Tucktonia

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Tucktonia
Location Christchurch, Dorset, England
Coordinates 50°43′55″N 1°47′24″W / 50.732°N 1.790°W / 50.732; -1.790Coordinates: 50°43′55″N 1°47′24″W / 50.732°N 1.790°W / 50.732; -1.790
Opened May 23, 1976 (1976-05-23)
Closed 1986 (1986)
Area 4 acres (16,000 m2)

Tucktonia was a late 1970s theme park located on Stour Road, Christchurch, Dorset, England. It was officially opened on 23 May 1976 by Arthur Askey.[1] It originally occupied 4 acres (16,000 m2) of the 21-acre (85,000 m2) Tuckton Park Leisure Complex. The park was closed down in 1986, having become run-down and neglected. The site has since been redeveloped for residential use.

General information[edit]

The park was best known for its large model village layout, which included a representation of London.

The 7.25-inch (184 mm) narrow gauge ride-on steam train and some additional fixtures and fittings, were moved to the Moors Valley Railway in the Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood, Hampshire.[2]

It is rumoured that just prior to the closure of the park, the owners wanted to build a roller coaster at the rear of the site, but were refused permission by the local council. Following the refusal, the park closed shortly afterwards.

Bekonscot Model Village in Buckinghamshire provided much inspiration for the designers, one of whom had his office near Bekonscot and was a frequent visitor. The bulk of the models were built by KLF Ltd, who later went on to design similar models at Brittania Park (known as "The American Adventure" theme park by the time of its demise in 2006). Tucktonia was the brainchild of former double British Formula 3 champion Harry Stiller who in 2006 still lived in the area.

The entire model village was believed destroyed when the park closed. However one model survives... this being Buckingham Palace, which was acquired, restored and put on display at the Wimborne Model Town, Wimborne Minster in 2002,[3] and moved to Merrivale Model Village, Great Yarmouth in 2006.[4]

There are numerous unsubstantiated rumours that the models were not destroyed after the closure of the park – the main one being that they were instead placed into storage within a barn where they remained until 2001, when the building burnt down.

BBC Television's Multi-Coloured Swap Shop show broadcast live from the park on one occasion.

The park's model London was used extensively in the obscure 1976 King Kong spoof Queen Kong.

Places and buildings featured in the model village[edit]

Rides and attractions present whilst the park was operating[edit]

After closure[edit]

After the park closed in 1986, the buildings and fixtures were cleared and the land used at first for a public house called "The Olde Colonial", then, at a later date, "Bar Max". These were housed in the original buildings built by Harry Stiller and operated by him and known as the Golfer's Arms. This was a highly popular venue for both locals and tourists alike and featured the Raceway bar where one of Harry Stiller's original race cars was a centre piece on one of the walls in the main bar.

At a later date in the 1990s these buildings were cleared, and a number of retirement flats were built. These currently occupy the former site.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Model Railway Constructor – July 1976 – p247
  2. ^ "Moors Valley Railway - How it began". Retrieved 2006-05-12. 
  3. ^ Dunn, Tim. ""TUCKTONIA again!" forum post on www.saxonsquare.com". (Historian for Bekonscot Model Village). Retrieved 2006-05-12. [dead link]
  4. ^ Model palace is being moved from the Wimborne Model Town Eastern Daily Press, 8 November 2005
  5. ^ "Slide at Tucktonia photograph, taken in May 1986 and publicly shared by Paul Curtis". Retrieved 2006-07-01. [dead link]

External links[edit]