By Phil Gould
The Golden Mile that welcomes visitors to Blackpool today is a very different spectacle to the one that greeted people in the early 1960s.
Over the years attractions had sprung up in a haphazard fashion. Originally the stalls, sideshows and rides took up position in the front gardens of houses dotted along the seafront. But as these were replaced by new buildings or disappeared behind facades the eclectic mix of amusements appeared to grow in number.
The attractions consisted of stalls selling souvenirs, confectionery and hot food, fortune tellers including the famous Gypsy Rose Lee, sideshows and a few fairground rides. The sideshows included such gems as the Palace of Strange Girls, the Fattest Teenager You Have Seen, Non Stop Striptease Theatre and the Dreaded Yeti.
While there was plenty of naked flesh on show inside some What The Butler Saw peep shows the girls were not allowed to move or else they would contravene public decency laws.
Fairground rides includes a children’s Muffin The Mule ride and the Rotor. This stood close to where Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks is today. The Rotor was called Astronaut to tie in with that period of history’s fascination with space travel. The front boards of the ride were not painted but adorned with a large poster in bright orange and yellow with a large image of an astronaut in a spacesuit. I only remember this attraction being on the promenade for a couple of years.
The Golden Mile in 1981
In the 70s Scunthorpe-based amusement firm Franklins also secured a ground just at the rear of the Golden Mile which was going to be included in part of the resort’s central redevelopment programme. They brought along their Gallopers, Ark Speedway, Waltzer and Dodgems. Again I don’t think they came for more than a couple of seasons. I’m not sure how they fared for business as they were largely hidden from view behind the seafront buildings. This site was also home to an outdoor dolphinarium for a brief time. Tommy Messham also bought his Wall of Death attraction here too.
The Golden Mile in 1982