Clacton Pier During the 70s and 80s

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Clacton Pier During the 70s and 80s

Postby Graeme » 21 Mar 2004, 15:37

Does anyone know where I can see photographs of Clacton Pier during the 70s and 80s? I was born in 1978 and so this is the era in which I spent my childhood there. Unfortunately, it may be an era that just wasn't recorded. Considering the internet has been going for a long time now, I'm coming to the conclusion that the photos just aren't out there. I only have one myself, and it's of me on a 10p ride.

I would love to see the facades again, particularly:

Safari Ghost Train (now an arcade; used to face the Steel Stella/Whirlwind site)
Rifle Range (was on right-hand side as you entered the pier)
Ghost Train (during 80s, was on the left-hand side, approximately where the aquarium is now)

I can only find pictures of Clacton during eras before that. To see views of this era would really refresh my memories. Any help very much appreciated.
Graeme
 
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Postby Gary » 21 Mar 2004, 20:22

Graeme, the only images I can find are not specifically of the period you want and you may have already seen them..

Anyways..try here:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=clacton+pier++&btnG=Google+Search
Please pass through the turnstiles if you are riding again.
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Postby Graeme » 21 Mar 2004, 22:05

Thanks Gary. I've had fun browsing through them, and you've brought to my attention a function of Google that I didn't know about. I have the feeling this is going to take an awful lot of research, so I'll get back here over the next few weeks if I find anything.

Incidentally, I noticed that maths site that has a picture of the pier asks people to email them with pictures of the killer whales. It's this era (maybe just before) that I'm particularly interested in, so I wonder if they had any feedback...?

Ah, if not pictures, I'd love to hear memories from people who saw and experienced the same things as me.

Has anyone here ridden the Steel Stella? It burnt down in 1973, so I only missed it by five years.
Graeme
 
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Postby Graeme » 26 Mar 2004, 00:59

Phew, I'm finding it very hard going! I have just found this photo of the Whirlwind coaster, though: http://www.xep01.dial.pipex.com/uk.htm
It goes with one other pic I have of it, which I scanned from a brochure in my library's local history section.

Oh, how I'd love to zoom in further into the picture and see the sights.

I'm sure the Pier owners in the 70s and 80s must have documented their rides, especially upon building them or dismantling them. Trouble is, I'm not really placed to contact them. I think to fully research this, I'd need to set up a website, contact various Pier owners, go on Look East/Anglia News etc!
Graeme
 
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Postby Bob » 03 Apr 2005, 15:06

Graeme Cassidy wrote:Phew, I'm finding it very hard going! I have just found this photo of the Whirlwind coaster, though: http://www.xep01.dial.pipex.com/uk.htm
It goes with one other pic I have of it, which I scanned from a brochure in my library's local history section.

Oh, how I'd love to zoom in further into the picture and see the sights.

I'm sure the Pier owners in the 70s and 80s must have documented their rides, especially upon building them or dismantling them. Trouble is, I'm not really placed to contact them. I think to fully research this, I'd need to set up a website, contact various Pier owners, go on Look East/Anglia News etc!



Most of those rides you mention had been there a very long time. They were probably there in the Sixties and even possibly the fifties.
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Postby Graeme » 04 Apr 2005, 22:17

Bob wrote:Most of those rides you mention had been there a very long time. They were probably there in the Sixties and even possibly the fifties.


I am quite familiar with the 1950s/60s and 1980s now. In the 50s/60s, there was the Steel Stella (of course) and, next to it, a Ghost Train in its own building. These were both on the portion of the Pier that juts out to the right, and took up roughly half the width of that each.

In the early-/mid-80s, we had Whirlwind on the Steel Stella site and a Ghost train over on the left by the Dodgems. The Dodgems are still there; the front of the Ghost Train was what is now the front of the Aquarium.

The era I'm most interested in is 1978 onwards. Like you suggest, I probably caught the tail end of a much longer era. I assume the Safari Ghost Train, for instance, lasted roughly 1970-1980. I went in the arcade that used to house this ride yesterday!
Graeme
 
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Postby Stu Simms » 07 Aug 2005, 02:07

Nice to see the photo of the pier with the whirlwind coaster set up, it's a shame to think that the ride is currently rusting in a field, as you can see from the photographs on rcdb.com

the whirlwinds arn't bad little rides, they certainly pack a punch into the little footprint they use, which makes a great choice of ride for venues, such as clacton pier where space is a premium, it's a shame there isn't a few more about
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Postby dirkthedaring71 » 21 Sep 2008, 22:13

Sadly i don't have any photos but i do have some memories. The ghost train you are refering to was called ghost safari and the cars are to this day still in storage in the former jolly roger at the end of the pier. Out of all the rides on the pier i think this was my favourite at the time. I distinctly remember one Saturday where some drunken blokes got out of the cars in the ghost safari and hid, then they would jump out at people as they came through. The police eventually had to go in the ride to chuck them out. I also remember that an amusing thing to do at the time was to go n the ride with 3 chums and grab on to the front bar of the car and try and 'pull a wheelie' which would lift the guiding front wheels away from the track and cause us to be stranded inside. The attendant would have to switch all the lights on and come in and rescue us.

The replacement ghost train was called the haunted dungeon which had a torture chamber theme painted on the front. Similar sort of fun was had as with the previous ride :) but we would also go on the ride singularly and come out again all sitting in one car. It was brilliant fun and i swear we used to laugh so much it was untrue.

Another ghostie ride that scared the !*@% out of me was the 'Chamber of Horrors' which was at the back of the Pavillion. If you are feeling naughty then you can climb on the roof of the pavillion and get a great view of it as it is still there depsite it closing over 20 years ago. The facade has sadly been taken down but the inside is still standing.

Back on the pier i also enjoyed the chair lift that started near the former big wheel site and continued to the Jolly Roger and then returned. To the left of this was a big bumpy slide that blew into the sea with the mega wind of the late 80's. When it was there a rainy day was the best day to ride as you wouyld pick up so much speed you could slide another 30 or so feet of the end of the slide, eventually ending up at the big wheel.




One of my fondest memories was when i used to spend every saturday on the pier with my dad just listening to the audio from ghost safari -too scared to actually go on it- and then playing galaxian or pacman in the arcades :)
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Postby Graeme » 22 Sep 2008, 18:58

This is superb stuff and I have to thank Dirk the Daring greatly. It's completing so many bits of the jigsaw for me.
Graeme
 
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Photos of the pier

Postby DolphinBoy » 26 Oct 2008, 10:37

Hi,
I have some old photos of the pier from the 70s/80s as I am researching the Whales & Dolphins on Clacton Pier from that era.
Photos are very hard to get hold of & I am waiting for some hopefully from the former owners of the pier & the guy who owned the dolphins.
I have started a page on my website with the info I have at the moment. @ http://www.dolphin-art.co.uk/Pages/clactondolphins%20page.html

I will dig out some photos of the "Chamber of Horrors", my friend painted the mural on the front of it and I often visited him while he was working on it.
If any one has or knows anyboby with photos of the dolphins please contact me.
Thanks.
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footage

Postby dirkthedaring71 » 31 Oct 2008, 08:08

Hi,
i have been in contact with the east anglia film archive at the UEA who have a fair amount of footage from clacton pier. Footage can be viewed at the UEA or you can obtain a copy from anglia tv.I currently have a request going through for all clacton pier footage from 1971 to 1980. I will let you know when i receive it.
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Postby dirkthedaring71 » 15 Nov 2008, 08:55

Just got an email from anglia tv about the footage of clacton pier. The cost? £160 for a copy on dvd!!!! I would love to see it but i draw the line at those prices :) My only hope is a trip to the east anglian film archive.
dirkthedaring71
 
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Pricey!!!!

Postby DolphinBoy » 15 Nov 2008, 11:43

Hi dirkthedaring71
£160!!!!! Thats alot of money for a DVD copy, I am guessing it will be minutes rather than hours! Does that price include the right to do what you want with it?
I am looking for whale & dolphin clips from the pier on the anglia site, some of them are £299 each & some are 30 secs long!
Not too bad price for a TV company but for us want it for personal research, its abit unfair!
Good luck with the east anglian film archive.
:D
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Postby dirkthedaring71 » 20 Nov 2008, 07:55

Yes it does give you the right to do what you want with it's still a rip off. That cost relates to one piece of footage. Considering i want 5 clips that equals a lot of cash. Any luck on finding those Cahmber of Horrors photo's?
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Love it!

Postby Snowball » 29 Jan 2009, 17:22

Hello all ... absolutely loved reading all the posts. Aaaah, the memories came flooding back!

I, like the rest of you it seems, spent many a happy day or two at the seaside in Clacton, enjoying the delights of the pier but also the coffee shop up the steps opposite the pier which housed that huge multi-lane Slot-racing/Scalextrics track (i.e if you are facing away from the entrance to the pier, it would have been straight ahead and up the stairs which led to the left). Haven't been to Clacton since the late 90's but I remember the arcade which also sat opposite the pier (on the other side from the scalextric coffee shop place!) which still had many of the old arcade machines (the penny or two pence operated mechanical jobbies) still in operational working order. What fun!!

My era would also have been from the late 70's through late 80's ... I can recall the following from the layout of the pier:

- Go through main entrance to pier after paying the measly entrance fee :)

start on the left hand side firstly:
- to the left (after some toilets) was a mirror maze (under roof) -
- slightly passed the mirror maze was a fenced in area which I believe was used for skating or such like at one time (under roof)
- further along was the dodge 'ems (superb!) (under roof)
- after that, the much beloved ghost train I think (under roof)
- followed by the Killer Whale/Marina area (outside)
- followed by the Big Wheel (outside ... obviously)

So, back to the entrance again and from the right this time:
- hmmm, amusement arcade if I'm not mistaken, food and beverages etc (under roof)
- the rifle range was also in there I think
- can't remember much else apart from the arcade machines and what not ...
- then outside and faced with the original yellow corkscrew-like roller coaster (maybe even a red roller-coaster might have been in its place when I first visited the pier - can't be certain though)
- after the roller coaster were a set of smaller rides (still on the right of the pier as if you were going out to sea), I believe one of these was the caterpillar (a low carriage ride which you were covered up by a green tarpaulin or such like whilst the ride went in a circular motion on a slightly up-and-down style track) ... kind fun

Now I think we've reached as far as the circus building near the end of the pier

- to the left of the pier was a circular spinning carriage ride with pea green umbrella-topped carriages which were attached to the outer edge of a large rotating disc. U kinda get the idea ... as it went faster the ride would pivot and raise the carriages into the air whilst spinning round. remember the bar of the carriage (which locks in the riders) coming down on the top of my head whilst trying to board and having to be taken to their first aid hut for bandages ... still didn't spoil all the fun of the fair though ;-)

Anyway, I'm certain to have missed bits and pieces but fortunately I have a heap of photos from when I was a nipper and have a fair few of the pier. Will have to dig 'em out and scan 'em in.

Keep sharing the memories all ... would love to hear more from you guys!

Chaaaaaaaaars. :lol:
Snowball
 
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