Looking Back at Pleasureland – Part II
After a short hiatus over the cold winter, we’re back with another look at Southport and it’s amusement park.
In part one, we looked at the park in transition through the 2000s, from closing up to the re-opening under the auspices of Norman Wallis’s Dreamscape operation, currently entering it’s tenth anniversary year.
In the early years typical coaster offerings here would include Abie Danter’s Mouse Coaster.
Upon the park’s closure in 2006 it was felt that many of it’s rides would be relocated.
In reality, apart from the Traumatizer ( to Blackpool as Infusion) and the Space Shot tower ( to Loudoun) which were the two newest rides, little has survived.
But looking back a bit, it’s easy to forget that the early history saw a similar development to that up at Blackpool. Where the Pleasure Beach is well known for it’s historic attractions, many of these were built elsewhere in the U.K and beyond.
In fact, name a historic ride and it was probably there at some point. The scene above in postcard form shows historic rides including an example of the circle swing, hitherto only located at Blackpool in the U.K. in recent years.
So it feels unusual to me that it perhaps isn’t spoken highly about in the enthusiast fraternity, maybe though this will start to change as the recent investments in the resort continue to see an increase in business and visitors.
A new plan to reinvigorate the town is currently being sought by Sefton Council, which is set out in their Development Strategy a plan for long scale development of the seafront and surrounding land, and with luck will include a future for the reimagined Pleasureland site.
Current ideas call for the addition of new leisure attractions, maybe skate park, zip wires and mini golf. These are in addition to plans by Norman Wallis , the current owner of the park, to invest in additional theme park attractions.
The plans for the amusement park offering to incorporate the lake have looked for a parallel at Darien Lake, New York which has cleverly used the lakeside setting to place rides strategically to enhance their appeal. Examples are the Predator and Boomerang coasters.
Details of the proposals can be found at sefton.gov.uk/southportstrategy.
Whatever happens in the future, I think the former historic rides that were here will never be forgotten. Perhaps the true legacy of our Cyclone will soon be realized in a newly reborn park which can be enjoyed for generations to come. Certainly I hope so.
Maybe the Cyclone should have the last say…