Sunday, 20 December 2015

Old Kiddie Rides In Yorkshire...And Just Around The Corner?

No rude comments about how much further behind I've fallen, please.  I know it all too well.  To be fair, I've been really busy with real life in the present day.  Perhaps I'll have more time to write over the holidays.

April 26th 2012

It rained all day.  Non-stop.  Oh well, looking on the bright side, this encouraged us to find an indoor attraction to visit to shelter from the bad weather...which meant that I got to see the Scarborough Fair Collection.

The Scarborough Fair Collection is a charming working museum of fairground rides and related items.  Once you've paid your admission fee, the rides are relatively cheap so I got to have two rides on the gallopers and also try the Ark.  I almost wished I hadn't ridden the latter.  The attendant was rather silly and made the ride go far too fast.  Apparently he didn't notice that I was actually slipping off of my horse.  Mind you, the fact that I was laughing hysterically rather than screaming for mercy probably confused him.  As it happened, I managed to stay on the back of my steed - just - so there was no harm done, although I was quite shaken up when I got off!

Mum actually got out of the car and came inside (I think this was the only place she actually did so during our entire trip) and managed to get around quite well.  She enjoyed looking at the old fairground organs.  As it was relatively quiet, I got the chance to have a go at playing one of the organs, as did David (who, annoyingly, played it a lot better than me!)  Mum stood back as if she didn't want to have a go, then got upset that she'd missed her chance.

Anyway, enough chatter.  Here are a small selection of the photographs I took while we were there.

Ugh, excuse the horrible pictures of me there.  At least I'm not quite as big now!  Although, to be fair, I decided to wear thick tights underneath my trousers so that I could change into my dress when we got back into the car.  You know, because it would be indecent to try and climb upon a carousel horse in a dress, but is less indecent to do a subtle striptease in the car!  Anyway, it was most stiff and uncomfortable to try and walk around in tights and trousers, and obviously didn't do any favours for the appearance of my fat thighs either!

We drove down to Scarborough seafront after that.  A severe disappointment as there was not a single old coin operated ride remaining in the arcades there.  I spotted a nice two horse carousel from the car but, try as I might, I couldn't find it when it came to walking around the arcades!  Maybe I imagined it?  Or maybe it was just that David was rushing me and putting me off of going too far along the road because of the heavy rain.  Silly really, as we got soaked anyway.  Walking further couldn't have harmed us any more after our clothes were already drenched!

Still he insisted on driving a little further down the road and parking again so that we didn't have as far to walk to the arcades at the other end of the road.  Due to the rain, we didn't check properly for parking signs so, ever the optimist, David decided to take a risk and park there.  If we had just walked a little further down the road, we would have seen this.

You guessed it - we ended up getting a very expensive parking fine.  David was cross with Mum for not arguing with the traffic warden since she was stuck in the car at the time, but what could she do?  She could hardly move due to her bad knee, and if we were parked illegally, how was she supposed to argue us out of it?

Anyway, so the few photos of modern, ugly rides that I took ended up costing us a lot of money.  My blog readers might as well enjoy them then, right?  Even if they do leave a very bitter taste in my mouth and are of little interest to me personally.

I fell in love with the little horses that decorated this arcade...I wonder who made them?

On top of the parking ticket, another little present awaited us back at the car...

Well, gee thanks, seagull.  I always wanted a little decoration on my window!

So, after such a pleasant trip to Scarborough, we headed on to Bridlington.  That turned out to be equally upsetting.  The rain continued to pour down and make everything look grim.  We couldn't find the Old Penny Museum I had wanted to visit so David rang them up.  "Is that...the museum?" he asked.  (It might have helped if he'd found out WHO he was ringing before he did so!)  Anyway, it turned out that the museum was no longer there and was now a restaurant.  Great.

Having read the Pennies By The Sea book and found out about the history of the arcades, it felt even sadder to see them, especially Joyland (sorry, THE FORUM) and Bay View, in their modernised state.  As for John Ling's arcade where I had happy memories of Edwin Hall rides when I was a child?  Well, there are no rides at all there now.  Just an empty space where they once stood.

(They used to be along that wall alongside the bowling alley - Edwin Hall Dalek, Panda, Muffin, Ostrich, Silver, Bugs Bunny etc.  So sad.)

I took a couple of snaps of the arcades for interest's sake due to reading the book.  But, to be honest, the arcades are unrecognisable even from when I was a kid, let alone from the period the book mostly talked about!

There were next to no rides in Bridlington at all and the arcades were full of heavy security who looked like they'd shoot me if I dared to get a camera out!  So these were the only three ride pictures I took there.

The toys had even fled from this juvenile set as apparently anything remotely kiddie ride-like is now banned from Bridlington!

Well, one good thing came out of our visit anyway.  I went in a charity shop opposite The Forum and found this beauty for 50p.

Not just a Fairy Tails Bird, but one I actually didn't have in my collection.  If that's not an achievement, I don't know what is!

We drove on to Hornsea next.  Gosh, it was as sad as Whitley Bay.  A total ghost town.  What has become of our beautiful seaside resorts?  I used to cry when the old rides of happy days gone by were replaced by modern ones, but it's even sadder to see the arcades closed down and demolished.

Our last stop of the day was Withernsea.  It wasn't quite as bad as Hornsea, but certainly on its way there.  I admit we arrived late and everything was closed for the day but it seemed that most places were closed for more than the day if you know what I mean.  The cafe I remembered with three old rides outside was still there (but shut for the evening).  I looked through the window though and there were no old rides there now.

Only one arcade remained there and the oldest rides there dated from the 90s.

The place was in a bad way...someone had even stolen a horse off of this carousel, it would appear!

And still, poor Mum sat in the car out in the rain.  Mind you, I don't think she'd have been too enthralled with the rubbish David and I had seen that day.

April 27th 2012

Aw, was the week really over already?  Yes, sure enough, it was time to head home.  But not before a few more ride-hunting stops on the way!

Filey seafront was our first destination.  Yes, one final attempt at getting into that funfair.  Alas, our efforts were in vain as the place was still closed!  Oh well, at least I had the sense not to leave without taking a few photographs over the fence.  At the time I was stupidly content with this anyway as I believed the rides no longer worked for filming since their cash boxes had been removed.  Of course it didn't dawn on me that these were probably just taken away when the funfair was unattended to put off potential vandals/thieves.

Poor Mum was still cramped up in the car so I suggested that we went to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs because I thought she might push herself to have a little walk if there was bird watching involved.  David had other ideas though.  He "hadn't realised you had to pay to get in" so we just sat in the car park and watched some tree sparrows before driving off again.

To soften Mum's disappointment, David drove us to Flamborough Head (without telling us his plans).  What a stupid place to go.  He might have known it would be steep with steps everywhere.  Mum obviously couldn't navigate those so we had to drive away from there without walking round too.

Then back to Mablethorpe.  I'd remembered seeing photos of some 1960s BRH Fibreglass kiddie rides at a market there so we went in search of those.  No luck.  One of the markets was closed and there was nothing at the other.

I was still too scared of being told off to photograph the rides at Jackson's Amusements, but I did snap a Whittaker Brothers' Coco the Clown Train in a small corner shop.

We went back to look at the plush G3.5 My Little Ponies too, but they wanted £12 each for them!  I know it takes a lot of money to win on the crane machines, but even so!  They were only the very small ones.  God knows what they'd have charged for the larger sizes!

As we drove away from Mablethorpe, I remembered this was where kiddie ride manufacturers' Amutec's factory was located.  I'm not sure how we found the place (and we obviously couldn't see much) but it was still a thrill to know that this was where some of my favourite childhood rides were made.

Our next stop was Ingoldmells.  Poor Mum tried to hobble into one of the arcades only to discover that all of the rides were up on the second floor!  She gave up after that and went back to sitting in the car. Gosh, the place was huge, but with Mum in the car, I didn't feel like I could walk around all of it.  I was saddened to see that Fantasy Island was little more than a dirty, smelly market with a few run down rides hanging around between bunches of stalls.  I remember that place being full of life when I was a child.

Well, I took a few snapshots of rides as David and I raced through a few of the arcades and also filmed two nice horse rides for the website.  At the time I believed the "gun horse" to be one I remembered from my childhood at Skegness Pleasure Beach but I now believe it was a more modern version of the same model.

Despite rushing as fast as I could and not getting around any of it properly, we were just over an hour in total and Mum got cold in the car.  Due to the chill, she had to break all her rules and ask to stop at a public loo.  The only one we could find was a horrible-looking open air council bus shelter.  It was surprisingly clean for the circumstances but the seat was wet in my cubicle.  I wiped it off, put a layer of paper across the seat to try and protect myself from germs (yes, a stupid idea passed down from my mum and grandma!), hovered above the seat, peed on the paper "cover" and soaked myself!

Our last stop was Skegness.  I knew I wouldn't have time to walk around, but I still wanted to drive along the seafront and see if I could spot any obvious kiddie ride gems.  And boy, was I glad we did!

One of my childhood favourites, Sammy the Snail, was back outside the Pleasure Beach!  He'd had a makeover but there was no mistaking him.

For many years, I had wondered who had made old Sammy (and other rides of a similar design that came on the same base).  The initials on the footplates were "BRH" so I was none the wiser at the time!  But at least it gave me something to research when I got home.

Sammy was the only ride I had time to photograph, then Mum and I quickly dashed down the pier where we found another of my old ride "friends", RG Mitchell's Humpy the Camel.

Unfortunately, a bloke who worked there wouldn't stop pestering me (I feared he was going to tell me off for taking photos, but I think he was just trying to flirt!  Asking me where I lived and if I drove and would be around later...  I was so naive that I didn't even realise what he was doing until Mum pointed it out that evening!) so I didn't get to take any photos.  He was a bit of a weirdo anyway.  He didn't even know that the Mitchel family were the owners of the pier...a bit odd to not know who pays your wages!

Oh well, I did at least get a film of the ride.  He came back and began pestering me again even before the end of this (you may just hear my mum trying to keep him talking towards the end of it...or maybe not in all the noise of the arcade!) and practically escorted us off of the pier straight afterwards as he followed hot on our heels still desperately asking my name right up to the entrance. >.<

Speaking of RG Mitchell, we drove past their old factory (which isn't actually too far from Skegness seafront) on our way back to the motorway.  It's the Jolly Roger Amusement Rides factory these days, one of the only companies in Britain still producing kiddie rides to this day.

We had an amazingly speedy trip back to London.  David didn't have to stop at services once.  I think he made a desperate effort to get Mum home early enough that she would still eat dinner, but we still didn't get back until gone 8pm which she deemed far too late for a big meal!

April 28th 2012

Back to reality.  The day went on wrapping eBay parcels and then going to Ealing Broadway to post them. The coin operated rides in Ealing had changed again but it was far too crowded to take any photographs.

Ebay had another free listing promotion but I only got around to helping Mum list thirty items as all the postage rates had gone up and needed to be changed.

We picked up a parcel from the post office on the way home.  It was my trade box from MLP Trading Post member NSunshine.  My first G4 ponies!  (Well, apart from the one I'd bought in America the previous year).  She included the MIB set and all the other goodies for free.  I felt bad that I hadn't sent her as much in return.

I researched the mysterious "BRH" who made Sammy the Snail.  Apparently there was a company called BRH Fibreglass based in Skegness in the 1960s.  I couldn't find out much about them but remembered reading an article about a chap called Bill Hussey who made coin operated rides in Skegness at about that time.  Maybe it had something to do with him?

I also discovered an interesting blog written by an Australian collector of Nerf guns.  Apparently she had used the Taobao website to buy some factory reject guns based on guns which had not yet been released.  Hasbro gave her a lot of trouble, even sending somebody to lurk around her apartment and threaten legal action for her photographing these prototype guns for her blog.  It made me wonder about the implications for pony collectors who used that site...

April 29th 2012

Horrible, horrible day of arguments and unnecessary nastiness.

Mum was in a terrible mood.  David took me to Grottsville to drop off some more eBay stuff (to "get it out of her house"), pick up some stuff to list/pack and weigh some other larger items.  Mum was cross when we got back "so quickly".  She wanted us out of the way for longer so that she could wallow in her own misery and anger apparently.

Still I tried to help her out with her eBay listings.  I ended up wishing I hadn't bothered.

I asked, innocently enough, what she wanted me to write in the description for her knitting machine.  This set her off screaming at me for reasons best known to herself.  I'd "written the wrong thing in the description before".  I was "a b*tch and a turd-face who never wanted to help her."  Pardon?  What was I trying to do now?  If I'd written the wrong thing before, it was probably because SHE wasn't being cooperative that day.  The fact was that she didn't want me to help her with her eBay listings, she wanted me to do it all for her...and describe her items accurately when I knew nothing about them!

She then demanded that I walked to the Co-Op in South Ealing with David as she "wanted us out of the way".

Upon our return, we found utter chaos.  The lovely books that I'd spent hours struggling to accurately list on eBay for her earlier that day were in pieces all over the floor...

...and she'd decided to graffiti her angry thoughts all over the walls again!

And there she sat in the middle of the madness, a smug smile on her face saying how she "felt better for doing something having sat there since 5.30am".

I took one look at her and admittedly did something stupid - I hit her over the shoulder with part of one of the torn up books.  Two wrongs never make a right but I couldn't take any more.  She said I never helped her but whenever I DID help her, she just tossed it back in my face.

David, equally angry, threatened to smash a cabinet full of her china ornaments.  She didn't care and said she'd "do it for him", making a beeline for the cabinet.  I grabbed hold of her to stop her and she let out an ear piercing scream, saying that I had "pushed her" and "made her knee worse".

A vile argument ensued that continued for several hours.  I was "a little princess who got everything I wanted by dragging her around Yorkshire".  She "was bored at the Scarborough Fair Museum and had to touch things to look like she liked them".  She "didn't see any birds or family history there" (well, of course she didn't - she couldn't get out of the car due to her knee, nothing to do with me!)  She "wanted a divorce".  David could have however much of her money he liked, the only condition was that he "must take his kid back to Grottsville to DIE of allergies as she never wanted it anyway".  I was "a violent person who had pushed her over" and she "couldn't even use the same bathroom as me because it smelt of body scrubs and other dirty princess things".  WTH?  So I couldn't even use basic cleaning products in the bath without her complaining now?

David offered a compromise and told her to go to Grottsville since she hated Woodberry so much.  She agreed and packed her bag...but didn't follow through with it, of course.  After all, who would get her dinner when she couldn't stand up for long with her bad knee?  She wouldn't have the turd faced b*tch who never helped her there, would she?

David had accidentally bought her cherry Lucozade instead of the Original one.  She took one sip of it and threw it all over the floor for me to clean up.  Lovely.  Who was the one acting like a spoilt princess again?

I just felt so sad and lonely.  I must have cried something about wishing that someone loved me which gave Mum the opportunity to tell me that I should "try being nicer to people and maybe someone would".  Who?  Certainly not her, and I didn't have the opportunity to mix with anyone else.

April 30th 2012

Mum was still in a temper with "the little princess" but, having fallen out with her e-friend Jill again who had pointed out to her how "overdramatic" she was being, she was starting to calm down and talk to me again.  She even helped me to wrap a couple of my eBay parcels.

David took me to Brentford Post Office to ship them at 4pm.  Then we had to go shopping in Morrisons (the only place with a car park around there) and David offended me by joking about "small animals" (bacon).  I try not to be one of those vegetarians who enforce their beliefs on everyone else, so I get even more annoyed when meat eaters feel the need to joke about eating innocent animals.

I had a bit of a shock on the way back when I spotted something familiar outside a little newsagents.

This Robinson Partners Circus Pony ride was there when I was a kid.  But I honestly believed it had been disposed of years previously.  All the long treks to go kiddie ride hunting in Yorkshire and Lancashire and, unbeknownst to me, we had an old ride not more than five minutes' drive away from our front door!

Alas, my camera battery wasn't charged up so I couldn't film him but David promised to bring me back the following day (because, you know, having discovered the pony had been there all those years, it was likely to disappear in the near future - I knew my luck!)

I did some more online ride research that evening and stumbled across the Project Dalek forum which had some interesting information about the Edwin Hall Dalek on it.  I was particularly interested to note from Geoff Biffen's message that my predictions about Hall's relationships with Edward Savill and RG Mitchell seemed to be correct.  I might not have many actual facts on the history of kiddie rides down in writing, but I did seem to be pretty good at piecing it all together in my own mind!

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx

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