log Flume and is billed as the first roller coaster to be built entirely over water.

Dickens theme park opens next month [21/4/07]

A Charles Dickens theme park opens next month in the Chatham Maritime Estate in Kent. Rides and attractions at the 62m Dickens World include a Victorian Music Hall, The Old Curiosity Shop, reproductions of period London street scenes, one major dark ride (the Great Expectations boat ride) and nine other attractions, such as Crime & Punishment, The School House and The Haunted House of Ebenezer Scrooge. The theme park is the brainchild of deceased theme park designer, Gerry O'Sullivan-Beare, and is expected to attract 300,000 visitors per year.

Sefton Council buys Pleasureland [5/4/07]

Sefton Council and Pleasureland Ltd agreed terms yesterday for the council to buy back the remainder of the lease on the Southport seafront site. The 25 acre amusement park has been vacant since Pleasureland closed its gates in September 2006. The Council is looking into short-term uses for the site whilst its long-term future is decided. For more on the history of Pleasureland, buy Pleasureland Memories by Stephen Copnall, the full story of this much-loved visitor attraction.

Runaway Coaster demolished [5/4/07]

The Runaway Coaster (right, click on image for larger version) at the former Rotunda Amusement Park, Folkestone, was demolished today. Built in 1922, it was a side-friction figure eight coaster, of the type that was popular (and relatively common) in the UK before the Second World War. This was a truly fabulous vintage ride and was very similar to the figure eight coasters that were located at seaside resorts up and down the country, none of which now survive. The Save Dreamland Campaign made an eleventh-hour attempt to save it, but were unsuccessful. Full story here.

A very big story comes to Joyland [1/4/07]

Now this is a big story - a very big story. Start with one enormous elephant. Add a larger-than-life carnival huckster, and put them together in one tremendous circus. Toss in a gigantic capacity for showmanship, and what could be bigger? Nothing - because nothing was ever as big as Jumbo the elephant.

That's what P.T. Barnum said when he purchased the prize pachyderm from the London Zoo and took him to America. Newspapers called Jumbo everything from 'prodigious mountain' to 'behemoth of holy writ.' Elephant Story by Les Harding traces Jumbo's life from his capture in East Africa. It is the story of how one man and one animal came together in a big way to shape popular culture. More details...

Doctor Who to switch on Blackpool Illuminations [31/3/07]

Doctor Who star David Tennant will be switching on the famous Blackpool Illuminations on 31 August 2007. The actor, who took over the role of 'The Doctor' from Christopher Eccleston in 2005, will flick the switch as part of a free concert on Blackpool's golden mile. Doctor Who, which returns to BBC1 this evening at 7pm, will also be featured in a brand new illuminated display, details of which will be announced by Illuminations bosses soon.

Tennant joins an illustrious list of stars to have launched the lights including the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, who illuminated the town as Doctor Who back in 1975. Find out more about the stars who switched on the lights and the history of this world-famous event in the book From Lamp to Laser, available from Joyland Books.

Building up vintage rides on DVD [17/3/07]

From Dave Homer video is a new series of vintage fairground rides being built up at the new Fairground Heritage Centre (Dingles, Devon). Heading up the list of new titles is Building up the Rodeo Switchback. Quite probably the oldest surviving fairground ride in the UK and certainly in the ownership of the Fairground Heritage Trust, the Rodeo Switchback is the only spinning top example to survive, and is believed to have been originally built in 1880 for James Pettigrove. The Trust acquired the machine in 1993 and in September 2006 it was built up by volunteers over three days at Dingles. This DVD also includes archive footage from 1983, and trial running of the ride in 2006. Also available are similar DVDs of the Supersonic Skid, the Joy Car Dodgems and the Super Chariot Racer.

Circus history and culture explored: new to Joyland [17/3/07]

Circus enthusiasts will need to cancel the next few weekends, as three new books on circus history and culture are added to Joyland's ever-expanding Circus Bookshop. Ringlingville USA is the stupendous story of seven siblings and their stunning circus success. This history of the Ringling Circus, the first in more than 50 years, recounts the hard work, business savvy, and entrepreneurship of the Ringling Brothers as they created the largest, most famous circus in the world. This is an extensively illustrated history with many never before published photographs. Also added are The Circus Age, a book about culture and society under the American big top and The Pickle Clowns, a collective history of the famous clowns, recorded in their own words. Click here for more circus books.

Theme park music CD available again - limited time [17/3/07]

In association with composer Ian Habgood, we bring you (for a limited time only) the original CD of theme park music, Themed Music. Featuring the music of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures, this CD is produced by the composer of the original theme park music and features the original tracks you can hear at Britain's biggest theme parks. This title is now officially deleted, but by special arrangement with Ian Habgood, we have made this item available again. Supplies are low and we cannot guarantee at this stage that we can secure additional stock when this batch is sold. More details...

New worlds of entertainment at Joyland [17/3/07]

If your interest goes beyond mainstream entertainment such as television, cinema and West End shows, then you are sure to find much to interest you in Joyland's Specialist Entertainment Bookshop. Street carnival, pantomime and theatre are the subject of three new books added to our specialist store today. Carnival and the Formation of a Caribbean Transnation is a book on the wonderful carnivals of Trinidad, which gives a unique insight into the popular culture of this colourful form of entertainment. The Carnival Stage: Vicentine Comedy in a Serio-Comic Mode is an innovative study on the roots of Gil Vicente's theatrical productions. And The Age & Stage of George L Fox 1825-1877 is a biography of the panto clown Laff Fox, renowned in his time as America's funniest performer. And don't forget to take a peek inside our wonderful world of entertainment - you might be surprised what is out there!

Dark rides book out now [3/3/07]

A classic book on the history of dark rides at amusement parks has been re-released in a completely updated format and is now available in the United Kingdom for the first time exclusively from Joyland Books.

Scary Dark Rides by Doug Higley is not a list of rides or a collection of dry statistics, it is the 'soul' of what these rides are all about from their portable beginnings in carnivals to today's big theme parks. It is about the chemistry of what we do when we choose to get scared for fun. This is the little book that first turned the lights on!

With side trips to Disneyland, Coney Island sideshows, the live spook shows that were all the rage in theatres of the 1940s and 1950s and even old drive-in horror movies, it's a very personal tour with an insider perspective, from a keen observer of what entertainment in the dark is really all about. More...

Multi-million pound investment for Fantasy Island [2/3/07]

The new owners of Fantasy Island Theme Park, at Ingoldmells near Skegness, have announced a programme of development worth hundreds of millions of pounds for the resort. Conduit Leisure, which bought the attraction from John Woodward's Blue Anchor Leisure last year, plans a 4,000-6,000 seat arena, ice rink, outdoor music venue to hold up to 12,000 people, a small casino/hotel on the car park, introduction of branded caterers in the pyramid, expansion of the market, development of new holiday apartments, new retail development and the retention and development of the Fantasy Island rides.

Company chairman Laurence Davis told the Skegness Standard that the first planning application is likely to be submitted to East Lindsey District Council in June 2007. Senior officers and councillors at the Council and Lincolnshire County Council have already publicly praised Conduit's vision. The first event will be a free firework display on 7 April, billed as "probably the biggest firework display which the coast has ever seen".

Joyland's Secondhand Shop grows [12/2/07]

The shelves in the Joyland Books Secondhand Shop are beginning to sag as yet more rare and out-of-print fairground and circus books are added. A huge selection of secondhand circus books is now available, including The Circus: Lure and Legend - the full story of the circus from ancient times - and Clowns - an enjoyable and informative history of these funny men. For the traction engine enthusiast, we have added A Gallery of Old Timers and Steam Traction Engines, Wagons and Rollers in Colour. Those interested in fairground sideshows and freak shows should check out Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self - an in-depth examination of the freak from classical times to the present. But this is only the tip of the circus tent. Click here for the full list (new items highlighted).

Rotunda amusement park auction [3/2/07]

The remaining contents of Folkestone's Rotunda Amusement Park are to be auctioned at the park on Monday 12 February 2007 at 11am. Contents include approximately 200 amusement arcade machines, ex-Blackpool illuminations lights and signs, kid's soft play area, illuminated signs, round kiosks, waltzer cars and much more.

Rotunda closed for redevelopment in 2003 and most rides have now been removed.

Barry Island rides for sale [28/1/07]

All 20 rides at Barry Island Pleasure Park in South Wales are being advertised for sale in this week's World's Fair newspaper. The rides include Evolution, Roller Coaster, Pirate Ship and Twister. The park is also advertising ground to let, with the advert stating: "Whole park can be leased or pitch your ride for the 2007 season". This is similar to the way Margate's Dreamland has been operated over the past few years, with the park being leased and rides being sold as the season progresses. As reported a few weeks ago on Joyland Books, the future of the Pleasure Park is uncertain following the collapse of its parent company, Hypervalue.

How a fairground family came to be [27/1/07]

The story of the Townsend fairground family has been released and is now available from Joyland Books. The granddaughter of the founder of Richard Townsend & Sons, Kay Townsend, has written this fascinating story of her family's life on the road. Townsends: A Showman's Story tells of this well-known West Country show family and how their life evolved. It also includes details and images of their rides and transport, including the collection of attractions they operated for many years on Weymouth beach.

This book is only a small part of our huge collection of fairground titles, both new and secondhand. You can also join our Forum and discuss fairgrounds, amusement parks and much more.

Amusement Park Book and DVD Released [27/1/07]

A new book and companion DVD have been released both capturing memories of New Jersey's Palisades Amusement Park. Vince Gargiulo's oversized coffee table book, Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories captures every fond memory of the famous New Jersey fun spot: the vinegar-soaked french fries, the Tunnel of Love, the world's largest outdoor salt water pool, and so much more. The companion DVD, also called Palisades Amusement Park: A Century of Fond Memories, is a thrilling ride into the heart of a classic American amusement park. And for those who just can't get enough of all things Palisades, you can also buy Vince Gargiulo's other title on the same subject, Palisades Amusement Park, published by Arcadia.

Guide to roller coaster thrill parks [13/1/07]

A brand new guide to North America's greatest amusement parks and their roller coasters is now available from Joyland Books as an exclusive import. Whether you have already experienced dozens of theme parks or are just seeking out a travel destination that the entire family can enjoy, Tracking the Thrills: A Guide to North America's Roller Coaster Thrill Parks by Devin Olsen should be your guide. 

The book provides a colourful glance at the 50 largest American thrill parks. This book will guide you to experience the best of the best, whilst knowing how to avoid the less desirable along the way. The book includes honest and balanced reviews of major roller coasters, water rides and non-coaster thrill rides, along with other information to help you take full advantage of each park. More information.

American Adventure closes [5/1/07]

The American Adventure Theme Park in Derbyshire has closed. Park Director Roger Lloyd has announced that the park will not reopen in 2007 and all its rides will be sold. The park originally opened for a few months as Britannia Park in 1985, and then reopened as the American Adventure in 1987 after Britannia Park went into administration. Despite its success under the ownership of Granada (1987-1997), it has performed less well under its current owners, Venture World Ltd (a Trevor Hemmings company).
The late 1980s logo of the American Adventure, when the lease was owned by Granada Group.

Happy New Year from all at Joyland Books! [2/1/07]

Welcome to 2007, as Joyland Books enters its seventh year of trading, bigger and better than ever before.

2006 was a fantastic year for Joyland Books - visitors to the website in 2006 were up by 30% from the previous year. And it was an even better year for our customers. Big DVD releases included Parks and Rides 1, This is the Life and Ride It. Top books included Roundabout Relics, Drayton Manor Memories, Hancocks of the West, Vintage Fairground Transport, Steam Yachts and Tavistock Goose Fair. But the major release of the year was the first ever book on the history of amusement arcades, Pennies by the Sea, based on the story of Bridlington's Joyland Amusements. To celebrate our move into the world of arcades and slot machines, we also made available a fantastic new magazine on mail order, Mechanical Memories.

But it was generally bad news in the amusement park world, with the the closure of Southport's Pleasureland Amusement Park and the demolition of the Cyclone wooden roller coaster being the biggest blow. This came only a year after Skelter Publishing released Pleasureland Memories, the history of this major fun park.
Also under threat are Barry Island Pleasure Park, Rhyl's Ocean Beach, Gateshead's Metroland, Camelot Theme Park and the American Adventure. But on the positive side, the campaign to Save Margate's Dreamland gathered pace and received significant publicity with a Channel 4 documentary on the listed Scenic Railway roller coaster.
And we were the first to announce the arrival of a major new roller coaster for Adventure Island at Southend. We also announced major new big wheels for Bridlington's Bayside Fun Park and Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach and we followed construction of the new fairground museum at Dingles in Devon.

We have loads of surprises up our sleeves for 2007, with some fantastic new releases planned, including a major new book on one of the world's biggest amusement parks. The only clue we can give is that the park is in the UK. You will have to read this News page to find out which park - we will report it here first!

Rare book heaven! [2/1/07]

We have added our biggest ever selection of rare secondhand fairground, amusement park and circus books to our Secondhand Shop. Some highlights: The Golden Age of the Circus and Center Ring both celebrate that most magical of entertainments, the circus. Lincoln Park Remembered - The Ballroom Spectacular is a souvenir booklet of this famous building. We have another extremely rare copy of the Ladybird book on Alton Towers and an equally rare guidebook to legendary Battersea Pleasure Gardens. For fairground enthusiasts, we have Everybody's Favourite, the story of R Edwards & Sons Ltd and fairground photograph book, Fairground Snaps. But these are only some of the new additions. Click here to go to our Secondhand Shop - the newly added titles are marked as NEW.

Ocean Beach plans submitted [2/1/07]

A planning application has been submitted by Manchester-based Modus Properties for the redevelopment of Rhyl's historic Ocean Beach Fun Fair. The application, submitted to Denbighshire County Council in December, is for 217 apartments, an ASDA supermarket, hotel, shops, offices, cafes and restaurants. The funfair will be completely demolished, ending more than a century of amusement park history in this part of the town. The planning application for the Ocean Plaza development will go though a public consultation exercise before being decided by planners. View and comment on the application online.
To be demolished: The Water Chute at Rhyl's Ocean Beach amusement park, the UK's last surviving circular water chute and a major landmark in the town.

Fairs, showman's engines and big rides [2/1/07]

The Bedfordshire Steam Preservation Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year. At their annual Steam and Country Fayre the new DVD, Fair, Showman's Engines and Organs at Old Warden 2006, features the old time fairground in action, showman's engines in steam by day and night and a grand selection of fairground organs playing. Also featured is vintage showman's transport on show, held in the picturesque setting of Old Warden Park.

And don't miss two fantastic new DVDs in the Amusement Rides series: Amusement Rides 7 and 8.

These are the latest in our fast-expanding range of fairground DVDs and videos. See more of our fairground DVDs here.

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