Repairs and Maintenance

Local builder Jim Dodgson remembers the continuous repairs on the early Joyland buildings:

“I remember many bank holidays, when Joyland was packed with holidaymakers. Often it would be pouring down with rain, and leaks would spring up in the roofs. I made Joyland water tight. Charlotte Brown was worried that there would be a short circuit and power would be lost. This would have resulted in the entire place closing down, meaning the loss of potential takings for the weekend. Or worse, there could have been a fire, or somebody could have been hurt.”

Most of the work that was carried out on the huge collection of buildings that made up the Joyland complex was undertaken by Joyland’s own staff, many of whom were experienced workmen with a large range of skills. This usually paid off, except on one occasion when Joyland came close to following its sister arcade Pleasureland and going up in smoke.

On this occasion, the staff were re-tarring the Dodgem roof. Alongside the Dodgem roof was a slate roof, believed to originate from the original stables that were on the site prior to it becoming part of Joyland (this became known as ‘the Passage’ by staff). The mechanics were melting the tar in a bucket, and went for a tea break. Suddenly someone shouted “Fire”, and the mechanics ran out of the workshop to find the tar bucket on fire, next to the wooden Dodgem roof supports. The fire was put out before it had spread to the Dodgem structure, but the men all agreed it was a close call.

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Deleted Photograph: Demolition works adjacent to Joyland (by then called The Forum) in preparation for the construction of the new Wetherspoons pub in 1998 briefly revealed the almost ramshackle collection of buildings that made up the complex.  Photograph: Nick Laister

Published by:
Skelter Publishing LLP
© 2006

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