Southport River Caves destroyed

The Save Dreamland Campaign was launched by Joyland Books in January 2003 and is now supported by several thousand people. This is the place to discuss all aspects of saving Margate's famous amusement park and its iconic , Grade II listed Scenic Railway, Britain's oldest roller coaster.

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Southport River Caves destroyed

Postby Nick » 21 Apr 2009, 21:56

Apparently a fire has destroyed the Southport River Caves this evening:

http://www.southportforums.com/forums/s ... t=50401049

We had left some items there are the request of Norman Wallis, so I expect these have been lost. Not sure yet whether the fire includes the Mirror Maze and Haunted Swing, which were left in situ due to asbestos.
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Postby EAS » 21 Apr 2009, 21:58

Oh no - that's awful!

:(

Hope not too much is lost!
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Postby Nick » 21 Apr 2009, 22:09

The Haunted Swing and Mirror Maze building is apparently safe (for now).
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Postby EAS » 21 Apr 2009, 22:12

Phew!

Was there much left inside the Caves building?

Sad though - it still must have had a great deal of 'historic fabric' of the original there. :(
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Postby Nick » 21 Apr 2009, 22:16

We got almost everything we needed out of the River Caves in 2007. We were asked by the person who took a short-term lease on the park to leave some machinery on the front of the ride behind the water wheel so that we didn't leave a gaping hole on the frontage. However, the frontage was never seen because it had sideshows in front of it all the time. Then the front area was bulldozed, destroying the bits we had left behind. So the fire has almost certainly had no impact at all on our own plans at Dreamland - those remaining bits had already been destroyed.

It would be good to get the haunted swing and mirror maze out, though.
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Postby EAS » 21 Apr 2009, 22:18

Asap I think!

It sounds like the fire was arson...
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Postby EAS » 22 Apr 2009, 17:19

New pictures, plenty of new comments too on the Southport site!

wildmouser says: Wed 22nd Apr 2009, 02:33 AM


I also was only just thinking about what was left of the former Pleasureland park earlier yesterday, and thought about the River Caves. I guess it was an almost certain eventuality for the former ransacked attraction, left in a very bad state by the park's last owners (Blackpool Pleasure Beach).

Being on the Save Dreamland Campaign, and a past visitor, several times, to your park, I am very sorry to hear this awful news. I was hoping that the park's new owners may have been able to salvage this, now, very rare attraction. I expect a certain other North West park will be very proud to be the owner of (as far as I'm aware) the last remaining working example of this kind of ride in the UK.

Maybe now people will see the real value of the lost historic Cyclone wooden coaster many people toiled hours over trying to save a couple of years or so ago. Not much history left at Pleasureland now I expect sadly. Hopefully the place can see a revival in these difficult times; heck, we must all need a laugh or a good time more than ever now. I feel sorry mainly for the new generations coming through, with little or no fun places left like these anymore.

Martin Porter

Maidstone, Kent


James Pertwee says: Wed 22nd Apr 2009, 05:21 PM


The people of Southport couldn't care less about the town or the area around them.

If they are not letting iconic rides such as the Cyclone be destroyed without so much as a campaign or a whimper, they are actually setting fire to them themselves.

There is no commuunity spirit or hope for the town; they let every building, shop or local tourist attraction fall to the ground without so much as batting an eyelid.

Keep driving, don't stop at Southport.




pedoja says: Wed 22nd Apr 2009, 05:42 PM


You don't actually KNOW what efforts went into trying to save the Coaster....

I find your attitude offensive!


Yes thanks Pedoja, I do know, but I can't now seem to be able to log on to berate that person!

However, at the time, many were full of 'bulldoze Cyclone' comments, and it all became rather unpleasant.

One of my all time fav sites:

http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/sho ... hp?t=36991
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Postby porterm » 22 Apr 2009, 21:08

Yes - EAS et all,

Some rather nasty shots of yet another historic amusement park attraction inferno on the Southport website earlier today. All very sad, but not very surprising, in these times it seems.

Hopefully, there are some local Southport people who have a closer affection for their town's attractions, but I too was quite mystified by some people's comments a few years ago on their website forum. At least their "Classic Resort" status remains untarnished.

Maybe it's a case of "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone". Prevention is always better than a cure also springs to mind; at least some of us tried with the Cyclone.

Martin

PS Anyone else note the rather untimely date of yesterday's Southport inferno? (remember what happened last year on 7 April closer to home)
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Postby EAS » 23 Apr 2009, 07:30

pedoja says: Wed 22nd Apr 2009, 08:55 PM


According to the Police at the Area Committee it was decided at 3.55am that it was a suspicious fire and the incident has been referred to the investigation unit.


No surprise there then!
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Postby kevinashe » 23 Apr 2009, 16:43

nick are the haunted swing and mirror maze,not part of dreamlands plans or is norman using them still on the site or is the plan to get them out when the site eventually gets developed
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Postby EAS » 23 Apr 2009, 17:57

James Pertwee says: Thu 23rd Apr 2009, 09:49 AM

http://www.southportforums.com/forums/s ... ge=3&pp=30

Actually, I know EXACTLY what efforts went into saving the Cyclone.

A rag-tag bunch of disorganised hopefuls, small in number and lacking the necessary common sense and legal acumen necessary to prevent such a tragedy from happening, unlike other organisations/campaigns in Blackpool or Margate.

It is exactly how I said - the people of Southport care little or nothing for the area, which is why further catastrophies are allowed to happen with little care or opposition. If you look at the posts on this website last year, it reinstates exactly what i've just said.

You reap what you sow as they say.....


Absolute bullsh*t

And I also recall Marcus Binney, international architectural historian, architecture correspondent of the Times, and President of SAVE Britain's Heritage www.savebritainsheritage.org writing to Sefton Council to ask for a temporary preservation order, to give us more time. It didn't even respond. EH was not allowed onto the site to assess the rides properly. SAVE's Buildings at Risk Officer tried also to persuade Sefton by phone, and I even got Health and Safety involved in order to see if asbestos would give us some time!

I tried PBB, many times, but they didn't want to know, wouldn't even properly answer calls, the PR person was dreadful.

Other things were tried. I gave over a vast amount of my time to trying to prevent Cyclone and the other rides being bulldozed. However, when someone is as determined as Amanda Thompson was, it's hard to do a great deal.

I also have the 'legal acumen' as did others involved, but English Heritage and the DCMS between them messed it all up.

What happenened wasn't unlawful, so nothing could be done such as an injunction.

I still have the correspondence. After that the DCMS altered how it operated...


See Page 4 of this:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/re ... 31_e_c.pdf

and tell me this is a ragbag collection of people with no acumen reporting the loss of Cyclone!

Possibly someone who can log on to the site can suggest Mr Pertwee read this site? And this thread? And perhaps he can then tell us how involved he has ever been in saving buildings and how he knows what happened? I wasn't aware he had access to my e-mails, my correspondence, and my telephone calls? Or those of others?
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Postby EAS » 23 Apr 2009, 18:31

http://www.southportforums.com/forums/p ... 5239&pp=40

is worth looking at. Look at the pics. Read the posts. This is a post there:

smithy99 Wed 20th Sep 2006 08:54 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just received this e-mail:

Dear Mr. Ellingham,

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to me for response.

We are aware of the situation at Southport and I know that an application to list the Roller Coaster has been submitted to our Heritage Protection Department. They are looking at this as a matter of urgency but a decision on this has not yet been made.

Uunfortunately there is nothing English Heritage can do to stop the demolition of a currently unlisted building, but you may want to contact Sefton Council to see if they are doing anything.

You can telephone them on +44 0845 140 0845 or through their website at www.sefton.gov.uk.

If you would like further information about the listing process and what listing means please have a look at the information on our website:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.1373

I hope that this has been of help to you

Yours sincerely

Clare Reading
Casework Officer
English Heritage North West Region




And here's a very rapid Press Release SAVE put out too at the time:

PRESS RELEASEIMMEDIATEPRESS RELEASE20thSeptember 2006

DEMOLITION OF HISTORIC ROLLERCOASTER MUST STOP

Demolition work has started on the unlisted 1937 Cyclone rollercoaster in Southport’sPleasure Land amusement park. Pleasureland was closed earlier this year by its owners, Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The Cyclone rollercoaster is one of only five remaining pre-war timber rollercoasters in the UK, and one of nine built before 1960. (In total, 127 were built before 1960, the majority demolished in the ‘60s and ‘70s). It is a classic figure-of-eight with a maximum height of 60ft and a top speed of 42mph SAVE is calling for this wonderful structure, by Charles Page of the Pennsylvania Roller Company to be preserved and re-use, and for the owners of the park to cease their scorched earth policy.

SAVE’s Secretary, Adam Wilkinson, said “We are horrified at the mindless vandalism of the historic Cyclone rollercoaster. The rollercoaster is an importantsurvival of an increasingly rare type of historic structure”

"The chainsaws must stop and English Heritage must be allowed on site to inspect thestructure for listing. It is in our view eminently worth preserving and has plenty more thrills to give willing punters. It is a beautiful and intricate structure, like a cat’s cradle, made from 100,000 ft of timber.”

“Structures such as this are of great interest in their own right, as well as holding great meaning for the many people they have given thrills and scares to.” ENDS

Contact Adam Wilkinson, SAVE Britain’s Heritage 0207 253 3500
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Postby EAS » 23 Apr 2009, 18:47

Imminent demolition of historic rollercoaster

Betjeman would have been appalled at the mindless vandalism taking place at Southport’s Pleasure Land where a historic Cyclone rollercoaster ─ an important survival of an increasingly rare type of historic amusement park structure ─ is being demolished. SAVE Britain’s Heritage, ever the champion not just of the academic but also of the popular heritage, is calling for demolition work at the unlisted park to stop and for English Heritage to be allowed on site to inspect the structure for listing. SAVE’s Secretary, Adam Wilkinson, said: ‘the unlisted 1937 Cyclone rollercoaster is, in our view, eminently worth preserving and has plenty more thrills to give willing punters. It is a beautiful and intricate structure, like a cat’s cradle, made from 100,000 ft of timber.’ The rollercoaster is one of only five remaining pre-war timber rollercoasters in the UK, and one of nine built before 1960 (of 127 that once existed, the majority were demolished in the 1960s and 1970s).


According to Southport’s local newspaper, hundreds of local people took part in a demonstration on 20 September outside the Southport site, undeterred by the attempts of security guards to smash protestors’ banners. One of those who took part was archaeologist Dr Rob Travis (Vice Chair of CBA Northwest), who said: ‘This ride is over seventy-five years-old and should be recorded prior to being pulled down. Better still, it should not be pulled down but kept as part of our heritage. Apart from being a unique structure it is also home to the Great Crested Newt!’


Peter Cromton, of the Save the Cyclone campaign, added: ‘Built to the design of Charles Page of the Pennsylvania Roller Company, this is a classic figure-of-eight with a maximum height of 60ft and a top speed of 42mph; structures such as this are of great interest in their own right, as well as holding great meaning for the many people whom they have thrilled and scared.’


That's from this rag bag organisation:

http://www.sal.org.uk/salon/index_html?id=483

The Society of Antiquaries.
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Postby kevinashe » 23 Apr 2009, 18:50

mrs a must have thought id left home the amount of time i spent on the computer,contacting people and sifting new information-unfortunately to no avail
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Postby EAS » 23 Apr 2009, 18:50

extracts from e-mail...


Dear Mr Haywood,

SAVE Britain’s Heritage is very concerned about the demolition works currently being undertaken at Pleasureland in Southport...(this part removed for confidentiality reasons)

To our understanding this demolition has proceeded without the required approval given the large-scale nature of the works. This has been confirmed by the Building Control Department of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council. It also remains unclear whether or not Health and Safety approval (also required on a demolition of this size) has been sought or given.

It is our view that this demolition is been carried out in a hasty and reckless manner. Given the inevitably hazardous nature of this demolition work it is vital that the Council give their approval before any further work is carried out.

We urgently request the Council intervene to halt demolition work at Pleasureland until all the relevant approvals have been checked, sought and granted.

While amusement park buildings may not have been taken very seriously as architecture until very recently we would like to point out that the Scenic Railway Rollercoaster in Margate is listed. Furthermore, Blackpool Council is seeking World Heritage designation for its unrivalled collection of entertainment buildings and structures.

It is our experience that all types of architecture come under greatest threat just as their importance begins to be recognised.

I hope you will take the time to take our considerations into account and we look forward to your reply on this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely



Marcus Binney MBE
President
SAVE Britain’s Heritage


Read also:
http://www.southportforums.com/forums/p ... ge=1&pp=30

It didn't stop there. We tried also to save the remaining historic rides by getting them listed. Sadly national beaurocracy takes too long...
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