The World Of Holograms: A Proper Introduction

The World Of Holograms arrived in Scarborough in 1985 – the same year in which Kinderland opened. Only one year earlier Scarborough Zoo had been rebranded as Marvel’s, and the North Bay Bathing Pool had been transformed into Waterscene. This was an exciting time to holiday in the seaside town, as new and existing attractions competed for visitors.

*All quotes and images in this post were kindly donated by Carl Racey*

[The World of Holograms] was conceived and run by Carl & Julia Racey from Hull ( Laser Light Image, Hull). Carl & Julia ran this exhibision from 1985 to 1991 when it was sold (in part) to Jim Corrigan, who ran it with his staff for about four more years. It was then sold on to a company in Keswick who exhibited at Lake Windermere.

Located on Foreshore Road, in the same building as Corrigan’s Amusements (now Coney Island Amusements), the World of Holograms boasted an impressive collection of intriguing optical illusions, and, as will soon be revealed, some very unusual live performances.

Above: Original poster for the attraction

Below: The opening year, in 1985

In Carl’s words:

The corner of Corrigan’s Arcade and the entrance to the Hologram Show. This was the first year 1985. The following year the entrance was made bigger, as the exhibition proved very popular, attracting around 50,000 visitors each year.

It is impossible to talk about the World of Holograms, however, without mentioning two of the attraction’s most vibrant and engaging live performers.

Above: Nick and Robert

Nick Hardy and Robert Horwell played various roles, set to quite loud music which could be right heard across the beach. Soon attracted the crowds.

Below: Some of the crowds gathering on Foreshore Road to see Nick and Rob perform

Indeed, these wacky performances were incredibly popular:

This turned out to be a traffic stopping event performed every hour in the summer season, until the police asked it to be stopped due to traffic problems below. Two separate rubber necking incidents with cars crashing brought this about but did last for most of July and August 1985.

Below: Mad professor and his robot (aka Nick and Rob) performing

Above: The two performers at the Amazing World Of Holograms (July 1985)

Teaming up live action with light displays was a clever idea, and no doubt both Mad Professor and Robot did much to bring visitors into the attraction, which spent a number of years entertaining crowds in Scarborough.

A huge thank you to Carl, who kindly shared all the images and information (see them in their original context on the Stories From Scarborough Facebook Page) – he and Julia Racey launched and ran attraction, so we have them to thank for this part of Scarborough’s attraction history!

You can see a video of the World of Holograms here, and you can click on the links below to find out more about the history of the building it was located in:

Before The World Of Holograms

From Turkey To India – Via Scarborough

Do you remember the World Of Holograms? If so please do comment here or on the Facebook Page – pictures and memories are very welcome!

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Before The World Of Holograms

The World of Holograms was an attraction located in the upstairs gallery at Corrigan’s Amusements (now Coney Island Amusements) in Scarborough. There is very little information about it – minimal evidence of its operation spans across the late 1980s and early 1990s, although exactly when and for how long it was open have yet to be uncovered by Stories From Scarborough.

Above: Inside the World of Holograms (source)

The building that housed the attraction is distinctive. The exotic architectural details and suggested tower serve as reminders of its former status – it was once a Turkish Baths. You can view a picture of what it once looked like by visiting this link.

Below: The Turkish Baths can be seen in the centre of this image from the early 1900s – note the prominent tower (from the author’s collection)

foreshore

Known as Bland’s Cliff Turkish Baths, the bathing facilities were created by the Scarborough Public Bath Company and were open between 6am and 10pm daily, except on Sundays. They first opened in 1859 and closed in 1931. Visitors paid 6d. to swim in a large seawater pool, with numerous personal bathing options added in subsequent years, including vapour baths, showers of various kinds and freshwater alternatives. All incurred an additional charge, and access was directly from the beach – the foreshore road did not exist when the baths first opened (it was built in 1879).

You can view an even earlier picture of the baths here.

Turkish baths were popular in Victorian Britain, as was the appropriation of Oriental architecture (also found in Scarborough’s spectacular underground aquarium). The baths were designed to cleanse and relax visitors, who would immerse themselves in seawater, and take advantage of the various treatments on offer. The exotic, otherworldly surroundings emulated a temple-like atmosphere, a nod perhaps to the religious roots of Turkish bathing, and the notion of spiritual (as well as physical, and emotional) cleansing and purity.

[The building] brought more than a touch of the mystic East to Scarborough’s sea front, with its Moorish arches, red-and-white brickwork, and mosque-like water tower crowned with a dome.

(source)

Like many of Scarborough’s former attractions, the baths eventually succumbed to financial losses, and were sold first in 1904. They operated under a different company until 1931. Two years earlier the Scarborough Corporation had opened a Turkish baths at nearby Londesborough House, and Scarborough offered a range of bathing options and alternative entertainments, which perhaps eclipsed the Bland’s Cliff Baths. Indeed, such attractions significantly declined in popularity as the twentieth century unfolded, and only a handful of original Turkish baths remain in England today, one of which is located in Harrogate. A glimpse at the stunning interior hints at what Scarborough’s own equivalent might once have looked like. Perhaps.

Above: A lounge area at Harrogate’s Turkish baths (source)

What happens next is somewhat unclear – the building was altered on numerous occasions, and much of the ornamental detail was lost in favour of a simpler design. The tower in particular was severely diminished. During the latter part of the twentieth century, the baths were taken over by the Corrigan family, who established a small empire of amusement sites and fairgrounds in Yorkshire. Initially working as travelling showmen, Jimmy and Albert Corrigan settled in Scarborough during the 1950s – the former acquired the Turkish Baths as well as founding the Luna Park fairground site on the seafront.

Above: Luna Park – see below for image credit (source)

It was during the Corrigan tenure that the World of Holograms made its debut. Above the noisy chaos of the slot machines downstairs, visitors could marvel at optical illusions and light displays on the second floor. Rumour has it that live action was also involved at one point.

As is the case with many attractions in Scarborough, documentation is frequently located in personal, rather than public collections. This is why each article on this site is accompanied by an appeal for information and images. There is only so much available in public collections, so if you know anything or have any kind of documentation (leaflets, tickets, images), please get in touch. You don’t even have to share anything publicly – even a small piece of information would help.

Although the World of Holograms has been and gone, its home still remains as an amusements site. The Corrigan tenure ended in 2008, and the building was sold to Stade Developments – a company based in Hastings. Prior to being sold the name had changed from Corrigan’s Amusements to Coney Island – the same name as a Brooklyn beach destination in New York, USA. Coincidentally, the real life Coney Island also has a Luna Park fairground attraction, although the shared names are undoubtedly an intentional emulation.

Just as Marvel’s Amusement Park (and indeed, its predecessor Scarborough Zoo) sought to emulate all things American (particularly Disneyland), it seems that this is a continuing trend. Note that the copying of Eastern styles seems to have been firmly left behind in the Victorian era.

Above: Today’s Coney Island – see below for image credits (source)

Scarborough’s Coney Island is still an amusements attraction, but the building is a shadow of its former self, and neither interior nor exterior bear much resemblance to the imposing (and intricate) temple-like bathing house that once graced the sandy foreshore. The World of Holograms was but a flicker in this long history – the lack of available evidence surrounding its existence makes one wonder how many other attractions have vanished without a trace.

Sources & Credits

Luna Park Image – © Copyright Rob Newman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Coney Island Image – © Copyright Pauline E and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Victorian Turkish Baths

Turkish Bathing Culture

Scarborough News Article

Turkish Bath

Site Planning Proposal

Have You Ever Been To…?

After requests from several readers, Stories From Scarborough is aiming to add some new attractions to its growing list. In order to do this effectively, the project needs your help!

Have you ever been to, or do you know anything about the following former attractions:

1) The Corner Cafe

Scarborough’s Corner Cafe opened on June 5th, 1925. It was opened by the then Mayoress. Located on the corner between Peasholm Gap and the North Sands, there couldn’t be a more suitable place for a cafe during the busy summer season.

cornercafe2

Above: The early days of the Corner Cafe (from the author’s collection)

In 1967 it hit the news courtesy of an incredible miniature railway exhibition that consisted of 100 trains, an entire mile of track, 8000 tiny people (models naturally!) and a whole array of landscapes based on real and imaginary places. Designed by Mr Bertram Otto it cost £6000 to build and attracted 100,000 visitors over the first summer season on display. Following this success the cafe became a popular club venue, hosting live music and entertainment. Singers, acrobats and folk groups all joined the bill, and the venue had a reputation for showcasing local talent as well as bigger names. It was demolished in 2007 and replaced with apartments and shops, although the cafe itself closed a number of years earlier.

2) Scalby Mills Amusements

In 1963 local amusements king Albert Corrigan engineered the Scalby Mills Development – which involved the creation of various family-friendly attractions, including a cafe, paddling pool and astroslide. The complex was built at the far end of Scarborough’s North Sands.

Above: Entertainment for all at Scalby Mills (source)

This attraction required the land to be levelled, and in the process Scarborough lost local landmark Monkey Island, and the North Bay (Miniature) Railway terminus changed accordingly. However, the site was once again developed to make way for today’s Sea Life Centre, which opened in 1991, and remains a popular attraction to this day.

3) The World Of Holograms

Located upstairs in Corrigans Amusements (South Bay seafront), this bizarre attraction featured lighting and visual illusions.

Above: The World of Holograms in 1992, donated by Leonie (source)

Stories From Scarborough has thus far been unable to establish the dates of operation for this attraction, or indeed any substantial amount of information about it.

4) Peasholm Park Tree Walk

A popular summer evening event at Peasholm Park, the Tree Walk, or Tree Walk Wonderland as it was otherwise known opened in 1953 at the cost of £7,000.

It was the most amazing place to visit. On the island in Peasholm Park. Only able to visit at night. Had to pay to cross the bridge, high bridge walks amongst the trees and illuminated scenes, some moving. It was magical as a child. We were allowed to visit on our last night before going home, if we had been good.

A reader’s memory (source)

This attraction enjoyed great success, particularly in the 1960s and 70s, but eventually closed in 1990. It took visitors up onto the island at the centre of Peasholm Lake where they could view a number of illuminated displays. Even the waterfall had its own set of coloured lights.

Above: Some of the illuminations; from a distance (source)

5) The Madhouse

A wacky attraction on the seafront, on the South Side, where visitors could confront backwards escalators, wobbly floors and a whole range of hilarious obstacles. Its signage was red and yellow. The Madhouse caused controversy in 1981 by displaying a waxwork model of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe – according to the Scarborough News, this attracted many complaints. Dates of opening and closure have so far eluded Stories From Scarborough.

The inclusion of these attractions in the project will depend upon the availability of information and sources. This is where you, the readers can really help. No matter how vague or uncertain the memory, even if you recall a snippet or a single sentence, please send it in. Every lead is potentially helpful, especially given that many of these attractions are not very well documented.

The information on this page comes from readers and old newspaper articles in the Scarborough Room at Scarborough Library.