The Lost Rides Of Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Photographs: Gary Radice, Phil Gould, Michael Smith, Ashley Stanworth

Gary Radice
1001 Troubles

The 1001 Troubles was a mirror maze incorporating a hall of mirrors and was originally situated to the left of Bean Street.

The attraction now forms the first segment of ‘Impossible’.“Walk, Don’t run in 1001”.


Gary Radice
Safari Ride

2002 was the last season the Safari Ride operated at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

As at 2005 it was at Southport Pleasureland. 

Gary Radice

Astro Swirl (aka The Millennium Bug)

Space travel was certainly in vogue in 1969, the year this ride first appeared at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Originally called the Astroswirl, this spinning centrifugal ride was housed in the 70 foot diameter perspex dome that still stands in the park.

The idea for the dome originated at the Canadian Expo in 1968.

This ride was renamed The Millennium Bug for 2000 and was advertised for sale in The World’s Fair Magazine three years later.

It later earned its keep at Blackpool’s sister site Pleasureland in Southport (opposite the Cyclone) where it is was renamed Sandstorm to fit in with the desert theming of the park.

Ash Stanworth
The Cableway last operated at the park during the 2000 season and yet if there is one park that deserves a ride like this so it can be viewed from eighty feet up in all its glory it is the Pleasure Beach at Blackpool.
The original chair lift ride from which Geoffrey Thompson got the idea operated at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. The Blackpool ride opened in 1960 and afforded passengers brilliant views along the 2 x 800 yards whilst at the same time facilitating the crossing of the Watson Road which then divided the park into two.
The Cableway originally cost £50,000 to build and in times past the red gondolas would stop at one station to allow people on/off and the yellow gondolas would do the same at the other station.

Gary Radice
Vintage CarsIt was a case of putting your foot down on the gas pedal for a fun ride on the Vintage Cars back then.

They closed for business in the 2001 season to be replaced by the electrically powered Eddie Stobart’s Convoy ride.

Gary Radice
Tidal Wave
This 45 seater Huss Pirate Ship debuted at the park in 1980 and eventually turned up at Southport Pleasureland in 1997, where it operated up until Pleasureland’s closure on September 5th 2006.
themagiceye initially rode it (cost: one ‘B’ Ticket) when it was situated next to The Water Chute in the Pleasure Beach’s North Park, but the ride also occupied a position in the South Park next to the old Cine 2000 attraction during its life at Blackpool.
Following the closure of Southport Pleasureland on 5th September 2006 this ride can now be found at M&D’s in Strathclyde Country Park Scotland.


National Fairground Archive
The Calypso

The Calypso once stood where the (large circular spinning) Tagada element of Trauma Towers now stands.

It was in the early sixties that themagiceye remembers first seeing this ride and was captivated.According to the excellent National Fairground Archive (NFA) website there were only six (possibly seven) of these machines operational in UK:

“..the chain of ownership of the 2 Botton Brothers machines is not at all clear. The machines between them passed to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and New Brighton around 1965, though it appears that both machines had been ‘hybridised’ with the other. Worlds Fair notes a Lang Wheels machine for sale by Wilkie (New Brighton) in 1968..” Look at the photo and you will notice skiers around the circumference of the ride. By all accounts The Calypso took the place of the Ski Jump ride that occupied the space before it.

Phil Gould


Who can ever forget The Monster?

‘B’ Ticket for a ride and ‘C’ Ticket for a re-ride when themagiceye first experienced this attraction.

The Monster stole the show at the Canadian Expo in 1968 and proved popular at Blackpool until 1995 when it was removed.

It was positioned in the Pleasure Beach where Ice Blast now stands and was last reportedly seen in pieces at Pleasureland Southport some years back!

A season or so prior to Ice Blast being built, the Egg Scrambler (Twister) occupied this spot (it was once situated in the South Park) before itself being moved to Southport Pleasureland where it operated under the name Tagada (next to The Cyclone).

Phil Gould
The Ferris Wheel
In 1936 Leonard Thompson unveiled the first Eli Wheel to be erected in Great Britain. The wheel was 70 feet tall and had sixteen cradles – each of which held two riders.Two years later Leonard Thompson added the second wheel next to it.

themagiceye remembers the ride being called The Ferris Wheel (why not wheels?) on the few occasions it rode it (mainly 1970s) and thinks it cost 15 pence to ride. One wheel went clockwise, the other went anticlockwise – so when both wheels were running it looked very effective.Note the monorail in Phil Gould’s photograph above.

The Ferris Wheel was eventually sold in 1984.

Phil Gould
SidewinderAnyone recognize this ride from this Phil Gould photograph?

The Sidewinder was one of a number of portable rides that flooded the South Park in the eighties.It was a modern version of the Dive Bomber but unlike the Dive Bomber it also lifted to revolve on a horizontal plane as well.

Phil Gould

The Ranger (manufactured by Huss) seen here in all its glory at Blackpool next to the North Cableway station.

The ride replaced The Virginia Reel in 1983 and was itself replaced by The Rainbow in 1987.These type of rides were rare in the UK.

The Haunted Swing

The “Original Nineteenth Century Simulator” is not totally lost of course today – it can still be found in the park as part of the Impossible attraction.

However it has not been a stand alone attraction since 2001. The Haunted Swing was always one of the first attractions you saw (and heard) when entering the park from the North Entrance.

The Haunted Swing remains a classic ride and – in themagiceye’s opinion anyway – holds its own easily against some of the hi-tech rides of 2006. 









In 1999 the Blackpool management had added a Speech Bubble to the ghost advertising the ride (left). It read:

“Please don’t wait until next year to ride The Haunted Swing (Hex) at Alton Towers – Ride the original Haunted Swing at Blackpool Pleasure Beach now!”The very small writing underneath the words: “The Gravity of the Situation” below says: 

“This Nineteenth Century invention was revived here at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1955”.

Phil Gould

Phantom Chase

Sandwiched between the Grand National on the left and the Haunted Hotel on the right, the Phantom Chase (“A Cresta Run on speed”) occupied this space for a few seasons in the early eighties.

The cars swung wickedly high as they circumnavigated the tight circle.

‘B’ Ticket rides did not come much wilder than this..

Phil Gould
If themagiceye remembers correctly, the Pleasure Beach’s South Park was awash with temporary, portable rides in the early eighties.
According to the National Fairground Archive: A 10 car upright Paratrooper machine was built by Harry Steers for L. Silcock at Blackpool in 1981.
The upright version survived for only a few months before re-emerging as a lifting version seen above. / /
Ben HurThe images above and below of Huss’s unique ride were taken in 1987 at the Pleasure Beach Blackpool. Ben Hur was an updated version of the popular fairground ride The Skid.

Instead of pressing the usual pedal to get the cars to spin, riders pulled on a rope! /

The Rainbow occupied the spot vacated by the Ranger for a brief period from 1987. The Virginia Reel once stood proudly here.

“…The Rainbow (HUSS) was first manufactured in 1983 containing many design elements of the Ranger (HUSS 1981). This ride really has to be seen in motion to be appreciated. It’s typically HUSS – offering riders unbeatable smoothness (hydraulically driven), and spectators a graceful, well-lit, perfectly themed picture. Its amazing height of 66ft dominates the set-up of any carnival.

The Rainbow appeals to riders of all ages, offering a basic orbiting sensation, with alternating movements of varying speed, both clockwise and anti-clockwise. Generally speaking, the ride sensation is nothing too major, with basic side-to-side motions, and slight weightlessness sensations..”

David Burton, David Burton’s Amusement Ride Extravaganza /
Grand Prix

“The Grand Prix was situated next to the Tidal Wave and consisted of a group of cars linked together in a train being powered by drive motors positioned between the rails with two small tyres driving a blade mounted under each car. The cars also had a motor under each which, via a screw jack drive, tilted the cars inwards as they gained speed.

The ride was delivered new in its most minimal form and GSR staff added crash barriers and a tunnel with flashing green ‘go’ lights and fixed red ‘stop’ lights.It was also the intention to fit a video projector to the tunnel and add in-car race pictures. This did not stay in position long as during daylight the light level was too high to allow the image to be seen.”

Ian Beech – Blackpool Pleasure Beach employee 1978-1983 /

Tokaydo Express

This Pinfari/Super Train ST40 manufactured powered coaster was first introduced into the Pleasure Beach in 1980.

Eight years later, a canopy was added to protect the workings of the ride from the elements.

This figure of eight steel roller coaster reached up to speeds of 40mph and, if themagiceye’s memory serves right, depending on how busy the park was you usually got between 2 and 4 laps for your money (or ‘B’ Ticket).

It was relocated to Brean Leisure Park in 1997 and renamed ‘The Figure of Eight. /
The Twist
Lawrence Silcock’s Twist debuted in the South Park at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (themagiceye believes in the early eighties).
Is this the machine that was later painted yellow and renamed The Egg Scrambler? If it did become The Egg Scrambler then:
When The Monster in The North Park was removed The Egg Scrambler temporarily took its place prior to Playstation – The Ride (now renamed Ice Blast) being built.
And…if it did become The Egg Scrambler then:
Up until September 2006, the ride was named Tagada and plied its trade next to The Cyclone at the now sadly defunct Southport Pleasureland..
Could someone let themagiceye know if this Twist did become The Egg Scrambler please..   🙂 /
Bobslaythemagiceye doesn’t remember this ride from the eighties but here it is in all its glory, complete with misspelling (shouldn’t it be Bob-sleigh?).

The following information was received from a reader of themagiceye on 29th November 2006 (the reader also posts on Club Pleasure Beach site):“The ride pictured above is an early sobema Superbob. It arrived in 1982 and was on a position let to Pat Evans. It lasted about a season, (if memory serves) before being put back on the travelling circuit”.

Phil Gould
Astro-linerPhil Gould’s 1980 photo of the Wisdom manufactured Astro-Liner above was actually taken at Southport Pleasureland!

I can assure you though that it was situated in the South Park at Blackpool around the same period.A simulator with VHS technology – it didn’t really set the amusement world alight but it has a sentimental place in themagiceye’s heart anyway.

Gary Radice
Greatest Show on EarthBy themagiceye’s reckoning there will be many ‘twenty something Pleasure Beach enthusiasts’ out there who remember this ride either with fondness or intrigue. The world of musicals and circuses were at its very heart. The suspended cars came back out into the open above the station approximately half way into the ride (left). 

themagiceye rode this ‘B’ Ticket ride circa 1997ish when it first opened on the spot now occupied by the Burger King Restaurant in the South Park. Prior to 1997 this ride (albeit on a smaller scale) was actually situated inside the old Paradise Room!themagiceye is a great dark ride fan, and this was a great dark ride. But themagiceye has memories of it being closed several times due to it breaking down…on the days themagiceye visited the park anyway!