Thursday, 3 September 2015

Candids from Blackpool Pleasure Beach 1974

Back in the 1970s and 1980s I took lots of photographs for magazine use and as many magazines stipulated that there should be some "human interest" in the photos they used, that meant I included lots of candid photos of people working and enjoying themselves on the Pleasure Beach.

It was a standard and mainstream subject for photographers. The photography magazines like Amateur Photographer and Practical Photography and a host of others ran regular articles on the best ways to take photos of complete strangers in public and there were competitions for such photos too.

I like the one above because, apart from including a family reacting to the drop of the Log Flume, it also show the spherical finial on the turn of the Big Dipper which was shortly to be replaced with a tear drop shape.

Before the shops of Ocean Boulevard were built there was access right to the side of the old boating lake of the Pleasure Beach, south of Watson Road. It was a great vantage point for taking photos of the Log Flume.

Up on top of the bridge over Watson Road were these cage swings. You did the work yourself, pushing and pulling on the bars to make the cage swing and with a lot of work it was possible to make it perform full 360 degree rotation.

She caught my eye as she is an obviously very pretty girl - if a trifle bored at the lack of a queue of people wanting popcorn!

Come to think of it, many of my photos featured pretty girls... I didn't particularly worry about this at the time - and I'm certainly not going to start now!

All of the photos in this article were taken in 1974 - forty one years ago! These young ladies will be in their fifties or sixties now. I hope they enjoy seeing their younger selves if anyone recognises themselves!

The Pleasure Beach had a double Ferris Wheel at the time. It was rare to see both wheels turning at the same time. If I remember rightly, one turned as though rolling forwards and the other turned as though rolling backwards. A huge clown figure was built on the side as though turning them by hand.

There were several amusement arcades on the Pleasure Beach. One at the north main entrance, one opposite the Wild Mouse, one opposite the River Caves and one on top of the bridge over Watson Road which acted as an exit from the Space Tower. There was another under the Hiram Maxim Flying Machine. I have a feeling though that this photo was taken in the arcade on the South Pier. It shows a teenager playing Air Hockey. These games were fairly new at the time and quite often a small crowd would gather to see the novel sight of the plastic puck hovering on a bed of air blown from tiny holes in the playing surface. Play was fast and frantic. It was common for the puck to fly off the table!

I'll finish this time with riders on The Monster ride. In 1997 the Playstation (now Ice Blast) opened on this site. If anyone recognises themselves, why not leave a comment? None of these photos made the pages of any magazines I'm afraid - but they were fun to take and are fun now to look back on. I'll feature more in future articles.

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