This Page is an Archive of all news items featured on the Joyland Books News Page between 1 July and 31 December 2007.
For the latest news, click here.

Large new range of park books added [28/12/07]

Joyland Books reaffirms its position as the world's premier supplier of amusement park books with the addition of a large selection of Amusement Park Books. We have added new books on Cedar Point, Cypress Gardens, Hersheypark, Holiday World, Six Flags Over Georgia (pictured right), Canobie Lake Park, Kiddie Parks of the Adironacks, Savin Rock Amusement Park and Forest Park Highlands.

All these books are from the 'Images of America', 'Scenes of America' and 'Postcard History' series published by Arcadia Publishing. They are packed full of vintage photographs of the parks, showing how they have changed over the years and (in some cases) how they eventually closed. The photographs are accompanied by informative captions. Amusement park books...

A life on the fairground in new book [24/12/07]

Two new books from the publisher of Funfairs at Fleet are now available from Joyland Books. We Had So Much Pleasure: My Life on the Fairground by Doris Wall (nee Baker) is an edited transcript of tape recordings made of Mrs Wall talking about her life, building up a unique picture of the showman's way of life.  Also available is Dan Baker's Travels 1931 and 1932 from his letters to his daughter Doris transcribed by Phyl Ralton. This is a transcript of letters that Doris Wall received from her father, showman Dan Baker, when she was left with her grandparents so that she could attend school. The book also includes a summary of information on dates and venues that illustrates the amount of travelling undertaken by Baker. Baker travelled the fairgrounds with an animal show called at one time 'Dan Baker's Famous Freak Farm'.

Eurofighter for Thorpe Park [22/12/07]

Thorpe Park has submitted a planning application for a new roller coaster for the 2009 season. The application, submitted to Runnymede Borough Council, will see the park construct a Gerstlauer Eurofighter, which includes a 100ft, more than vertical drop. This would be the third Eurofighter in the UK, with similar rides operating at Oakwood (Pembrokeshire) and Adventure Island (Southend, pictured right). The new coaster will join Colossus, Nemesis Inferno and Stealth in the park's ever increasing arsenal of major rides.

Pleasure Beach leisure complex proposals launched [13/12/07]

Albert Jones, owner of Great Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach, and theme park planning consultant Nick Laister of RPS formally launched proposals for the Pleasure Beach's new leisure development, 'The Edge', today. The new indoor complex, to be located south of the park's iconic Roller Coaster, will feature a 60,000 sqft casino, 10-screen multiplex cinema, 20,000 sqft ten pin bowling, a branded hotel and several quality restaurants. The launch follows the recent announcement that the Government will now be proceeding with the new-style casino licences. Albert and Nick have been working on the proposals for four years. Nick told BBC Radio Norfolk: "Great Yarmouth is the only seaside resort in Britain to be awarded a 'large' casino licence; this 35m development will be the biggest investment in Yarmouth's tourism economy for a quarter of a century."

A blaze of light: Albert Jones and Nick Laister at today's launch in Great Yarmouth. The spectacular new development at the Pleasure Beach, called 'The Edge', will incorporate a state-of-the-art light show and will become a major new landmark on the town's Golden Mile.

Pleasureland operator not shortlisted by council [10/12/07]

New Pleasureland operator Dreamstorm has not been shortlisted by Sefton Council to develop a permanent attraction on the site. Four companies have been selected by the Council to progress to a second stage of the competition, all of which are "major developers with a track record of developing large scale schemes". Dreamstorm has an 18-month lease from Sefton Council - New Pleasureland opened in July 2007 following the closure of the park in September 2006.

Biography of San Antonio's Playland Park [9/12/07]

From the release yesterday of a DVD tour of Joyland Amusement Park, to today's new biography of San Antonio's Playland Park, this is a wonderful Christmas for lovers of defunct amusement parks!

Just For Fun! Jimmy Johnson's Playland Park is a dual biography of Jimmy Johnson and the amusement park he created. In this book Ed Gaida skilfully weaves a story starting in 1930 on Chicago’s North Side and ending in 1983 in the Alamo City, remembering a place once known as "the fun spot of the south". Click here for more information.

DVD tour of closed amusement park [8/12/07]

Closed amusement parks are becoming an increasingly common sight, but that does not make it any easier for visitors who remember the good times to see these much-loved places of fun languishing in a near derelict state. One such park is Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, Kansas. The park opened its doors in 1949 and over the years, thousands have enjoyed the classic rides, including its famous wooden roller coaster. Closing its doors in 2004, Joyland has been empty and rotting away looking for a buyer. On Joyland Amusement Park: The Complete Tour, you will go inside buildings, rides, storage, and never-before-seen areas of the park.  Click here for details.

Remembering Morecambe's Frontierland [2/12/07]

Gary Radice's themagiceye - the world's leading amusement park nostalgia website - remembers Morecambe's Frontierland Western Theme Park this month, as we dust down two fantastic features from themagiceye's wonderful past, now completely revamped and updated.

Back2Frontierland is based around an interview with professional photographer DJ Clark, who recorded Frontierland's final year in 2000. We also feature the Texas Tornado Photo Gallery.


Frontierland from the camera of DJ Clark

Bridlington wheel stops turning [2/12/07]

In a major blow to the town's regeneration, Bridlington's 'Eye on the Bay' observation wheel has closed after only five months of operation. Its long term future is now in doubt due to a financial dispute, with finance company Haydock Leisure having disabled the wheel by taking away parts of its control panel. Operator Michael Harrison, owner of the resort's Bayside Fun Park and the man who brought the 1m wheel to the town, claims that the dispute is between the wheel's owners, Yorkshire Carousel, and the finance company and that he is an innocent party. Mr Harrison leases the ride from Yorkshire Carousel. The project hit difficulties right from the start, being initially delayed for a year after rival amusement arcades - including the Forum - challenged East Riding Council's granting of planning permission. The ride opened in June 2007, having missed the early part of the season.

Takeover offer for Oakwood? [26/11/07]

Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire has reportedly received a take over offer from an undisclosed party. Audited accounts featured in a number of newspapers show that the park made a loss last year on a turnover of 5.7m, although the loss was smaller than the previous year. Given that the operation has debts of around 7m, the offer is likely to be for a nominal sum. In 2006, Oakwood launched Speed, the UK's first roller coaster with a more than vertical drop.

Vikingar's last stand [18/11/07]

In late 2004 themagiceye invited people to remember Pleasure Beach Blackpool's Water Chute (which was called Vikingar in its final few years) and the memories came 'flooding' back. With last month's demolition of Britain's last surviving water chute at Ocean Beach Fun Fair, Rhyl, themagiceye has dug out an article written at the time when Blackpool's water chute was itself facing demolition. Read Vikingar's Last Stand...

In related news, parts of the Ocean Beach Water Chute have been rescued from the demolition site by the Save Dreamland Campaign. There is a full report of the rescue mission on the Save Dreamland News page.

Biography of fairground and cinema pioneer [10/11/07]

A new biography of fairground film-maker William Haggar has been released and is now available from Joyland Books. Written by Haggar's great-grandson, William Haggar: Fairground Fim-Maker by Peter Yorke draws on oral reminiscences, unpublished family memoirs and contemporary press reports.

This fascinating book tells the rags-to-riches story of a travelling theatrical who became one of Britain's select band of pioneer film-makers. Containing information on Victorian portable theatres, fairground bioscope shows and Haggar's films, this book is a "must" for anyone interested in the popular entertainment of 100 years ago.

Click here for more information.

Pack up your buckets and spades [9/11/07]

In the flurry of new releases for the run-up to Christmas, here is a book that really stands out. England's Seaside Resorts by Allan Brodie and Gary Winter, the culmination of four years of research, visits all stretches of the coastline, and all sizes of resorts, explaining what gives the seaside towns their special character. A large number of new photographs taken for this project, along with a selection of historic images from the National Monuments Record, provide a unique insight into England's favourite holiday destinations. Other recommended seaside-related books include From Lamp to Laser: The Story of the Blackpool Illuminations, Pennies by the Sea (the wonders of the seaside amusement arcade) and Riding on Rainbows.

Circus transport photo book out [8/11/07]

Back in 2005, Henk van den Berg's book Circustransport 1950-1970 took the circus enthusiast world by storm, packed full of literally hundreds of photographs of circus transport through the years in colour and black and white. Well Henk is back and in his new release, Circustransport 1950-1970 Volume 2, Henk presents more than 1,000 photographs of circus transport from around the world. Click here for details of this truly amazing book.

Circus and fairground transport is something we are enthusiastic about here at Joyland Books. From last week's new addition, The Working Scammell Showtrac by Barry Brown, to such old favourites such as Circus Transport Photographs by David Jamieson, we have something for all enthusiasts and every Christmas stocking!

Fairground transport at work in new book [4/11/07]

A new fairground book has been released by the Fairground Heritage Trust and is available now. The Scammell Showtrac was one of the few purpose made vehicles built for travelling showmen. Working with Sydney Harrison, Scammell Motors of Watford first began to develop the prototype just after the Second World War. Today all but one of the 18 Showtracs survives, but the purpose of The Working Scammell Showtrac by Barry Brown is to show them all at work, when they hauled the loads, generated for the rides and manoeuvred the trucks on the grounds. More...

Riding on Rainbows is out [26/10/07]

If the number of pre-orders are anything to go by, John K Walton's new book Riding on Rainbows: Blackpool Pleasure Beach and its Place in British Popular Culture is going to be a massive hit. Due to the unprecedented demand for this title, Joyland Books now has several hundred copies in stock and we are sending them out to customers now.

One of our customers, Simon Baynham, has sent the following review: "To think I was arrogant enough to assume I knew pretty much everything about the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. That was until John K Walton’s Riding on Rainbows landed on my work-desk. This book is brimming with interesting facts and tales about the UK’s number one free tourist attraction. Documenting 111 years of PBB history, the 164 pages detail more ups and downs than the Grand National roller coaster. It is a fascinating and educational read that’ll certainly rattle a few Ghost Train skeletons."

More info>>

Volume 2 of fairground history book out [26/10/07]

Following the success of A Fair Lane Volume 1 by Mark Middleton, chronicling the early years of showman Harry Wigfield, Mark has just released a second volume.

A Fair Lane Volume 2 opens with a brief history of Armroyd Lane Amusement Caterers, covering the period 1969-1978. The story then continues with a detailed account of the travels of Armroyd Lane, starting in 1979 and ending with the retirement of co-founders Harry Wigfield and Les Enston in 2003.

Click here for more details.

Amusement park history website returns [22/10/07]

The world's best loved amusement park history website, Gary Radice's themagiceye, returns today, now part of Joyland Books. themagiceye started in 2000 as a small website celebrating Pleasure Beach Blackpool and dark rides but eventually it expanded to encompass all aspects of amusement parks past, present and future. 

Website founder, Gary Radice, says: "What had become evident to me was that there were many readers who were willing to share their knowledge and wonderful memories of rides and parks with thousands of others. These rides and parks are equally as important to the world's heritage as they are to peoples' lives, particularly now as I write with parks and rides disappearing at an alarming rate."

The website closed earlier this year, but now returns at its new permanent home, with a new look. Over the coming months, Joyland Books will be dipping into themagiceye's extensive archives and dusting down long lost articles. And when we have exhausted the archives, we will be bringing you some brand new articles on amusement park history. www.joylandbooks.com/themagiceye

Last water chute demolished [22/10/07]

Britain's last surviving circular water chute is currently being demolished at the Ocean Beach Fun Fair, Rhyl. The ride, which originally operated at Southend's Kursaal, is the last surviving example of a ride that was once common across Britain. Identical rides operated at Battersea Fun Fair (London) and Dreamland (Margate), Belle Vue (Manchester) and Pleasure Beach (Blackpool), Pleasure Beach (Great Yarmouth) and Coney Beach (Porthcawl). The Save Dreamland Campaign had reached agreement to dismantle the ride for use in the proposed heritage amusement park at Margate, and contractors were booked to commence work on Monday 15 October.

Above: Demolition of the Water Chute in progress this afternoon. Click for a high resolution version. (Photograph: Kraig Schweizer) More pictures...
However, campaigner Nick Laister reports that the Campaign's financer pulled out just hours before dismantling was to commence: "This is very disappointing after all the work campaign members have done over the past few months, especially as this is the last of its kind. It would have been a signature ride at the Heritage Amusement Park alongside the Scenic Railway." Ownership of Ocean Beach transfers to Modus Properties on 1 November.

DVDs for the fairground enthusiast [22/10/07]

Four new fairground DVDs have been added to our expanding Fairground DVD Store, all from BCM Video Productions.

Spalding & Boston May Fair 2007 features the pull on and the major rides in action earlier this year at these two fairs.

Stamford Mid Lent Fair 2007 features the pull on, the civic opening and the rides in action, including several new rides.

Volumes 13 and 14 of the long-running Fun Fairs on the Move series feature fairground transport at Wanstead Flats, Falkirk, Beaconsfield, Rothwell, Abingdon, Banbury and Cambridge.

These are just a tiny selection of our huge DVD range. Click here for a full list.

New Blackpool Pleasure Beach book announced [11/10/07]

The world famous Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the subject of the first ever in-depth social and cultural history of a major amusement park. In Riding on Rainbows, John K Walton, historian of seaside resorts and popular culture, provides the first critical perspective of the history of the park and the British amusement park industry, examining why it has been so successful over such a long period, when rival seaside amusement parks have faltered and fallen by the wayside.

The book is not released until 29 October 2007 but Joyland Books is already dispatching copies to customers to rave reviews. ‘Riding on Rainbows’ examines the experiences of the park’s visitors and workforce as well as the history of the rides, and pays sustained interest in the planning and design of the park. More...

Building up fairground rides - more DVDs [23/9/07]

Following the success of the DVDs on building up dodgems, switchback, chariot racer and skid rides, we have now added a large range of similar titles. We now stock DVDs on the build-ups of the Sonacase Twister, Alpine Express Matterhorn, Albert Holland's Cyclone, Sea Storm, Bert Holland & Sons' Waltzer, Julian Armitage's Waltzer and Gallopers.

The newest release is Building up the Elektric Rotor. Rob Selby's 1947 Rotor was a first time visitor to the Llandudno Victorian Festival in 2007. Witness this thrill of a lifetime ride arriving on site, building up and open. Click here for more details.

More funfair DVDs [23/9/07]

Following hot on the heels of the new 'Building Up' DVDs are several new, and equally exciting, funfair DVDs. Moonraking at Dingles shows the erection of the Fairground Heritage Trust's rides at the new exhibition hall at Dingles. Nothing But Waltzers, Volumes 1 and 2, do exactly what they say on the tin - heaven for waltzer fans! Enthusiasts of Noah's Arks and Speedways should not feel left out, with Volume 1 of a DVD jam-packed full of these classic rides, filmed at fairs in the early to mid 1990s. Finally, in Marbling with David Wallis, the popular showman demonstrates his acquired skilful marbling techniques at Dingles and Long Eaton Model Show in 2005, along with some of his trademark amiable way of getting things across. Click here for our full list of funfair DVDs.

Ocean Beach closes [2/9/07]

It was the end of an amusement park era today when the famous Ocean Beach Amusement Park at Rhyl closed its doors for the last time. The seafront park, which was a major attraction in the town for most of the last century, will be redeveloped by Modus Properties, who plan residential apartments, a hotel and a supermarket. Denbighshire County Council describe the new proposals as "the dawn of a new era for the whole of the town". All rides at Ocean Beach were 1 all day to mark the park's closure. Discussions are ongoing to move the park's Water Chute (pictured right) to Margate's Dreamland for the proposed heritage amusement park.

Closed: Britain's last surviving circular water chute at Ocean Beach Amusement Park, Rhyl

Different use for closed theme park? [2/9/07]

The former leader of Derbyshire County Council wants the site of the former American Adventure Theme Park to be turned into a museum of the mining industry. David Bookbinder believes it would be a permanent record of the mining in this area. The American Adventure, which is owned by Derbyshire County Council, opened in June 1987 and closed its doors at the end of the 2006 season.

Lost emails [1/9/07]

Joyland Books has been informed in writing by its web host, Supanames (part of the Pipex Group), that all emails sent to Joyland Books between Saturday 25th August and 10am on Saturday 1st September have been lost. If any of our customers or suppliers have emailed us during that period, we will not have received the email. We would therefore be grateful if emails could be resent. As Supanames has been unable to provide any reassurance that this will not happen again, nor any adequate explanation as to why this loss of data happened (and, indeed, did not even inform us of the data loss until we enquired why we have received no emails for a week), Joyland Books will be changing web hosts as soon as possible to reduce the risk of this happening again. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

This does not affect online orders, which have all been processed as normal.

Joyland launches new 'Rides For Sale' service [13/8/07]

Joyland Books has launched a brand new website for buying and selling rides. At joylandrides.com, you can advertise your rides and attractions for sale and for a one off price your advert will stay live until the ride is sold!

Joyland Books now attracts over 8 million hits per year - your ride or attraction will be seen by thousands of people on one of the world's most prominent amusement industry websites. www.joylandrides.com

Rare Butlin's book added to Secondhand Shop [13/8/07]

One of the rarest books we have sold in our Secondhand Shop has been added today. Butlin's Filey: Thanks for the Memories by Paul Wray is the almost possible to find 1992 photographic tribute to this much-loved holiday camp. Packed full of colour and black & white photographs, many taken by the author after closure, this is a fantastic book that went out of print many years ago. More...

We have added loads of other secondhand books for you to browse through, almost all of which are now out of print and scarce. Click here for our full selection of secondhand books.

Explore 'old-tyme' penny arcades in new DVD [12/8/07]

A new 2-disc DVD has been released taking viewers on a wonderful trip down memory lane. The Old-Tyme Penny Arcade & The Vintage Fairground features traditional old penny amusements, vintage fairground rides, visiting many fascinating UK attractions.

The DVD features Carter's Steam Fair, The Fairground Museum (Dingles Steam Village), The Bryan's Museum (Drayton Manor Theme Park), Folly Farm Adventure Park (South Wales), Merrivale Model Village (Great Yarmouth), Watermouth Castle (North Devon), Wookey Hole Caves (Somerset), Old Penny Memories (Bridlington), and many more fascinating attractions. Click here for more information.

Big changes planned at Blackgang Chine [11/8/07]

Major changes are planned at the Isle of Wight theme park Blackgang Chine. The clifftop gardens, with a history dating back to the 1800s, is one of the country's most famous children's attractions, with themed woodland gardens based around subjects such as nursery rhymes, cowboys and smugglers. The park's owners, Vectis Ventures Ltd, have submitted a planning application to evolve the attraction from one that primarily attracts families to a "heritage and retail" based attraction that will appeal mainly to older visitors. The plan will include retail outlets, new heritage museums, a series of craft shops, a recreated brewery and a new entrance on the site of the current 'Water Force' water slides. Blackgang Chine suffers from regular landslips, and the owners believe that the current family-orientated business is not sustainable long-term.

New roller coaster opens at Milky Way [14/7/07]

The Milky Way Adventure Park near Clovelly in Devon opened its second roller coaster on 7 July. The ride, a brand new 35 foot high Pinfari non-looping coaster, was opened by Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of South West Tourism. The ride - to be called 'Roller Coaster' - features brand new space-themed cars, and Daniel Pinfari of manufacturer DPV Rides is calling it the best coaster they have ever made. It joins the park's existing coaster, Clone Zone, a special effects-packed suspended coaster in the dark.

The Showman's Forgotten Scammells [8/7/07]

"For Sale, 45 ton chain drive Scammell. 1,945."

What a bargain! That is what the showmen thought in 1946 and 10 of these Scammells went to travelling showmen.

In The Showman's Forgotten Scammells: The 45 Ton Chain Drive, author Kay Townsend has accounted for all 10 of these. This book contains personal accounts from the drivers setting out what happened on the road, stories that have never been printed before, including unpublished photos. Kay Townsend says: "Very little has been written on paper about the 45-ton chain drive Scammells; they have just been forgotten. Well not any more, as I want to talk Scammell with you!" More information.

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