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OCEAN BEACH MEMOIRS
by Paul Beesley
Gallery: Added August 2007
When Paul Beesley, who runs the excellent site ridemad.com, sent themagiceye some photographs of Ocean Beach Amusement Park in Rhyl, North Wales, the hardest decision was choosing which ones to use. The CD contained many outstanding and poignant images. In a perfect world, themagiceye would liked to have showcased them all but logistics dictate that this is not possible. Each of the images reproduced here on these pages, which are taken from Paul's original high resolution photographs, tell their own story of a once great amusement park now sadly in decline. How long left for Ocean Beach?

Image: Paul Beesley
We never normally spent any time in the town centre at Rhyl; the area around the fun fair had everything to keep us occupied. Sometimes we did have an occasional walk over the blue bridge into Towyn for a change though. Looking back, however, I donít recall much about the trips into Towyn itself.

As a youngster I was too scared to enjoy the majority of the rides and even the more gentle ones were too much for me.

I donít think I rode the Ghost Train until I was in my teens and from memory The Hurricane Jets were about as much as I could handle back then.

..But there was something about Rhyl: the lights, the smells, the fish and chips - something just kept me going back.

It was probably these early visits to Rhyl that made me the enthusiast I am today.

Fast forward a few years...

 



Image: Paul Beesley
I'm 37 now with my own family and we have come back to Rhyl for the second time this year (2006).

We are standing in the same place that would have had me buzzing with excitement 30 years earlier. The car park around the back of the fair doesnít seem to have changed much, apart from the obvious lack of cars and coaches that once filled the area.

 



Image: Paul Beesley
I remember seeing rows upon rows of Crossville buses and coaches in the car park with everyone around them eagerly gathering into their groups for the day and double checking the departure times with the drivers.

Then later on in the day the same people would be coming back to the buses and coaches with stuffed toys, sugar dummies, huge teddy bears, toffee apples and candy floss.

These images only exist in my mind these days as the car park is now used for car boot sales on a Sunday morning. Today the signs around the place warn stall holders about selling "dodgy" DVDs or pirated videos.

 

 



Image: Paul Beesley
Itís hard to imagine this car park could ever be filled these days. The area is deserted; the only movement is discarded shopping bags and crisp packets blowing in the wind.


Image: Paul Beesley
Looking over to Ocean Beach Fun Fair from the car park, the Water Chute still dominates the skyline. Its wooden/steel structure has certainly taken a battering since relocating to Rhyl from Southend in 1971.


Image: Paul Beesley
The Astroglide slide over to the right of where I'm stood still looks huge thanks to its elevated location 20 feet or so above the car park.park.


Image: Paul Beesley
We decided to walk around the perimeter of the fun fair starting at the front and working back to the car park.

An 8ft high wire fence now covers the fairground perimeter with gaps wide enough just to get a small lens through.

As you walk around the front of the fair you go past a few buildings in a bad state of disrepair with boards advertising the fact that the land has been bought for development by a local builder.

 



Image: Paul Beesley
The area at the front of the fair is scattered with broken Bud bottles, smashed beer glasses, chip wrappers and dog dirt - itís a disgrace!

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