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 History of the pleasure beach

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lee
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PostSubject: History of the pleasure beach   Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:33 pm

1896-1920s
Alderman William George Bean founded Pleasure Beach, Blackpool in 1896 and bought the forty two acre site on which the Pleasure Beach now stands. Various rides, including the still popular Sir Hiram Maxim Flying Machines, were introduced to the area. The First World War curtailed further development of the site until 1921 when it became possible to import new rides from the USA.

1930s
In the 1930s, Leonard Thompson succeeded his father-in-law to become Managing Director of the Company. This decade saw the introduction of many new rides, including The Rollercoaster, The Pleasure Beach Express, and the world-famous twin track coaster, The Grand National.

THE WAR YEARS
The Second World War once again put a temporary halt to the progress, although Leonard Thompson said, 'Entertainment is about the only commodity that isn't rationed'. During the war years, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool remained open all year round, enabling thousands of evacuees and services personnel to escape the reality of war for a short while.

POST WAR
After the war the Company continued to prosper. The '60s saw a resurgence of development projects and it was during this era that Britain's first commercial Monorail was built at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool and new rides - The Monster, The Astro Swirl and the Log Flume were introduced.

Geoffrey Thompson became Managing Director of the company in 1976, following the death of his father Leonard, whilst Mrs L D Thompson MBE JP, became Chairman. It was under this leadership that exciting new rides were added, including the spectacular 360 rollercoaster The Revolution, and the UK's only bobsleigh ride - The Avalanche.

1990s
Pleasure Beach, Blackpool has been consistently profitable and these profits have been re-invested in new rides and the development and upgrading of the Park. In 1990 the exterior of the grounds were re-designed and a brand new Edwardian style cosmopolitan shopping complex created along the Promenade - Ocean Boulevard.

1994 saw an investment of 12 million for the Pepsi Max Big One, Europe's tallest, fastest rollercoaster. This was followed in 1995 with a 2 million investment to create a brand new cabaret and hospitality venue, The Paradise Room, showing once again the commitment of the Thompsons to provide world-beating quality rides and entertainment. 1997 saw another UK first - the 210 foot, 2 million Ice Blast-The Ride, opened in June of that year by the then 94 year old Chairman of Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Mrs L D Thompson MBE, and pop supergroup Boyzone.

2000 AND BEYOND
The year 2000 saw our biggest investment to date of 15 million when Pleasure Beach, Blackpool opened, Valhalla. Valhalla, the world's biggest dark ride was officially opened on 14th June 2000 by Jonathan Ross. 2002 saw the arrival of the sensational new 1million white knuckle ride Spin Doctor with riders spinning 360 degrees through the air to heights of 120 feet at speeds of over 60 mph. Spin Doctor was officially opened by PR guru Max Clifford on August 7 2002. And another Pleasure Beach, Blackpool first happened in Spring 2003 as The Big Blue Hotel opened its doors at the south end of the park offering luxury accommodation at an affordable price.

2004 saw the arrival of yet another brand new white knuckle ride the 2m Bling and a further 5 million investment in the park with re-theming and refurbishment. Bling lifts riders a whopping 100 feet above the ground and spins them through the air on giant glittering gondolas in three different directions at speeds of over 60mph as the ride pulls 2.5gs. Bling was officially opened on June 1st by Jonathan Wilkes. In 2004 Amanda Thompson became Managing Director following the death of her father Geoffrey, while her brother Nicholas became Deputy Managing Director. 2004 also saw the passing of Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Chairman Mrs LD Thompson OBE JP at the age of 101.
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