Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Slogan "See It, Feel It, Love It"
Location Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Coordinates 53°47′25″N 3°03′20″W / 53.79028°N 3.05556°W / 53.79028; -3.05556Coordinates: 53°47′25″N 3°03′20″W / 53.79028°N 3.05556°W / 53.79028; -3.05556
Owner The Thompson Family
Opened 1896
Operating season 2014 season:
8 February to 9 November
(Main: 29 March – 2 November)
Area 42 acres (170,000 m2)
Total 38
Roller coasters 10
Water rides 4

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an amusement park situated along the Fylde coast in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. It is the most visited tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, and one of the top twenty most-visited amusement parks in the world with an estimate of 5.5 million visitors in 2007.[1] In a 2014 TripAdvisor poll, Pleasure Beach was voted as the best theme park in the United Kingdom and the 12th best park in Europe respectively.[2] The park is privately owned by the Thompson family under BPB Holdings ltd. In 2003 Pleasure Beach opened the Big Blue Hotel, a four star family and business hotel and in 2011, Nickelodeon Land, a substitute of the main park which includes numerous family-orientated rides and attractions based on the Nickelodeon brand opened.

History of the Pleasure Beach[edit]

Early years[edit]

Pleasure Beach was founded 1896 by Alderman William George Bean after he failed in his attempt to become an advertising man on New York's Madison Avenue. He returned to the UK in 1897 and opened two separate amusement parks; one adjacent to Euston Road in Great Yarmouth and another in Blackpool, opposite the tram terminus. The Great Yarmouth amusement park consisted simply of a switchback bicycle railway called the Hotchkiss's Patented Railroad. Bean stayed in Great Yarmouth until the end of the century before moving to Blackpool full-time.

In 1903, Bean, along with businessman John Outhwaite, purchased 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land known as the "Watson Estate" which was used to expand the amusement park in Blackpool. Bean and Outhwaite aimed to create a park similar to Coney Island in the USA, that would make adults feel like children again and inspire gaiety of a primarily innocent character and used inspiration from a small manually operated fair ground found at London's Earls Court. The first major attraction to open at Pleasure Beach was the "Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machine" in 1904. The next attraction, a water ride similar to a Mill Chute was opened in 1905 under the name "The River Caves of the World." The same year the name "Blackpool Pleasure Beach" was founded. Outhwaite died in 1911, leaving the initial business to Bean, however the Outhwaite family still owned shares of the park, and would occasionally have input into the park's growth. Over the next few years, the park developed, with frequent large scale investments including the Virginia Reel, Whip, Noah's Ark, Big Dipper and Dodgems. In the 1920s Bean invested in the "Casino Building" which remains to this day.

In 1923, land was reclaimed from the sea front. It was at this period that the park moved to its 44-acre (180,000 m2) current location above what became Watson Road, which was built under the Pleasure Beach in 1932. In 1929, Bean died suddenly of pneumonia leaving the park to his daughter, Lillian 'Doris' Bean, who had previously married a young businessman, Leonard Thompson, in 1928. Thompson was an Oxford natural sciences graduate who after Bean's death immediately took over the Pleasure Beach business alongside his wife. The park came under full control of the Thompson family after the remaining Outhwaite family sold their share of the park. During this time Joseph Emberton, an architect famous for his work in the amusement trade was brought in to redesign the architectural style of the Pleasure Beach rides, working on the "Grand National" roller coaster, "Noah's Ark" and the Casino building to name a few. Emberton continued to design for the Pleasure Beach up to his death in 1956, after which Jack Ratcliffe, who had been involved in the Festival of Britain, was brought in to continue the work. Ratcliffed worked for many years at the park, until the death of Leonard Thompson in 1976. Following Thompson's death, Lillian Doris Thompson was appointed chairman of the business. Their only son, Geoffrey Thompson became the new managing director.

Geoffrey Thompson era[edit]

William "Geoffrey" Thompson was born in Manchester in 1936. He had previously administered the New Era Laundries in London before returning to the Pleasure Beach as head of catering at the Casino Building. He married his wife, Barbara Thompson (née Foxcroft) in 1962 and shortly afterwards they had three children, Amanda, Nicholas and Fiona. After Leonard's death, Geoffrey and his mother steadily extended the Pleasure Beach business. His first move was hiring Keith Ingham to make extensive alterations to the Casino building which later became the "Wonderful World" building (since then the building has reverted to its original name). Under Thompson's reign, the Pleasure Beach business expanded quite dramatically. He bought two separate amusement parks Pleasureland Southport and Frontierland, Morecambe and invested into food-and-ride trade at the Pleasure Beach. He saw the opening of the Steeplechase, Avalanche, Revolution, Big One, Ice Blast: The Ride and Valhalla.

His reputation in Blackpool earned him a highly positive status amongst other businessman in the amusement trade. He was often regarded as the front man to the steady growth of amusement parks globally and he was regularly involved in promoting tourism. He sat on almost all the relevant agencies, such as the English Tourist Board and the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, and was awarded an OBE for this work. In 1986, Pleasure Beach became one of the first companies in the UK to register with the Government Profit Related Pay Unit. Under this scheme the company agreed that, where profits exceeded £1 million, 10 per cent would be distributed among the permanent staff according to their length of service.[3] Geoffrey was often in dispute with Blackpool Council over their decision to allow private traders to use land opposite the Pleasure Beach. He won his appeal to clear the land of all trading attractions and the Pleasure Beach has remained unaffected by the situation. Geoffrey Thompson died at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on 12 June 2004 of heart problems, while attending his daughters wedding. His mother and Pleasure Beach chairman, Mrs L.D. Thompson, OBE died nine days later, on 23 June, the date of Geoffrey Thompsons funeral.

Amanda Thompson era[edit]

After the death of her father and grandmother, Amanda Thompson took over the whole Pleasure Beach business. Nicholas Thompson became the Deputy managing director and Fiona Gilje (née Thompson), a fundamental architect became a co director and initial designer. Amanda had worked for many years on the board of directors and had been deputy managing director of the Pleasure Beach for almost 20 years. She rose to prominence as the director of Stageworks Worldwide Productions, which produced numerous high profile shows at both the Pleasure Beach and across the world.

Amanda Thompson has overseen the transformation of the park to a modern, aesthetically pleasing amusement park. However, her reign has seen the removal of some rides including the Whip, Log Flume, Space Invader 2, Turtle Chase, Black Hole and Super Bowl. In 2007, she introduced Infusion (relocated from the now revitalised Pleasureland Southport) and in 2009 transformed the north end of the park by introducing a new area, Bean Street FY4, which houses numerous catering outlets and bars and the Spectacular Dancing Water Show which was a seven hundred and fifty thousand pound investment.

In 2010 she further developed the north end of the park by re-designing the area which formerly housed the old dodgems ride. The site is now a garden area with numerous water features and fanciful sculptures. The same year, Amanda brought a new dodgems ride to the park (which is now situated under the Revolution attraction in the old Whip building.) Throughout late 2010 and early 2011 a new Children's theme park was constructed. On 4 May 2011, Nickelodeon Land debuted replacing the entire Beaver Creek area of the park.

Amanda has focused on the historically important aspects of the park, the overall look of the park, the park branding; taking the park from Blackpool Pleasure Beach to Pleasure Beach Blackpool and its current marketing name, Pleasure Beach Resort. Amanda has attempted to monetonise the park all year round by introducing ice skating at the Arena, she also introduced Adventure Golf in 2008, all of which are available to the public when the initial park is closed. Amanda produces the parks show Hot Ice, designed the Big Blue Hotel and the new ticket centre which open on the ground floor of the Casino building in 2009. The park is now focusing on franchise sponsoring after signing deals with Nickelodeon and Aardman Animations

In 2013 the park teamed up with Aardman Animations to open the "" Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic"" a £6 million investment. The ride which is a complete re-theme of the old Goldmine ride is the latest in a long line of family attractions to open at the Pleasure Beach since Amanda took over the business.

Managing directors[edit]

Managing Director Seasons Active Year
1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
John Outhwaite 16 1896–1911  
William G. Bean 34 1896–1929  
Leonard Thompson 48   1929–1976  
Doris Thompson 76   1929–2004  
Geoffrey Thompson 29   1976–2004  
Amanda Thompson 12   2004–

Current park[edit]

Pleasure Beach is situated on a 44-acre site along the South Promenade (Ocean Boulevard) area of Blackpool, approximately 2.4 square miles from Blackpool North Railway Station . It is bordered by the Promenade, Balmoral Road, Bond Street, Burlington Road West and Clifton Drive, while also positioned directly above Watson Road, which is underneath the grounds and runs under the centre of the park. A ticket office used to be located in the tunnel, but has now closed. The main Ticket Centre can be accessed through the Casino Building which is situated to the north of the park. Blackpool Pleasure Beach railway station and the Big Blue Hotel are towards the south end of the park.

The park is currently home to nearly 40 rides and attractions, including ten roller coasters, of which five are wooden – the Grand National, Big Dipper, Nickelodeon Streak, Wild Mouse and Blue Flyer. The newest roller coaster, 'Infusion' opened in 2007. Many of the roller coasters in the park are record breaking attractions. When it opened in 1994, Pepsi Max Big One was the tallest and fastest roller coaster of any park in the world. It was also substantially one of the longest, measuring 5,497 feet (1,675 m) long. Currently, the ride holds the crown as the tallest in the UK, measuring 213 ft (65 m), (235 ft above sea level.) and features a drop of 205 ft (62 m).

The Pleasure Beach is one of the few parks left in the world to operate a traditional wooden Wild Mouse coaster. The ride was built entirely in house, post-World War II and is still in complete working order. It was also the first park in Europe to introduce a fully inverting steel coaster, Revolution and the first to install a Space Shot ride, Ice Blast. The park went on to launch Valhalla, which was designed by Sarner, a UK based theme park design company. Valhalla is sponsored by the Daily Star and is an award winning dark ride. At a cost of £15 million it is also the most expensive in-house attraction in the world. Later, the Pleasure Beach opened Bling, a Zierer Star Shape spin ride of which only two are operated in the world. The latest record is taken by Infusion which is the world's first suspended looping coaster entirely over water.

The park has a wide variety of modern and classic-age rides and operates a separate family-themed area called Nickelodeon Land. This section of the park includes numerous small and family orientated attractions suitably aimed at younger children, including a Log Flume-type attraction, two 1,099 feet (335 m) long junior wooden coasters and various small carousel-type attractions. In 2013 the park opened Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic, a £5 million dark ride themed on the Aardman characters of the same name. The park also has its own costumed mascots, Bradley & Bella beaver.

In 2015 the park will open Red Arrows Skyforce, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly thrill ride. The ride will be sponsored by the Red Arrows and will be situated in the old Bling site. The ride will cost an estimate £2 million to construct.

The park has numerous food stalls and kiosks, restaurants and cafés including Coasters, a Mexican themed diner, The White Tower Restaurant a fine-dining restaurant situated in the Casino Building and the UK's largest Burger King chain restaurant, with two levels.[4]


Roller coasters[edit]

# Name Manufacturer Type Opened Description
1 Avalanche Mack Rides Bobsled
Avalanche is a steel bobsled roller coaster. It was the first Bobsled style roller coaster to be built in the UK.[5]
2 Big Dipper John Miller, Charles Paige, Joe Emberton Wooden
Big Dipper is a traditional wooden roller coaster which was built in 1923 by John Miller, and extended in 1936 by Charles Paige and Joe Emberton.[6]
3 Big One Arrow Dynamics Steel Hypercoaster
The Big One is a hyper coaster with a highest point of 71.6 m (235 ft) above sea level or 65 m (213 ft) above the ground. It reaches speeds of up to 119 km/h (74 mph).[7] It was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1994, and was designed by Ron Toomer.
4 Grand National Charles Paige Wooden Racing roller coaster
Grand National is a wooden dual-track racing roller coaster. It is themed around the Grand National horse-racing event and is one of only three Möbius Loop roller coasters still in existence.[8]
5 Infusion Vekoma Inverted
Infusion is a steel inverted roller coaster. It is the first of its kind to be build entirely over water, and was relocated to Pleasure Beach from Pleasureland Southport.[9]
6 Revolution Arrow Dynamics Shuttle
Revolution is a steel shuttle roller coaster that launches from an elevated station, through and loop before stopping and doing the same backwards, it reaches up to speeds of 40 mph and a g force level of 4.0. It was named "Irn Bru Revolution" until 2011 when it reverted to its original name.[10]
7 Nickelodeon Streak Charles Paige Wooden
A classic wooden coaster found in Nickelodeon Land. From 1933 to 2010 it was known simply as Rollercoaster however in 2011 was renamed Nickelodeon Streak. It was built using the lift hill from the Velvet Coaster, which was built in 1909.
8 Steeplechase Arrow Dynamics Three-tracked racing coaster
An Arrow Development three-tracked racing steel roller coaster and the last of its kind in existence.[11]
9 Wild Mouse Frank Wright Wooden Wild Mouse
One of only three operating wooden wild mouse roller coasters in the world. It is known to be one of the most intense Wild Mouse roller coasters in existence.[12]
10 Blue Flyer Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Wooden
A children’s wooden coaster composed of bunny hills and a tunnel. Originally known as Zipper Dipper then renamed to Blue Flyer and re-painted in 2011.[13]

Thrill rides[edit]

# Name Opened Description
11 Ice Blast
An S&S Power Launch/Freefall ride which stands at 210 ft (64 m) above sea level, although is actually 180 ft (55 m) tall.
12 Red Arrows Sky Force
A Gerstlauer Sky Fly ride which stands at 72 ft (22 m). The ride features individual planes on a long arm which spin as the rider rocks side to side.

Water rides[edit]

# Name Opened Description
13 Dora’s World Voyage
A mini boat tub ride located in Nickelodeon Land, opened June 2011.
14 The Rugrats Lost River
A semi-themed one-hill log chute originally in the park's previous Beaver Creek area, which is now Nickelodeon Land (resulting in the ride being renamed and rethemed).
15 River Caves
Classic river caves dark ride, visiting displays of "around the world".
16 SpongeBob's Splash Bash
Located in Nickelodeon Land.
17 Valhalla
Viking-themed dark flume ride, laden with special effects.

Other rides[edit]

# Name Opened Description
18 Alice's Wonderland 1961 Children's dark ride featuring scenes from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The cars are big Cheshire cats.[8]
19 Chinese Puzzle Maze 1997 A traditional maze with interactive features, scenery, and water traps.
20 Derby Racer 1959 One of only three in the world, the ride is essentially a large carousel of 56 horses in four rows, the outside row being the fastest.
21 Dodgems 2010 Standard dodgems attraction.
22 Eddie Stobart Convoy 2002 All trucks are painted in Eddie Stobart Ltd. colours including names.
23 Flying Machines 1904 The oldest attraction in the park. Original flying experience attraction.
24 Gallopers 1919 Ornate traditional English carousel.
25 Ghost Train 1930 A dark ride. This ghost train was the first in the world and is where the ride name "Ghost Train" originates. It was built by Mr Joseph Emberton.
26 Grand Prix 1960s Electrical powered auto-mobile ride. Travels down a spiral and under The Avalanche Rollercoaster.
27 Impossible 2002 (Previously 1001 Troubles and The Haunted Swing) A mirror maze, followed by displays of optical illusions, and a haunted swing ride.
28 Pleasure Beach Express 1934 A miniature railway featuring Scenery of Wild life in a jungle to Dangerous Dinosaur from the Jurrasic Era also includes interactive effects.
29 Tetley Tea Cups Ride 1990s Spinning Tea Cups Ride themed on Tetley, After Beaver Creek closed the ride relocated to underneath the Irn Bru Revolution.
30 Alpine Rallye 1990s A children's automobile track ride similar to the Convoy. After the park's Beaver Creek closed the ride was renamed from Thor's Turnpike and relocated.
31 Vintage Carousel 1990s A Mini carousel ride. After Beaver Creek closed the ride was relocated to under the Avalanche lift hill, and renamed from Veteran Carousel.
32 Wallace & Gromit: The Thrill-O-Matic 2013 New dark ride for 2013 featuring Wallace and Gromit.

Nickelodeon Land[edit]

# Name Opened Description
33 Avatar Airbender 2011 Opened 2011.
34 The Backyardians' Pirate Treasure 2011 Retheme of the previous 'Bradley Beaver's Pirate Ship Ride'
35 Bikini Bottom Bus Tour 2011 Opened 2011.
36 Diego’s Rainforest Rescue 2011 Opened 2011.
37 Fairy World Taxi Spin 2011 Opened 2011.
38 Krusty Krab Order Up 2011 Retheme of the previous 'The Shoot' ride.
39 Wonder Pets! Big Circus Bounce 2011 Opened 2011

Extra Charge attractions[edit]

  • Pasaje Del Terror – Opened in 1998. Interactive horror attraction within the Casino.
  • Horror Crypt – Attraction themed around a haunted residence.
  • Ripley's Believe It Or Not! – A PPR attraction which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims.
  • Go Karts – First opened opposite River Caves in 1977, but relocated to under Steeplechase.
  • Pleasure Beach Arena – An ice rink open all year round.
  • Spectacular Dancing Water Show – Fountain opened in 2009. Every thirty minutes it performs a dancing water show.
  • Numerous pay-2-play arcades and sideshows

Past Rides & Attractions[edit]

# Name Opened Closed Description
1 Virginia Reel 1922 1982 A spinning wooden coaster replaced by Ranger.
2 Scenic Railway 1907 1933 A wooden coaster replaced by Grand National.
3 Switchback Railway 1891 1922 Out And Back wooden coaster. Replaced by the Big Dipper.[14]
4 Velvet Coaster 1909 1932 A wooden coaster replaced by Roller Coaster/Nickelodeon Streak.
5 Space Invader 1984 2008 Indoor roller coaster, it was relocated to Brean Leisure Park in 2011.
6 Tokaydo Express 1980 1997 A figure eight coaster, it was relocated to Brean Leisure Park but has since left it.
7 Drench Falls Log Flume 1967 2006 A log flume replaced by Infusion.
8 Gold Mine 1971 2011 A dark ride has been replaced by Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic.
9 Magic Mountain 1932 2010 Junior dark ride replaced by Dora's World Voyage.
10 Funhouse 1934 1991 An indoor walkthrough, it was destroyed by a fire & replaced by Valhalla.
11 Spin Doctor 2002 2006 A dive booster ride.
12 Bling 2004 2011 A Zierer Star Shape ride.
13 Cyclone 1974 1987 A pinfari coaster replaced by The Avalanche.
14 Observation Tower 1970s 1992 A slow spinning bird eye view tower relocated to Frontierland, Morecambe as POLO Tower & replaced by Pepsi Max Big One.
15 1st Water Chute 1907 1939
16 2nd Water Chute 1979 2003
17 The Greatest Show on Earth 1990 1997 A suspended dark ride replaced by Burger King.
18 Trauma Towers 1980 2008 Indoor haunted walkthrough attraction. SBNO.
19 Noah's Ark 1922 2008 Indoor walkthrough attraction.
20 The Whip 1921 2001
21 Turtle Chase 1935 2006 A tumble bug ride.
22 Astro Swirl 1969 2003 A gravitron ride
23 Cableway 1960 2000 A chair lift ride.
24 Hotchkiss' Bicycle Railway 1896 1900s Remnants of this attraction are held in the Pleasure Beach archive
25 Clown Coaster 1995 2008 A junior coaster, relocated to Wicksteed Park
26 Witching Waves 1913 1923
27 Monster 1968 1995 An octopus ride replaced by Ice Blast.
28 Ferris Wheel 1936 1984
29 Speedboat 1960s 1978 A slow boat ride
30 Joy Wheel 1909 1915
31 Ranger 1983 1986 A black pearl ride replaced by Rainbow.
32 Rainbow 1987 1990s A thrill ride
33 Calypso 1960s 1960s A spinning ride
34 Tidal Wave 1980 1997 Pirate ship was relocated to Pleasureland Southport,then relocated to M&D's.
35 Sidewinder 1939 1961 A Dive Bomber ride.
36 Black Hole 1980s 2006 A waltzer in a dark replaced by 4D Cinema.
37 4D Cinema 2007 2008 Extra-charge theatre attraction. Replaced by puppet/magic show.
36 Monorail 1967 2012 Opened as an aerial transport system with three stations, but closed as a non-stop scenic ride.
37 Ben Hur 1970s 1980s Similar to the Whip, however with a pedal to help start motion.
38 Swamp Buggies 1979 2011 An extra-charge bumper boat ride. Replaced by plant pots.
39 Astro Liner 1970s 1980s A simulator ride
40 The Twist 1980s 1996 A spinning ride
41 Alpine Golf 1970s 2009 Swiss-themed miniature golf, previously located under Avalanche. Replaced by Alpine Rallye.
42 Bobslay 1982 1982 A superbob ride
43 Paratrooper 1981 1980s spinning funfair ride
44 Safari Bugs 1970s 2002 Animal vehicle roundabout has been relocated to Pleasureland Southport and then relocated to Lightwater Valley in 2007.
45 Phantom Chase 1980s 1980s A spinning thrill ride
46 Astroglide 1960s 1990s A giant slide
47 Junior Whip 1927 2008
48 Tom Sawyer Raft Ride 1974 1993 A boat ride
49 Big Apple 2003 2004 A caterpillar roller coaster.
50 The Beast unknown unknown A simulator ride of the wooden rollercoaster at Kings Island.

Park Awards[edit]

  • 2007: Best brand for leisure and tourism – North West top 100 brands
  • 2007: Best large tourist attraction – North West in bloom
  • 2007: Pleasure Beach training team: best practice in tourism training – LETTS awards
  • 2007: Fifth best amusement park in the world – Amusement today golden ticket awards
  • 2007: Best seaside park award – Amusement today golden ticket awards
  • 2007: Best radio commercial – IAAPA Brass ring awards
  • 2007: Pleasure beach website – distinguished excellence – IAAPA Brass ring awards
  • 2007: Valhalla: 2nd best water ride in the world – Amusement today golden ticket awards
  • 2007: Best north west brand for leisure and tourism – Hill Dickinson
  • 2007: revitalised brand of the year – Leisure report awards
  • 2008: North west brand for leisure and tourism – Hill Dickinson
  • 2008: Ripleys believe it or not: Franchise of the year and Guest service award – Ripleys executive board
  • 2009: Big Blue Hotel – 5 star award – Loo of the year
  • 2009: Forbidden: Best overall production – IAAPA Big E awards
  • 2009: Hot Ice: best overall production – IAAPA Big E awards [15]
  • 2011: Top Ten Best Theme Parks – Golden Ticket Awards
  • 2014: Best theme park in the United Kingdom; 12th best theme park in Europe - TripAdvisor 2014 Awards

Park Entertainment[edit]

The Hot Ice Show[edit]

Hot Ice Show is a skating extravaganza show which was created by Stageworks Worldwide Productions, a Blackpool and West End based company owned by Amanda Thompson, the managing director of Pleasure Beach. The show has been running for many years and stars Olympic ice skaters and dancers. The show is performed in an auditorium in the Arena, a large skating rink in the centre of the park. The Arena is also open to the public when matinee performances of Hot Ice are not featured.

Other shows[edit]

The Globe Theatre is currently used to house the 'Big One Talent Show'. New for 2012 is the La Quebrada High Diving Show. Other shows at the park include Beyond Belief, and Ken Webster Comedy Hypnotist.

Ken Webster's show at the Pleasure Beach is the longest running hypnotism show in the world having played there for over 25 years. Richard De Vere ran shows for 21 consecutive seasons, until his death in 2014.

The Big Blue Hotel[edit]

The Big Blue Hotel is a four star family hotel, owned by Pleasure Beach Blackpool and is situated within the outskirts of the park adjacent to Blackpool Pleasure Beach railway station. The hotel opened in Spring 2003.[16]

Damaging Incidents[edit]


In the summer season 1997, the Avalanche ride was involved in an accident when the first carriage's braking system automatically engaged, causing the following carriages to collide into one another in a rapid stop. 14 people were on the ride at the time, an 11-year-old boy suffered bruised ribs. The ride was out of commission for 5 weeks of repairs.[17]

Big Dipper[edit]

On 11 August 2009, two trains carrying a total of 32 guests collided, resulting in 21 guests requiring treatment at a nearby hospital for injuries ranging from whiplash and broken noses, to cuts and bruises.[18] A similar incident occurred on the ride in June 2010, when a train's rear wheels derailed, causing the ride to stop near the Big Blue Hotel.

Fun House[edit]

On 16 December 1991, the Fun House attraction (first opened in 1934) was completely destroyed by a fire caused by vandals. Valhalla (opened in 2000) was built in its place.

Grand National[edit]

On 20 May 2004 the Grand National’s station was destroyed by a fire that also damaged Alice’s Wonderland and Trauma Towers. The Grand National was repaired and re-opened five months later on 28 October 2004. Not long after, a large restaurant caught fire, the restaurant was almost completely destroyed leaving only the shell of the building. The building was demolished and replaced with the Big One Stage.

Big One[edit]

In July 1994, only a week after the ride's opening, eight people were injured when the computer system failed to completely stop a train returning to the station. The result of this brake failure was a collision with a waiting train at the ride's station. The injuries were all only minor but the incident was widely publicised by the media. On 14 June 2011 the train stopped, causing minor injuries. One person was reported to be hospitalised with whiplash injury.[19]

On 31 August 2000, 23 people were injured, when two ride vehicles collided due to a failure of the ride's braking system. Of those injured, 21 were taken to the hospital.[20]

Space Invader 2[edit]

On 21 July 2000, an 11-year-old boy died after falling out of the ride vehicle. Reports say that he may have panicked on the dark ride and unfastened his seatbelt.[21] The ride reopened after that but the actual cause for the ride closure is unknown.

Picnic Ban[edit]

In May 2011, it was reported in the media that the park had banned outside food or drink from being brought into the park, specifically picnics. This was met with criticism from the public, even though the rule was a decade old. Staff defended the decade-old rule, and commented that it was in place as the "ride-intensive nature" of the park meant that there was little space for families to eat food inside the park. Other theme parks such as nearby Camelot (now closed) or Alton Towers, have allowed guests to bring food into the park traditionally.[22]

Pay to enter[edit]

Since it first opened the site had allowed free access to the park. However, in 2009 a £5 (now £6) admission fee was introduced for all members of the public entering the site who had not purchased a wristband. This policy has been heavily criticised locally and on travel advice sites like Tripadvisor in case visitors do not wish to pay to go in. However a number of promotions exist to counteract this.

Television series[edit]

In 1997 the Pleasure Beach featured in a six-part BBC documentary, which followed the day-to-day running of the park. It was mainly focused on the rides and the park managers, Jim Rowland and Keith Allen. The film crews also spoke to Geoffrey Thompson and Amanda Thompson, the director and producer of Stageworks Worldwide Productions (which directs, produces and choreographs the shows within the park.)

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Pepsi Max Big One is featured in the 2001 film The Parole Officer and in one episode of A Touch of Frost
  • Pleasure Beach is featured in the promotional segment for the "Little Britain Live" DVD.
  • The music video for Simply Red's song "Fairground", The Killers' "Here With Me" and the 5 Seconds of Summer's Try Hard music video were shot here.
  • ITV show "Soapstars" featured Pleasure Beach in its made-for-TV drama sequence.
  • The Infusion rollercoaster featured in a 2009 edition of Specsavers advertising campaign.
  • Pleasure Beach was originally referenced in the Doctor Who television episode "Revelation of the Daleks" but the reference was removed when the series was put on hiatus. Pleasure Beach was to be featured as the setting of the next unmade story "The Nightmare Fair."
  • Pleasure Beach, Blackpool appears within a scenario of the very successful game Rollercoaster Tycoon, which features most of the rides within the park that existed at the time of the game's release.
  • The Laughing man was briefly portrayed as a psychotic French clown in Jamie H Scrutton's: "His Haunted Laughter" short film in 2010. The artist performed in the role of the character.
  • The park was included in the hit drama Waterloo Road. Finn Sharkey (Jack McMullen), Lauren Andrews (Darcy Isa), Sambuca Kelly (Holly Kenny) and Tom Clarkson (Jason Done) visit the park.
  • Professional Wrestler Darren Kenneth Matthews, most commonly known as William Regal began his wrestling career at the park at aged 15.
  • British boy band JLS rode on the Big Dipper in early 2012, singing their hit Everybody in Love as they did so. Their ride was filmed and posted on line via their official Facebook page.
  • Kevin Bacon rode the Big One with a young child to advertise EE 4G The advertisement was then aired on National Television in May 2014.


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "It Really Is The Big one!". The Daily Mail (London). 1 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Geoffrey Thompson". The Independent (London). 19 June 2004. 
  4. ^ "Pleasure Beach, Blackpool". Thrillmaster. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Avalanche (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Big Dipper (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Marden, Duane. "Big One  (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Grand National (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  9. ^ "Infusion (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "Irn-Bru Revolution (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  11. ^ "Steeplechase (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  12. ^ "Wild Mouse (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "Zipper Dipper (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  14. ^ "Switchback (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)". Coasterpedia. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Welcome to the Big Blue Hotel". Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  17. ^ 'Pleasure Beach' (BBC MCMXCVII) Ep. 1
  18. ^ Malvern, Jack (11 August 2009). "Big Dipper accident leaves thrill-seekers injured". London: The Times. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  19. ^ "Rollercoaster 'one of the world's best'". BBC. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  20. ^ Gray, Chris (1 September 2000). "23 injured as roller coaster carriages collide". London: The Independent. Retrieved 5 January 2007. 
  21. ^ "Four hurt in fairground fall". 30 July 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  22. ^ "Blackpool Pleasure Beach picnic ban". 7 May 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  23. ^ Beesley, Paul (4 July 2008). "Behind the scenes – A closer look at Blackpools Monorail". Ridemad. Retrieved 9 October 2008. Pleasure Beach Blackpool bought the monorail in 1964 from the Lausanne expo in Switzerland and it was opened in Pleasure Beach in 1966. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Walton, John K. (2007). Riding on Rainbows: Blackpool Pleasure Beach and its Place in British Popular Culture. St. Albans: Skelter Publishing. ISBN 0-9544573-6-6. 

External links[edit]