Butlins Amusement Parks Skegness

Thrills form the keynote of the amusement fare which will be available for holiday makers at Skegness when Mr. William Butlin’s New Amusement Parks open for Easter.

At the present time there are two amusement parks under Mr. Butlin’s proprietorship. One is situated just north of the Bathing Pool, opened for the first time last year, and is known as the New Amusement Park. The other, on the west side of the North Parade, is the original park occupied by Mr. Butlin, and is now known as the Jungle Amusement Park.

Butlins Jungle Amusement Park Skegness
Butlins Jungle Amusement Park Skegness

This preliminary explanation will serve to distinguish the two parks when the various attractions which they contain are described.

Reference will first be made to the Jungle Amusement Park, for this contains this year one of the most spectacular shows which Mr. Butlin has ever presented in Skegness. It is the show performed by the Death Riders.


The Death Riders are led by Slim Stamford, a prominent speedway rider who has performed at Luna Park, Berlin, and also at several of the Midland speedways. He is supported by Bob Lang and Mickey Walker, who are described as well-known Australian riders, and by Miss Zetta Hills, who has the distinction of being the first lady to water-cycle across the English Channel.

A special demonstration of part of the on which the ride is performed is in the sentatives yesterday (Tuesday). The track Death Ride was given before Press in the shape of a cylinder, aproximately 30 feet in diameter, and with the lower edge bevelled to meet a small circular area which forms the floor of the arena. The cylinder walls are about 30 feet high, and the spectators are accomodated on a platform outside and just below the upper edge, protection for them being afforded by the edge itself and the being edge being the guard of tightly stretched wire rope.

The demonstration was given by Slim Stamford, who commenced by riding his motorcycle on to the bevel of the track and making one or two leisurely circuits. Then he opened out and climbed on to the perpendicular wall, his head, as he rode, pointing to the centre of the cylinder. Accelerating rapidly, he shot up to the topmost edge of the track and hurtled round with his right knee almost touching the wire guard, the closeness of the rider to the spectators combined with the roar of the exhaust in the confined space, accentuating the impression of speed in mid-air.


A further thrill was provided when Stamford removed his hands from the bars and rode a dozen circuits “hands-off.” Riding “side-saddle,” and in similar unusual positions were stunts performed before the daring rider slowed down and assumed a vertical position at the bottom of the track after an exceedingly impressive demonstration.

This, however, forms only one part of the show, and when it is performed before the general public at Easter, three riders will take the track at one time. The spectacle of them passing and re-passing one another at varying speeds promises to be decidedly thrilling. In short, it may be stated that the performance, of “The Death Riders” affords the maximum of thrills with complete safety to the spectators, and is certainly a novelty which lovers of the spectacular should not miss on any account.


Butlin’s famous “Thriller” remains in the Jungle Park, supported, in ‘addition to the numerous side-shows, by a new and extremely laughable novelty named the “Football-Biff.” The Thriller may justly be termed famous, for it is the identical ride which Miss Viola Tree referred to in the “Sunday Dispatch last January when describing her impressions at Olympia. Miss Tree was accompanied on the “Thriller” by a number of Society people, and Mr. Ramsay MacDonald was one of those present, though history does not record whether he patronised the “Thriller” or not. After the close of the Olympia Carnival, the “Thriller” was dismantled, and conveyed by the L.N.E.R. on a special train to Skegness for re-erection.

The New Amusement Park, i.e. the one near the Bathing Pool, is being completely transformed, and differs from its last year’s lay-out in containing a number of attractive rides. One of these, known as the. “Hey-Day” is quite new, there only being one other in the country. Another, known as the “Caterpillar,” was, we believe, a Wembley favourite, and is also an uncommon “Ride,” there being only three others operating in the English amusement sphere. Their particular fascinations will soon be discovered by patrons during the Easter week-end.


What is actually the largest Dodgem track in the United Kingdom occupies the centre of the New Park. It can easily accomodate 60 cars at one time, and its vast roof area is lighted by no fewer than 5,000 electric lamps. In view of the exceptional popularity of the small Dodgem tracks which were formerly on the North Parade, this provision of vastly increased facilities will doubtless be greatly appreciated by Mr. Butlin’s patrons.

The new Dodgem cars, too, are a great improvement on their predecessors. They incorporate front-wheel drive and reverse action, and the increased scope for “dodging” which these new features present can be well imagined. Incidentally, it may be I mentioned that Mr. Butlin interviewed representatives of the Dodgem Corporation, of Massachusetts, U.S.A., in London early in the year, and they entrusted him with the sole agency of their products for the United Kingdom and Ireland. There is no British equivalent, we understand, of the Dodgem ride, but practically the whole of the other rides” installed by Mr. Butlin are entirely of British manufacture.


There are, of course, innumerable subsidary attractions in the New Park, and over 90 per cent, of the Council’s old tenants are now accomodated therein. Under their contracts they are provided with water, gas and electric current, and given many facilities distinctly helpful to their buisnesses. Among them is Mr. A. Dennis, Skegness’s Skee-Ball “King,” and he is adding to the opportunities of Skee-Ball devotees by the provision of six new tables.

In order to cope with the increased demand for current which the incorporation of so many new enterprises involves. Mr. Butlin has increased his plant by the addition of two further 50 h.p. Blackstone generating sets.The extensions to the new park have been a considerable factor in minimising unemployment locally. Since Christmas over 60 local men have been employed almost continuously on its reconstruction. A sum of over £1,700 has been expended solely with local traders and merchants for materials, etc., and including the wage bill the total amount of money which this enterprise has put in circulation in Skegness is in the neighbourhood of £3,000. A goodly sum for the winter time.

At the present moment, progress is being made with the wall which will ultimately enclose the New Amusement Park, with the exception of the entrances. Over 15 feet in height, it is constructed in reinforced concrete to imitate cliff scenery, with real rock plants growing in earthy beds in the artificial ledges. Harmonising as it does with the style carried out by the Surveyor at the Boating Lake extension, it will do a great deal to improve the. outside appearance of the New Amusement Park.



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