Haunted House – Pensarn Amusements automatons

No regrets? Yes there are some regrets. I regret that I can no longer stand on Pensarn railway bridge holding my father’s hand and be engulfed by the cloud of smoke as the Holyhead to Crewe express steam train whizzes beneath our feet; I regret that the sea in North Wales is getting dangerously dirty now and that my children won’t be able to swim in it as their father once did; and I regret the loss of some of the games in the amusement arcades and funfairs of my childhood.

A trip to the Amusements on Pensarn beach used to be a real treat. Roll a Penny (make it land on the white strip and the bounty will cascade down onto the glass top); Penny Falls (now 10p falls); one armed bandits that really did have one arm; a game in a vertical glass cabinet where you srproinged a ball bearing around a spiral steel strip and tried to make it go into certain holes in the middle; another where you’d drop a coin down and watch it bounce through a series of pins to try to hit the jackpot.

The real gem was the glass display cabinets which had curtains around them. When you paid a penny, the curtains would draw back to reveal mechanically animated figures which acted out a mini play. My favourite was the haunted house. A ghost walked by as a man in Edwardian clothes read his paper. The lid of the coffin creaked open and a skeleton jack-in-the-boxed up. Very scary when you’re only six.

I wonder where those old games are now?

Remember Mad Mouse? I’ll talk about that in the next Abergele in Shorts.

Noddy Train Ride, Pensarn Amusements

Noddy Train Ride, Pensarn Amusements c1966.

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