|Location||Christchurch, Dorset, England|
|Opened||May 23, 1976|
|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. 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.
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, and moved to Merrivale Model Village, Great Yarmouth in 2006.
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.
Places and buildings featured in the model village
- Christchurch Priory
- Prospect of Whitby (London pub)
- High Street, Great Britain – a re-creation of a "typical" British High Street
- London's Tower Bridge, The Victoria Embankment, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, Cleopatra's Needle, HMS "Discovery", The National Westminster Tower, Piccadilly Circus
Rides and attractions present whilst the park was operating
- Various small scale fairground rides
- A range of standard kiddie rides, including 20p-a-go mini bumper three-wheeled motorcycles
- Magic castle themed giant six lane Fun Slide (May 1986)
- Boating lake with motorised bumper boats
- Amusement Arcade
- Ride on small scale Landrover cars
- Crazy Golf/Nine hole golf course
- Seven and one quarter inch miniature narrow gauge scale ride on Steam Train – Later moved/sold to Moors Valley Railway (1980-1985)
- Model village
- Two and a half inch gauge electric model railway, featuring half a mile of track, and seventy five items of rolling stock
- Golfers Arms restaurant
- Roy of the Rovers bar for children
- Go-kart track
- Mini-Cinema, showing cartoons
- Souvenir shops
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.
- Model Railway Constructor – July 1976 – p247
- "Moors Valley Railway - How it began". Retrieved 2006-05-12.
- Dunn, Tim. ""TUCKTONIA again!" forum post on www.saxonsquare.com". (Historian for Bekonscot Model Village). Retrieved 2006-05-12.[dead link]
- Model palace is being moved from the Wimborne Model Town Eastern Daily Press, 8 November 2005
- "Slide at Tucktonia photograph, taken in May 1986 and publicly shared by Paul Curtis". Retrieved 2006-07-01.[dead link]
- Moors Valley Railway
- Original Tucktonia Brochures and other memorabilia
- BBC Radio Solent's Jon Cuthill goes in search of Tucktonia