How many of us had fun times at this place?
Metroland fun park first opened its doors to the public exactly 30 years ago.
The attraction in Gateshead’s Metrocentre was a magnet for countless thousands of visitors for two decades.
Our images from the newly-opened fun park were captured on February 22, 1988.
Who recalls the New Rollercoaster, Wonderful Waveswinger, Swashbuckling Pirate Ship, Beautiful Balloons Ferris Wheel, Disco Dodgems, the Whirling Waltzer, Monty Zoomers – and more?
Thousands of Tyneside children would enjoy special birthday parties here, attended to by the centre’s very own Metro Gnomes.
The park had four food outlets, and a Mr B’s amusement arcade located next door.
Construction and fitting out work in Metroland cost around £20m. A further £1m was invested by Fundays Limited, who took over the park in 1989.
In August 1996, Arlington Leisure took over the running of the park and invested over £2m updating and upgrading all attractions, relaunching the site as The New Metroland.
It remained incredibly popular. In 2005 the theme park had 1.2m paying visitors, up 1% on the year before.
But staff launched the Save Metroland campaign in November 2006 after it was first discovered the Metrocentre was considering its options for the Yellow Mall.
The controversial plan sparked a huge protest with 683 letters of objection and two petitions with 26 and 807 names.
But in July 2007, councillors gave the go-ahead for Metroland fairground, based in Gateshead Metrocentre’s Yellow Quadrant, to be converted to a cinema, which was then approved by the Government Office North East.
The park finally closed its doors on Sunday April 20, 2008.
To mark its closure, the park held a ‘last ride weekend’ where visitors were charged £5 for the whole day so they had unlimited access to all the rides. Proceeds from the last night went to charity.
At the time, the Chronicle told how “everything must go”.
We reported: “From many of the rides through to fruit machines and video games, the Metroland signs and right down to the rocks and pebbles around the fun park – everything has a price.”
It was expected the fun park’s features would go for between £600,000 and £700,000.
It was also the end of a 20-year era…
Source : Chroniclelive