The world-famous snails and the Tyrolean tub twist are two of the rides that can be found at Great Yarmouth’s premier children’s fun park. The remainder of the rides consist of a pirate ship, major orbit, balloon wheel, and skydiver. The massive toy town mountain features the spook express kiddie coaster, jet cars, and neptune’s kingdom undersea fantasy ride.
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Since its inception in 1949, the Cole family has been the sole proprietors of and operators at Joyland.
Entrepreneur in the field of engineering Horace Cole designed the now-famous Snails and the now-unique Tyrolean Tubs, both of which were manufactured at the family engineering works called H Cole and Co., which was located on Steam Mill Lane in Great Yarmouth.
Daisy Wilson, Horace’s wife, came from a long line of well-known travelling showmen, and Horace had married into that family. Horace was motivated to design Joyland, the amusement park for children that he created as a result of his background and the influences that she had on him.
It is a wonderful tribute to Horace that both the Snails and the Tubs are still in operation today and continue to be popular with people of all ages.
After Frank Cole, the eldest son, passed away in 1973, his younger brother, Rueben, who was by this time also in charge of the family engineering company, took over as manager of the amusement park. Frank Cole had been the park’s manager from its inception until his untimely death. Both Daisy and Horace had passed away by that time as well.
Michael Cole (Frank’s son), Margaret Cole (Rueben’s daughter), and David Cole (Henry’s son) are the current owners of Joyland. After Rueben Cole passed away in the late 1980s, Joyland was passed down to the third generation of the Cole family.
Since Michael Sreldest .’s son, Michael Jr., began working for the company a year ago, it is possible that the fourth generation will soon take over.
Since it first opened its gates in 1949, Joyland has undergone a great deal of transformation.
The main attraction of the park was Noah’s Ark, which was proudly rocking at the top of a great orange-colored mountain with 1950s-style racing cars thrashing around the bottom for the aspiring Jim Clark to enjoy!!
The old racing cars were replaced in the middle of the 1970s by rocket-styled Jet Cars, which are still present in the park to this day. In 1984, the Ark was retired and replaced by an attraction called the Space Base, which was designed to resemble a space shuttle.
At the same time that the Jet Cars were being installed in the park, a seahorse ride by the name of Neptune’s Kingdom that had also been designed by Horace and built at H Cole and Co. was moved from a site in Gorleston (Never Never Land, which was operated by the Cole family) and re sited at Joyland.
The entire centre piece was demolished in the winter of 1996 to make way for the spectacular Toytown Mountain, which included a brand new kiddie coaster called the Spook Express.
Both the Jet Cars and Neptune’s Kingdom have been preserved and will continue to operate at the mountain’s base.
Other insignificant adjustments have also been made to the park, such as the installation of junior Ferris wheels, which have taken the place of a kiddie carousel ride. After a mini Octopus and a Magic Carpet passed through here and there, a junior Skydiver has taken up residence in their former spot.
The amusement arcade that used to be located on the beach side of the park is now a family redemption centre. When it was first constructed in the middle of the 1950s, it housed two rides: a twelve-seat rocket ride and six boats that floated around “Henry Hextapus” in an enormous tank of water.
During the middle of the 1960s, the boats were moved to a new location outside the park, and the rockets were “flown” to Never Never Land in Gorleston from Gorleston.
In 1980, a ride called the Jumbo Kopter took the place of the boats at the amusement park. A few years later, the mini Octopus was installed in its place.
In 1989, a ride known as Major Orbit took the place of the Octopus, and it continues to operate to this day.
The Pirate Ship was put in place in 1986, taking the place of a space that had previously functioned as, among other things, a video arcade, a hook-a-duck stand, and a musical traction engine with a laughing policeman sitting beside it!!!
The Snails and Tubs racetrack layouts have undergone some slight modifications over the years, but for the most part, they have remained largely unchanged from how Horace envisioned them.
Right next to the park in the Anchor Garden on the seafront, the family opened a diner with an American theme geared toward families in the year 2003.
There are still ongoing projects, improvements, and refurbishments being carried out each year to the park, and the Cole family is determined to keep the tradition of Joyland running for a very long time into the foreseeable future.