Being a seaside resort, Rhyl had two funfairs up until the late sixties. The were both places of miracles and wonder.
The upper one was called Ocean Beach and, facing the sea, was a boisterous, windy and breathtaking affair!
The lower one was centred on the Marine Lake and featured the RMR miniature railway powered by four small gauge steam engines. There were stalls and merry-go-rounds; small cars driven on a wooden rack; a carousel; an electric car racing track; a Tunnel of Love; a Hall of Mirrors; an indoor horse riding track and a rickety wooden Roller Coaster which is shown in this film.
When all my family, aunties, uncles and cousins, presided over by my Nain Conway went to the fairs on our traditional Easter Monday visit, we were given two shillings and sixpence each for rides.
Suffering terribly from vertigo, I had the indignity to pretend that I was saving my money for the dodgems, whilst everyone else went on the wooden roller coaster. I never heard of an accident there but the structure never gave me any confidence as the cars shuddered around it as what, to me, seemed like amazing speed. One year I was coaxed on to it, against my better judgment, by shouts of “chicken” from my younger cousins.
The terror of that ride is etched in my memory … the ratcheting up of the flimsy wooden car up the ridiculously angled incline, the dilapidated state of the track and safety fencing with its rot and flaking paint! The brief hiatus as the car was released from the metal cable and all went silent and then the rumble of the wheels as gravity took over to propel us around initial corner and launch us into a headlong rush around a mad series of dives and turns. The whole ride shaking and vibrating with our impetus. My cousins, hands in the air screaming and me hanging on with white knuckles to the gaudily coloured safety rail.
Despite the horrendous speed, it took an eternity for the ride to eventually come to a stop and for us to be ejected from the car by the next load of thrill seekers. I was still shaking when we went to Sidolis for our customary ice cream a couple of hours later!
If you think I an over egging this story, the log flume which can be seen in the background in this short film was taken down after a fatal accident early in the twentieth century.
My dad always held the view that you shouldn’t go to the fair on the first day of the new season as they were using the customers to test the rides!
Rhyl Marine Lake Roller Coaster