This Page is an Archive of all news items featured on the Joyland Books News Page between 1 July and 31 December 2002.
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Exclusive: New UK Coaster Announced For 2003 [21/12/02]

A new roller coaster will be opening at a UK theme park for the 2003 season, Joyland Books can exclusively reveal. Blackgang Chine (Isle of Wight), one of the World's oldest theme parks, is celebrating its 160th anniversary by investing 0.25m on a new family roller coaster, the park's first. The ride, to be called Tornado, is described by the park as a "pink-knuckle" ride. It will feature two spiral curves and a series of camel-backs. The Isle of Wight is already home to two smaller roller coasters: the Mine Train at Peter Pan's Playground, Ryde, and the Little Dragon at Needles Park. The new coaster is planned to open in May, subject to receiving planning permission. Blackgang Chine reopens in March 2003.

Right: The entrance to Blackgang Chine Theme Park

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Wins Top Awards [8/12/02]

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has been crowned as one of the top three amusement parks in the world by the leading theme park industry awards ceremony. The award was given to the park at the 2002 IAAPA Convention in Orlando for the second year running. The Applause Award, as it is known, is regarded as the most prestigious award in the amusement park and theme park industry, and is awarded to parks which excel and inspire the industry with foresight, originality and sound business development. That wasn't the only award received by the Lancashire park. Managing Director Geoffrey Thompson received the Lifetime Service Award for accomplishment in the industry, and Pleasure Beach shows company, Stageworks Worldwide Productions, picked up a Brass Ring award for its work on press kits for the Pleasure Beach. Legoland Windsor also picked up a Brass Ring Award for its brochure. 

Battersea Fun Fair Book Announced [7/12/02]

Joyland Books can exclusively reveal that a new book about Battersea Fun Fair is to be released in 2003. To be written by established author Robert Preedy and leading amusement park historian Nick Laister, the book will trace the history of London's most fondly remembered playground. For more information about the book, and your chance to help the authors (and receive a credit in the book), visit the newly launched website More news on this exciting publication will be posted here as it breaks.
Photograph courtesy: Stewart Townsend

Brighton Pier Talks Tough in Pier Wars [1/12/02]

The owners of Brighton Pier, the UK's biggest amusement park over the sea, have appealed to the European Court of Justice as part of the Company's battle to block Heritage Lottery funding of 15m for the restoration of the disused West Pier. The West Pier Trust and its private sector partners, St Modwen, recently submitted a revised planning application for the restoration of the Grade I listed structure, which will involve the construction of new leisure pavilions on Brighton's sea front. 
Brighton Pier: Battle Over the Seas
But the Noble Organisation, which owns Brighton Pier (formerly called Palace Pier), believes that the use of public money to fund a commercial scheme is unfair competition. The Company has publicly stated that it has no objection to public money being used to fund the Pier's restoration, but objects to the commercial element. Brighton Pier is home to a large collection of rides, including two roller coasters and a log flume. The Noble Organisation, which also owns Blackpool's Coral Island complex, lost a previous appeal to the European Commission in April.
The amusement park over the sea

New Butlin's Book Released [6/11/02]

A new book about that great British institution, Butlin's Holiday Camps, has been released and is available from Joyland Books now. Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin's Photos is an extraordinary tableaux of Butlin’s holiday camps in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The images in the book were originally made for publication as postcards, and are now published in book form for the first time. The John Hinde Butlin’s photographs are a glorious moment in the story of British photography. Click here for details.

Music From Alton Towers and Other Parks Available on CD [6/11/02]

Now you can here the original music from many of your favourite rides on a brand new compact disc. Themed Music is an album featuring the soundtracks from Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures. The score from many of the UK's most famous rides are on the CD, including the World's first ten-looping roller coaster, Colossus at Thorpe Park, and the revolutionary flying roller coaster, Air, at Alton Towers. Other featured attractions include Professor Burp's Bubbleworks and Beanoland at Chessington World of Adventures. Click here for more information.

Rare Secondhand Books Added [6/11/02]

Several rare fairground books have been added to the Secondhand Shop. Fairground Steam by Anthony Beaumont is a technical publication from 1972, setting out the history and specifications for several steam fairground rides, including steam yachts, steam swings and razzle dazzles. Fairfield Folk, by Frances Brown, is a history of the British fairground and its people told through the life of the Matthews' fairground family. English Fairs is the classic 1970s fairground publication, with a history of funfairs in Britain, and the rides that operate in them. Fairground Snaps is the hard-to-find publication of stunning colour and black & white fairground photography. Click here for more secondhand fairground books.

Fire at Blackpool Pleasure Beach [2/11/02]

A fire has badly damaged Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Five fire engines attended the blaze in the roof of the building, resulting in the closure of the town's seafront road. The fire, which comes less than two weeks after a blaze completely destroyed the oldest remaining original attraction on the resort's Golden Mile, is believed to have been started by a faulty heating system. The park is currently assessing the damage to the two-storey building which might not reopen until March 2003.

New Rides for Flamingo Land Parks [2/11/02]

Flamingo Land Ltd, owners of Flamingo Land Theme Park in North Yorkshire and Pleasure Island Family Theme Park at Cleethorpes, has announced new rides for the 2003 season. New to Pleasure Island will be a Frisbee, the first of its kind in the UK. Built by German ride builders Huss, the ride features a rotating circular gondola, carrying 40 passengers, which swings back and forth in a pendulum motion. A Huss Pirate Ship will be the centrepiece of a new African-themed section of Flamingo Land. This ride will seat 45 passengers, and will reach heights of 26 metres. 

Also confirmed for 2003 elsewhere in the UK are Nemesis Inferno, a brand new inverted roller coaster from B&M at Thorpe Park. New to Fantasy Island in Lincolnshire will be Stunt Flyer, a new prototype roller coaster from Vekoma. And Excalibur: A Dragon's Tale is a new fantasy water ride for Drayton Manor. Joyland Books will keep you updated about new attractions for the 2003 season throughout the winter months.

More Secondhand Books Added [20/10/02]

A bumper crop of amusement park and fairground books has been added to the Secondhand Shop. White Knuckle Ride is the guide to the world's best thrill rides. Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Through the Camera of Lichfield is a 1989 photo album released by the Pleasure Beach itself.  Hello Campers is the much sought after history of the famous Butlin's holiday camps. Published in 1946, The English Circus and Fair Ground is the highly collectable history of circuses and fairgrounds from Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake. We have also added a number of tourist attraction guides. We have several guides to the Wookey Hole caves from the 1970s and 1980s, which feature a guide to Lady Bangor's fairground collection, and a very rare 1980s guide to Madame Tussaud's. These are only a small party of our growing collection of rare and out of print books. Click here for more. 

New Fairground Videos Released [14/10/02]

A mixture of old and new in these brand new fairground videos from BCM Video Productions. The Fair at Great Dorset Steam 2002 features modern rides such as the Bomber, Top Buzz and Megaspin alongside traditional rides such as Ark and Gallopers. Add to that views of showmen's engines and it is an entertaining and atmospheric video. Also newly released is the video of this year's Oxford St. Giles Fair. The first of the big 'back end run' fairs, rides included a Wild Mouse roller coaster and Bob Wilson's Booster.

Click here for a full selection of our fairground videos.

Beside the Seaside in Paperback [13/10/02]

The summer may be over but you can still visit the seaside with the excellent book Beside the Seaside. This book has been available at Joyland Books in hardback form at 16.99. It is now available in paperback at the more affordable price of 10.99. The book includes an entire chapter about seaside amusement parks, and is packed full of excellent photographs. This superb collection of evocative images in Beside the Seaside summons up the essence of the pleasure generation after generation has derived from being by the sea. Click here for details.

Drayton Manor Proposes World's Biggest Wheel [12/10/02]

Drayton Manor is once again taking on the Tussaud's Group, operators of the London Eye, by proposing an even bigger wheel for Birmingham. The wheel would be 476ft high (the London Wheel is 450ft high), and would be located in Birmingham's Eastside district. The idea has been put forward by a group of Birmingham businessmen and, if given planning permission, it would be operated by Drayton Manor Theme Park in the same way as the London Eye is operated by the Tussaud's Group. The idea has already been criticised by many Birmingham residents, and would have to overcome potential objections from the Civil Aviation Authority.  

Pleasure Island to Remove Coaster [12/10/02]

Pleasure Island Family Theme Park, Cleethorpes, is to remove one of its roller coasters. The Pinfari TL59 Looping Coaster, which moved to Pleasure Island from sister park Flamingo Land, is being advertised for sale in trade paper the World's Fair. The ride, built in 1981, has two trains and was completely refurbished in 1996 but now requires repairs. The park is home to a number of other coasters, including a Vekoma Boomerang.

Houghton Feast Book Out Now [6/10/02]

We mentioned it last month, and now it is available to buy! The book is a pictorial history of the Feast, featuring over 200 photographs of the event. Click here for more information.

Major New Coaster For UK in 2004 Goes Back to Basics [5/10/02]

Southend Council has approved plans for a 2m roller coaster for the town's popular Adventure Island Theme Park. The ride, to be called 'Pier Drop', will be 650 metres long and will be modelled on a traditional scenic railway ride such as the one at Dreamland, Margate. Park operator, Philip Miller, has announced that the ride will not be a white knuckle ride, but will instead be a ride that all the family can enjoy. The custom-designed ride will be of an out and back design and will travel from one end of the park to the other, travelling right over the famous Pier. The ride should be ready for the 2004 season.

New Book Tells Story of Houghton Feast [7/9/02]

A brand new book, to be released on 19 September, tells the pictorial history of the ancient festival of Houghton Feast. The Feast is a week long event, with origins in the 1100s, and typically features a  funfair, ox roasting, carnival parade, fireworks, concerts, craft fair, cycle racing, street illuminations and street theatre. One of the larger sections of the book covers 'fairgrounds', in pictures from the fairground's heydays in the 1880s right up until the thrill rides of today. The book is a collaboration of photos (over 200 of them) and people's memories of the various events. 

Click here for more details.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Visitors Fall [1/9/02]

The number of visitors to Blackpool Pleasure Beach fell by 4.4% in 2001, according to an annual survey by the English Tourism Council. Visitor numbers fell from 6.8 million to 6.5 million last year, but the park still retained its position as Britain's most visited tourist attraction. The drop was blamed partly on the effects of foot and mouth, and the terrorist attacks on September 11. Other popular theme and amusement parks were Alton Towers and Southport's Pleasureland. Yorkshire's Flamingo Land reported an excellent season, with visitor numbers up by 1.6%. An update to follow in the next few days.

New Butlin's Book Announced [18/8/02]

A new book about one of Britain's most enduring institutions - Butlin's holiday camps - is to be released in October. Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight (titled after the famous Butlin's slogan) is an extraordinary tableaux of Butlin's holiday camps in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the photographs of John Hinde. Originally made for postcards, these photographs are published in book form for the first time. The book will feature an introduction by celebrated photographer, Martin Parr, and features 56 photographs. This will be nostalgic entertainment for the 10 million Britons who stayed at Butlin's. Click here for details.

All-Time Classic Fairground Book Gets Reprint [16/8/02]

Widely regarded as the best fairground book ever published, Fairground Art by Geoff Weedon and Richard Ward has been reprinted in paperback. Fairground Art is the international reference work on the subject and was the first book to define the extraordinarily rich history of fairground carving and painted imagery in Britain, America and Europe. The book comes with literally hundreds of colour and black & white photographs (over 1000 in all) and is to be released in October. Be the first to receive a copy by pre-ordering now. Click here for more details.

More Secondhand Fairground Books Added to Secondhand Shop [11/8/02]

Several new books have been added to the Secondhand Shop. English Fairs by Ian Starsmore is a comprehensive guide to the both the history of fairs, and to the different fairground rides seen at fairs between 1860 and the 1950s. It also looks at the life of the showmen who run the fairs. Steam at Thursford is the story of one of the world's most famous fairground museums, and the man who built up this fantastic fairground collection. Joyland Books has also added a further copy of the much sought after book of fairground photography, Fairground Snaps. All this and more in our Secondhand Shop.

Tussauds Parks Suffer Drop in Visitor Numbers [8/8/02]

The three UK theme parks operated by the Tussauds Group (Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park) have seen a 4% drop in visitor numbers over the past five years, despite major investment in new attractions, according to a new report by market research company Mintel. The UK Theme Parks Leisure Intelligence Report, which provides inside information on the theme park industry, notes that the past two years have been particularly tough for all parks, not just Tussauds-owned parks, due to bad weather, foot & mouth and the effects of September 11. Parks are expecting an upturn in 2002, and will be investing in more undercover attractions, better in-park facilities and on-site hotels as a way of increasing revenue. More at

Joyland Books Awarded Membership of Which? Web Trader Scheme [26/7/02]

Joyland Books has been admitted to the Which? Web Trader Scheme set up by the Consumers Association to recognise online traders operating to the very highest standards. The aim of the Scheme is to encourage the development of a safe and secure online shopping environment for consumers. There are now 2129 listed members of the Scheme, all have passed a series of rigorous checks carried out by Which? experts. This means you can shop online at Joyland Books with confidence. Click here for more information about the Which? Web Traders Code of Practice.

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Seaside Pier History Book Available Now [25/7/02]

Birnbeck Pier, Weston-super-Mare, is the only seaside pier to link an island with the mainland. It was home to a sizeable amusement park, which featured rides such as Switchback Railway, Water Chute, Zig Zag Slide and a Cakewalk. The Pier closed in 1984, and is now awaiting possible restoration. For the first time, you can read the full story of this seaside attraction, which has stood for well over 100 years. Click here for details.

Click here for more books about the British seaside!

Major Investment Announced at Oakwood [24/7/02]

One of the men behind Oakwood has announced a multi-million pound development adjacent to the leading theme park. A Planning application has been lodged for a 49m development comprising 400 log cabins, a Celtic Village, sports centre and - the centre piece of the development - Waterworld, an all-weather sub-tropical paradise with white water rapids and wave pool. The project, called Bluestone, will mark the latest in a series of investments by the McNamara family into the Pembrokeshire tourism industry, which has included the 1.25m Hydro water ride for 2002 and the massively popular Megafobia wooden roller coaster (pictured right) at Oakwood Leisure Park. 
Above: Megafobia at Oakwood
This proposal, which is has been put together by former Oakwood Managing Director William McNamara, has already met with stiff opposition from local hotels and attractions, due to fears that the Center Parcs-style development will discourage visitors from venturing outside of the Oakwood/Bluestone complexes. A second phase of the development is already planned; this will involve the construction of a 12m Snowdome at the park. The two phases of development will create 700 jobs. A decision is expected in the autumn.

Drayton Manor Miniature Railway Destroyed by Fire [18/7/02]

One of Drayton Manor Theme Park's original attractions has been destroyed by fire. The miniature railway station, which opened with the park in 1949, has been completely destroyed, as has a rare miniature engine worth an estimated 180,000. The fire occurred in the evening after the park had closed and nobody was injured. The fire is believed to have been started by arsonists.

New Seaside Videos Now Available [15/7/02]

A new range of videos about the British seaside are available now from Joyland Books. The British Seaside tells the history of this great British institution and how we fell in love with our coastal towns. Blackpool: A Journey Through Time tells the story of Britain's biggest resort in archive film, including vintage footage of Pleasure Beach rides such as the Virginia Reel, Grand National and the original Water Chute. Rhyl: A Journey Through Time is the ultimate walk down memory lane, and includes footage of the town's amusement parks: Marine Lake and Ocean Beach. Other seaside towns featured in the Journey Through Time series are Scarborough, Colwyn Bay, Aberystwyth, Brighton and Weston-Super-Mare.

Girl Falls From Big Wheel at Theme Park [14/7/02]

A 15-year-old girl has fallen 30 feet from a big wheel at Gulliver's World Theme Park near Warrington. The girl, who has Down's Syndrome, was visiting the park yesterday with her family as part of an organised outing. She was rushed to Warrington District Hospital, where she is now in intensive care. The wheel is in the Circus World area of the Cheshire theme park, which opened its doors to the public in 1989. Cheshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive have begun a joint investigation.

Rare Books Added to Secondhand Shop [14/7/02]

Several highly collectable books have been added to the Secondhand Shop. Anyone interested in the history of London's Battersea Fun Fair will want to snap up an original 1951 Guide to the Festival of Britain Pleasure Gardens. Celebrating 50 years of Butlin's history is the rare book Hello Campers!. The history of travelling fairs is covered by the out-of-print David Braithwaite book Travelling Fairs and those with an interest in steam traction engines and fairground organs will want to read A Little and Often by Chris Edmonds. 

Click here for the Secondhand Shop.

Fantasy Island Death [11/7/02]

A man, believed to be a ride operator, has died following an accident at The Magical World of Fantasy Island, near Skegness, Lincolnshire. The accident happened on the Magical Seaquarium ride, one of several dark rides at the park. The operator of the ride, which takes riders in small tubs around river caves beneath the indoor resort, was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at Skegness Hospital. The ride will remain closed whilst the Health and Safety Executive undertakes an investigation.

Major Scottish Theme Park Up For Sale [11/7/02]

Loudoun Castle Theme Park, near Galston, Ayrshire, has been put on the market with a price tag of 1.25 million. The theme park is being marketed by Humberts Leisure for the second time in five years. The park was first put on the market in 1998 due to mounting debts, and actually closed down for one season. The park was rescued by showman Raymond Codona, who invested 500,000 bringing in new rides and attractions. The park now attracts 170,000 visitors a year. Its new attraction last year was the 140-foot high tower ride Drop Zone and new for 2002 is the Viper roller coaster (see news item below 15/7/02).
Above: Crowds queue to enter Loudoun Castle Theme Park
The entire 300 acre estate is for sale, centred around the spectacular ruined castle. The attraction is for sale in three lots: the 'amusement park', 'Loudoun House' and 'accommodation land'. The park is being sold due to the retirement of Mr Codona. 

More Secondhand Books... [6/7/02]

Several secondhand fairground books have been added to Joyland Books' expanding Secondhand Shop. For the collector, we have added two books of fairground photographs showing the rides, the artwork and general fairground scenes. Historic Fairground Scenes looks at fairgrounds from 1860 to 1940, and Fairground Snaps is the rare book of fairground photography from the early 1970s. Also added to list are several fairground books for children: Fairs and Circuses, Going to the Fair and Fairground Family. Click here for the Secondhand Shop.

Wooden Roller Coaster Removed From British Park [5/7/02]

The wooden wild mouse roller coaster at Loudoun Castle Theme Park, Scotland, has been removed. The ride, one of only three wooden wild mouse coasters in the UK, was dismantled in June and will be replaced by Viper, the Schwarzkopf City Jet coaster which, until the end of last year, operated at Yorkshire's Lightwater Valley Theme Park. The ride, purchased from a German showman, has operated at the park since 1999. The future of the ride, part of the remains of which can be seen in the photograph to the right, is now uncertain. 

UK Amusement Park Fails to Open For 2002 Season [5/7/02]

A UK amusement park has failed to open for the 2002 season. Lowther Leisure Park near Penrith, which featured a wide range of rides, a miniature railway, adventure play areas, a boating lake and animal collections, remains closed for the second year running. The park failed to open in 2001 due to the foot and mouth outbreak, but was expected to reopen in 2002 following a change of management. The photograph on the right shows the deserted entrance to the 150-acre park in 2002. The future of this leisure park is unknown.

Jamming Coaster Opens at M&D's Theme Park [3/7/02]

Scotland's latest roller coaster has opened at M&D's Theme Park near Glasgow. The Jamming Coaster, built by Barbisan, has been in the ownership of M&D's for three years and it has appeared at travelling fairs north and south of the border. The coaster is a compact ride with rotating cars and a spiral lift hill. For the 2002 season, the ride joins the existing coasters, the multi-inversion Pinfari-built Tornado, and the smaller Pinfari Apple Coaster, at the free-entry amusement park. 

Right: The Jamming Coaster pictured at M&D's in June

UK First Inverted Coaster to Open at Skegness Pleasure Beach [1/7/02]

Joyland Books can exclusively reveal that a new inverted coaster is to open at Botton's Pleasure Beach, Skegness, on Saturday 6th July 2002. The ride, built by Italian coaster manufacturer Pinfari, is to be called Queen Bee, and will feature a seven car, three-abreast themed train (see picture to the right). The ride will feature striking bright pink track and will be located on top of a building in a similar style to the park's existing Storm roller coaster. 

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