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Captive Flying Machines (100 Years): Flying for a Century
is hard to celebrate the centenary of the Captive Flying
Machines without losing perspective of what 100 years actually is.
century ago, a woman would have expected to have an average life
expectancy of just 45. Families would have between 15 to 20
babies, 95% of which were born at home. Many children suffered
from disease such as scurvy and rickets.
100 years ago, by whatever means, you could go to Blackpool,
walk the golden sands of South Shore and ride Maximís Flying
Machines for 3d.
this old-timer has seen many friends come and go.
Captive Flying Machines have seen the construction of Scenic
Railway, the Velvet Coaster, Rainbow Wheel, Virginia Reel,
Embertonís Fun House and the original Water Chute.
of these rides still exist. Many closed in due time due to the
incessant evolution of the Pleasure Beach, Embertonís Fun
House, however, was tragically destroyed by fire in 1991.
the comparable disposability of these other rides, rides like
the Whip (1914) and River Caves (1905) are still resident in the
Pleasure Beach, but now escape the gaze of Flying Machines
passengers due to the fact they have either moved within the
park (in the case of the Whip, which is now next to the Pepsi
Max Big One), or have been obscured by newer attractions since.
well as standing the test of time, the Captive Flying Machines
have proved themselves to be incredibly lucky, too. The Flying
Machines have survived World War I (1914-1918), World War
II (1939-1945) as well as the Fylde Coast tidal wave of 1927.
Captive Flying Machinesí elegant simplicity at first glance
gives few clues as to the age of this wonderful contraption. It
is humbling to think that one hundred years ago, people were
enjoying exactly the same ride, and that in those years the ride
has only seen minor cosmetic changes. The largest change the
ride has seen is the landscape around it.
the Flying Machines were on the golden sands of Blackpoolís
South Shore. Since then, the Pleasure Beach was paved with
railway sleepers, then concrete as land was reclaimed from the
sea and sea walls, tram lines and gardens were built in between
the Flying Machine and the sea.
the reclamation of the beach, the popularity of the Pleasure
Beach ballooned, and to cope with this extra popularity, so too
did the attractions in it.
Whilst the simple structure of the Flying Machines is now cast in the shadows of the Pepsi Max Big One and Ice Blast, these newer attractions further exemplify the age of the ride, moreover adding to the views as you fly amidst one of the most historical parks in the world.
Our timeline, below, should not only detail the rich history behind the Flying Machine, but also highlight just how old this wonderful ride actually is.
Underlined rides still operate in one form or another at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Dates marked by an asterisk (*) denote that this year has been approximated
1904 Maxim opens the Captive Flying Machines at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
1905 The 'Helter Skelter Lighthouse' opens adjacent to the Flying Machines
1907 The Scenic Railway opens and original Water Chute open (north east from Flying Machines)
1908 The Canadian Toboggan Slide opens adjacent to the Water Chute
1911 The Hall of Nonsense, a mirror maze, opens next to the Flying Machines
1912 The Rainbow Wheel opens, south west from the Flying Machines
1922 Noah's Ark and the Virginia Reel both open just north of the Flying Machines
1925 The Jack and Jill Slide, a massive high slide opens inland from the Flying Machines
1927 Bingle & Bob, an amusement park for children opens next to the Flying Machines
1934 Joseph Emberton's Funhouse opens inland from the Flying Machines
1935 Grand National opens just South of the Flying Machines. Tumble Bug also opens
1936 A Ferris Wheel opens south of the Flying Machines, just opposite the Grand National
1938 A second Ferris Wheel opens, adjacent to the first; south of the Flying Machines
1959 The Derby Racers open, inland from the Flying Machines, south of the Fun House
1960 The Cableway opens, running between the Fun House and Flying Machines
1968 The Monster opens where Tumble Bug was. Tumble Bug is moved elsewhere
1979 A new Water Chute ride opens, on the site of the original ride NE of the Flying Machines
1982 The Virginia Reel is removed
1983* A Huss Ranger opens on the Virginia Reel site
1986 Tidal Wave, a Huss Pirate Ship opens between the Fun House and Water Chute
1987* Ranger is replaced by Rainbow. Fodi's Fun House (*) opens in Cableway building
1991 The Funhouse is destroyed by fire. Superdome Circus (now Globe) replaces Rainbow
1994 Big One opens, running between the Irish Sea and the Flying Machines
1995 Egg Scrambler (Twist) moves to the Ice Blast site north of Flying Machines
1997 Playstation: The Ride (now Ice Blast) opens on the site just to the North of Flying Machines
2000 Valhalla opens on the site of the Fun House