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The Story of Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The Story of Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Today, Blackpool Pleasure Beach provides 21st century entertainment to millions of visitors annually. With some of the biggest, fastest and technologically advanced rides in the world, this is a real playground for those seeking thrills and excitement and this has been the case for over one hundred years. 


Blackpool’s famous Pleasure Beach celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2021, testament to its continued popularity. That is certainly a lot of history! 

Most visitors to Blackpool will pay a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach at some point. This venue has been a favourite of many generations of holidaymakers and continues to be so to this very day, the popular visitor attraction continuing to open new rides each year to keep up with ever-increasing demand.

The South Beach area of Blackpool was developed later than the town centre and the promenade didn’t extend down to this part of the resort initially. Gypsies moved into this area and ran fairground rides in the 19th century, however they were moved on in around 1910 to allow for redevelopment and for the expansion of the newly-created amusement park.

The first person to offer organised rides to visitors was John Outhwaite, the Yorkshire meat trader opening a steam carousel in 1895. William George Bean followed with a pedal-bike monorail on leased land between the Carousel and the gypsy encampment. It was Bean who founded the Pleasure Beach Company on April 23rd, 1896 and he joined forces with rival Outhwaite soon after, between them borrowing £30,000 and purchasing 40 acres of land next to the Star Inn.

In 1905, the site was renamed the ‘Pleasure Beach’ and the rest is history!

While there have been many new rides added over the years, visitors today can still see a handful of the original features. The iconic Flying Machine – located close to the main entrance – was opened in 1904. The original purpose of this ride was to raise funds to enable Hiram Maxim to attempt a flight of one mile! The gondolas on the original ride have been replaced with rocket carriages but otherwise it is still essentially the same ride.

In 1909 a roller skating rink was opened and in 1935 this was demolished to allow for construction of what is now the oldest Ice Drome in the world. The Ice How here began in 1936 and is now the world’s longest running show on ice.

Until 1923, the Pleasure Beach actually was right on the beach! At this point however, the promenade was extended south on reclaimed land and the site is now separated from the sea by a busy stretch of road and the tram lines.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach today is world famous with some of the fastest and most up-to-date rides in the world.