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

Thrill-seeking at Marvel’s and Scarborough Zoo

Marvel’s Amusement Park and its predecessor Scarborough Zoo featured a number of rides for thrill-seeking visitors.

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Above: A Marvel’s Poster featuring a list of rides (from the author’s personal collection)

The National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield, holds an impressive collection of photographs online, featuring many of the rides that once operated at both amusement park and zoo.

For digital security reasons these images cannot be reproduced here, although relevant links will be provided where appropriate.

One of the most prominent rides on the Marvel’s/Zoo site was The Big Dipper, not to be confused with the famous Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Below: The better known Blackpool Big Dipper – a very different ride (source)

The Scarborough Big Dipper was a much smaller model, which opened in 1973, as part of Scarborough Zoo. Manufactured by Pinfari, this ride, unlike its larger wooden Blackpool namesake, was made from steel.

You can view another image of the ride here, courtesy of the NFA Digital Archive at the University of Sheffield.

In 1999 the roller coaster was moved to Knowsley Safari Park, where it became known as Viper and operated between 2000 and 2006. Afterwards it may have been sold to a Spanish company, although confirmation of this has been difficult to find.

Above: The Viper logo (source)

Below: The ride at Knowsley Safari Park (source)

There was also a junior roller coaster for children, known as the Go-Gator, which ran from 1973 until 1999, just like the Big Dipper.

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Above: Go-Gator ride (from the author’s personal collection)

An alternative view of the ride can be seen here at the NFA Digital Collection, University of Sheffield.

Another steel ride, manufactured by Wisdom, the Go-Gator featured a gently undulating track, traversed via carriages that resembled a cartoon alligator. There are still a number in operation today.

Above: The Go-Gator at nearby Flamingoland (source)

Scarborough Zoo also built up a collection of fairground staples, which its later reincarnation – Marvel’s – inherited. These included:

Waltzers

Dodgems

Paratroopers

Jets

Click the links to see photos from the NFA Digital Archive – images cannot be used or reproduced unless permission has been granted from the NFA at the University of Sheffield. Many more can be found by typing ‘Scarborough’ into the search box.

Some bore the name of Scarborough Zoo’s founder, Don Robinson. Others had more creative names, such as Super Cyclone Twist, and Stargazer.

 

Above: Cardboard copy of the Stargazer sign (source)

When Marvel’s replaced Scarborough Zoo in 1984, the attraction focused more on rides and thrill-seeking than ever before. It’s new name (Mr Marvel’s Showtime USA Fun Park – quite a mouthful!) and those of the rides suggested a desire to emulate the success of famous US theme parks. Indeed, when Don Robinson first developed the site back in the late 1960s, he recalls being inspired by Disneyland.

marvelsflyer2

Above: Another Marvel’s poster (from the author’s personal collection)

In line with this American-style re-branding, the chairlifts – once painted in different colours – were re-painted in a vivid red, and the publicity material featured a cartoon character dressed in the stars and stripes of the USA (see above).

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Above: The red chairlift (from the author’s personal collection).

Thanks to this timely makeover, the park survived for just over another decade. But as before, with the zoo, visitors were eventually lured away by bigger and more impressive theme parks. Attractions such as nearby Flamingoland boasted huge and terrifying roller coasters that dwarfed the humble Big Dipper at Marvel’s. Other North Bay attractions were also struggling at this time – when Marvel’s closed in 2002, neighbouring attractions Kinderland and Atlantis were both descending into financial difficulties, and would each close down several years later.

Does this then mean that the local funfair or amusement park is dead?

Visitors haven’t completely abandoned smaller attractions. Luna Park –  the fair near Scarborough Harbour – still survives, and travelling funfairs continue to exist. However, committed adrenaline junkies are drawn in greater numbers to bigger, scarier rides in regional parks (and those abroad); attractions better equipped to invest in the newest and most advanced rides. Nonetheless, the older rides offer a quaint nostalgia for adult passengers, and an introduction for younger riders, eager to begin their thrill-seeking adventures. Unfortunately Marvel’s can only offer memories now – the derelict site has lost its once exciting rides, and with them, its former identity.

Do you remember the rides at Marvel’s or the Zoo? Were you a thrill-seeker? Or did you prefer the gentler attractions at the amusement park? Please leave comments/corrections below.

Sources

National Fairground Archive

Roller Coaster Database

Joyland Books

Urbex Forums

Scarborough News