Farewell Pleasureland

It’s rare that a post like this needs to written – but this is a sad day for the amusement industry here in the UK.

The UK has today lost another long-standing seaside park – Southport Pleasureland. Now I have to admit I have only visited the place once, but it had a classic charm that many modern parks lack – and a decent selection of both historic and modern rides.

Early reports, including this one from the BBC weren’t clear on the date of the closure. Further posts to other coaster forums and websites have revealed that the date of closure is not at the end of the season, but was in fact today. Staff laid off with no notice, rides shut down and closed, in some cases possibly for the last time.

For a company the size of that which owns the park (and also, owns another park up the road – Blackpool Pleasure Beach) to do this to their staff is disgraceful, being told “tomorrow you have no job” is not the way to lay off your staff.

Despite all this, the parks website still shows the park as being open tomorrow. I hope their lost customers aren’t too disappointed when they reach the park and find the eerie silence of a deserted themepark behind the locked and chained gates, rather than a day of fun and excitement in the fun-house and on the rollercoasters. Update: the website is now showing a “the park is closed” message, and it appears the Fun House will remain trading as a seperate entity

Southport Pleasureland is the home to many rides, some classics of a bygone era, including one of the last seaside fun-houses remaining, one of the last 2 wooden wild mouse coasters, and many other classic rides, including a traditional “River Caves”.

Many of the rides will more than likely be sold and relocated, especially those which are modern enough (Traumatizer – already rumoured to be heading to the sister park in Blackpool) or designed to be portable anyway. However, it’s the old, classic rides which will be missed, and these are the ones less likely to be saved, the wooden coasters, the river caves, the fun house. These rides which cannot or do not get sold, will likely meet a messy and destructive end at the steel jaws of the demolition crane. If these historic rides aren’t saved, it’ll be a great shame.

Some pictures of the rides at Southport, all seen in happier times (thanks the the European Coaster Club for these pictures – follow the links, please, then look around these galleries)
Cyclone – Wooden coaster
Flying Scooters
Social Mixer (one of many unique attractions in the fun house)
Yours truely on King Solomon’s Mines

Sources and further reading:
UK Rides
Rideas – where at least one poster was employed at the park.
Southport Forums