Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

New book examines Pleasure Beach’s role in social history

There’s a new book available on Blackpool Pleasure Beach and it’s written from a different perspective than other tomes on the much-loved British park.

Riding on Rainbows: Blackpool Pleasure Beach and its Place in British Popular Culture is the work seaside resort and popular culture historian John K Walton and examines why the park has been so successful over such a long period, when rival seaside attractions have faltered and fallen by the wayside.

Riding on Rainbows examines the experiences of the park’s visitors and workforce as well as the history of the rides, and pays sustained interest in the planning and design of the park.

“Blackpool Pleasure Beach is Britain’s most popular tourist attraction, and, like Blackpool as a whole, it is increasingly visible internationally,” says the author. “As a family-run business that has survived and prospered through three generations and is now beginning its fourth, it has kept a strong and distinctive ‘personality’ and a loyal, if critical, following.

Walton believes the book will appeal equally to serious historians and general readers: “As the author of previous histories of the fish and chip trade and of Blackpool, I am used to criticisms from academics who regard such subjects as trivial and insignificant. In fact the history of ‘popular culture’ and ‘everyday life’, including holidays and entertainment, is central to our understanding of the present and the future through the past.”

John K Walton is just about to take up a new role as professor of social history at the Institute for Northern Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University in England, having performed a similar duty for many years at the University of Central Lancashire.

His book on the Pleasure Beach book features 44 photographs of the park, its visitors and its workers, most of which have never before been published. It is available from

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