Harbour Top Amusements

Charlie Walker's Harbour Top Amusements was a feature of Bridlington seafront from the 1960s, and was operated by Charlie and his son, the late Brian Walker. Brian's son, Wes, remembers the amusements fondly:

“It was a well-run operation. During the summertime of seven days a week unbroken for a solid half year, my father would venture down to open up at around a quarter-to-ten, joined by my mother an hour later. My mother still describes it as ‘manic’; one used to serve bingo prizes from the foot of the green-tiled stone steps that led upstairs, and in quick succession you had to run back and forth up the staircase to the midway landing stockroom. The last game commenced at elevenish, and by the time they had cashed up, it was half-past midnight, totalling up in excess of a fourteen hour day.”

Throughout the winter, the Harbour Top Amusements stayed open seven days a week, but worked out shorter hours through opening in the afternoons only. Wes remembers one particular winter event at Harbour Top:

“At the Harbour Top Amusements just after Christmastime, you would usually find my father up a ladder tending to the property while the others were tucked up. He ventured up to the top of the elevation in the fury of gales and reached the peak with one foot perched precariously on a windowsill, the other with toes curled around the step of a very tall ladder. With one mighty blast, the ladder blew from under him, sending it crashing into Snaps across the road, and leaving him hanging by his fingertips. His mother, Joan - a strong woman, grabbed him in from the top window. He should have been used to it. An enormous chap, he used to scale that drainpipe and contort his large frame through a single window pane by peeling away the putty since, with an appetite like his, he never gave it chance to set!”

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Charles and Joan Walker of Harbour Top Amusements at a Showman’s Guild of Great Britain event in London, circa 1955. Photograph: Wes Walker

Brian Walker in early summer 1978. Photograph: Wes Walker

Published by:
Skelter Publishing LLP
© 2006

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