Lion patrolled Yarmouth Pleasure Beach as guard cat
I saw the photo of Nick Nyoka, the lion man. My father knew the owners of the Pleasure Beach in the 1960s and took me to see the lion, called Simba – which I believe is African for lion. They sometimes used the lion as a guard cat to patrol the stalls!
I have a memory of Simba being allowed to put her paw on me. Simba was kept at the rear of a stall on the traffic side of the Pleasure Beach. The stall itself was between the Fun House and the Scenic Railway.
Another memory of the Sixties was being used as guinea pigs for the rides at the Pleasure Beach attractions before the start of the season! We could have free rides on the rollercoaster etc to test them out for safety before the holidaymakers arrived.
Did you know about luggage boys/girls who made cash during the summer season? There were not enough taxis to cope with the influx of visitors so us kids built wheelbarrows out of plywood and a set of old pram wheels. We would call out “Barrow for your luggage Sir?” The usual rate was one shilling and sixpence or half a crown if you were lucky to cart their luggage from the train and bus stations to the holidaymakers’ digs. The more enterprising of us would book the return journeys as well.
My father owned a sweet shop and theatre owners would put up advertising posters there. For this gesture we would be given free tickets to opening nights of the shows. As a result I could chat to my barrow customers about who was starring at the Britannia or Wellington or Regal.
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