Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Third Blackpool 1977 Album 3 - The Pleasure Beach

Back to 1977 yet again and a mash-up of several visits that year to Blackpool Pleasure Beach from the latest photo album to make it out of the attic!

Taken on the 21st of May 1977, the Pleasure Beach were in the middle of building a new ride. To be called the Steeplechase, this was the first such ride to be built where riders sat on horses, very like those on The Derby Racer but instead of a round-a-bout, these raced up to three abreast over a course with jumps and hills and dips like a cross-country ride! The sign advertises that the new ride will open later during the year. Later we will see it in action.

Overseeing the action is this fellow... Two such giant figures held up portions of the Monorail track - this was a double-faced clown and the other was a model of Gulliver as seen by the inhabitants of Lilliput.

The Casino Building and tower, seen from the tramway turning loop. I remember once around this time going to an exhibition in the Horseshoe Bar and coming across several members of the George Formby Appreciation Society on a stand. They were all, rather ominously, clutching ukuleles or banjoleles and one asked if we would like a song. Without waiting for an answer, one lady burst (burst??? exploded!!!) into song and one by one the others all picked a different note and joined in. As a musician myself I'm at a loss as to how anyone could join in with a song in several different keys at the same time and not feel the need to stop and maintain a dignified silence... They were all very enthusiastic and great fun though and I resisted the urge to say "Aha! Never touched me!" as my eyes uncrossed and I walked dazedly away.

One of my favourite spots near the south entrance to the park for catching the Big Dipper curving down the third dip before soaring up onto the loop that would start its return journey to the station.

The chain-driven climb of the Big Dipper with its tear-drop finial that had replaced a spherical ball only a few years previously. The sign that the train has just passed says "Do not Stand up" - passengers on the wooden roller coasters at this time were trusted to hold on rather than be strapped in. In those days if you fell off a bridge you were deemed stupid rather than due compensation from the bridge builder. When this stopped being the case people became far more stupid...

A close-up shot of one of the rockets on the Hiram Maxim Flying Machine. Whatever happened to blue skies like that...?

A couple of shots of the Cheshire Cat carriages on the Alice In Wonderland ride. I can't look at photos of this ride without hearing the tune of The Cuckoo Waltz going through my head.

And to finish, I can confirm that the Pleasure Beach did indeed open The Steeplechase in 1977. Lap straps kept you secure on the ride, although the braking system had to be adjusted after a couple of incidents caused minor injuries due to sudden stops. I liked the ride though, the impression of speed with not being enclosed in some sort of vehicle was exhilarating.

In the next visit to Blackpool we'll be wandering about at night again.

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