The Timeline; 1968 - Sunland Amusements

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Offline AcesCalifornia

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The Timeline; 1968 - Sunland Amusements
« on: January 29, 2020, 02:40 AM »
Before we get started, let me introduce myself and this project. I'm Aces and I'm much more a lurker here than I would like. However, some of you may know me from the BroNation Discord, and my publishing of the BN Bugle. I finally come in here to post my first public project in what must be a couple years now.

The Timeline is a project, working as a timeline park, tracking the growth of a southeast UK amusement park from it's inception to the massive attraction it is in the current, and onward into the future. What you will see in this first update will be the foundations of this project.

I do hope you enjoy this! And I can't wait to show you more as the years progress!


The Timeline; 1957



“Come experience the grandeur of the Raj without stepping foot outside of Blighty” claimed the first advertisement for the Indian Gardens. Located in the south east of the United Kingdom, not far from London, the gardens were originally built in 1910.

Businessman, Maximillian Hall operated as an Importer/Exporter to the British Raj, now known now-adays as India, and with multiple trips to and from the country conducting business; inspired and in awe by the architecture of the lands, he set out to build the Indian Gardens for the people of Great Britain to visit and experience the architecture of India themselves, from the comfort of home.

From it's opening in 1910 and onwards, the park remained a popular spot locally for days out among those even as far out as London. However, with the onset of World War II, the park was taken out of the hands of it's owners, passed down through the Hall family, and placed into the ownership of the British Army. The park was left neglected as the armed forces used it's lands for training, and even after peace broke out in 1945, the park remained in the hands of the local council, continuing to remain neglected.

This was the case until 1956. A local post-war Horticultural Society raised enough money through the local community to purchase the entire land the park sits on back from the council and into caring hands. The buildings thankfully were left unscaved by The Blitz that destroyed a lot of Great Britain, but neglected by the government, they would non-the-less take time to refurbish back to their 1910s glory. But after a year of hard graft, in 1957 the park officially reopened.

The Indian inspired architecutre started right from the entrance into the gardens, with a trio of arches that funneled you into a tree-shaded path, past a decorative tower that could be seen, perched on top a small hill, and directly into the line of sight of the main structure of the gardens, The Raj Gateway.








Even returning at night, with some subtle lighting, provides an outstanding looking entrance.




In the center of the park as it's crowning jewel; the Raj Gateway offers a highly detailed and ornamental example of the architecture that Hall wanted to bring back to the British. It is flanked on most sides by clear patches of grass that are usually claimed by towels, coolers, drinks, and lawn chairs as these patches are used for sunbathing and picnics.






Continuing your walk around the circular path of the gardens towards the backside of the Raj Gateway and of the gardens themselves, you start to enter deeper into the naturally occuring forest that this park was built in front of, with the lake that is located central to the park as well finishing with a shallow pool; it's banks connected by an ornamental brick bridge as well as skipping stones for those youthful and adventureous enough to risk a soak if they fall in.


Returning on the other side of the lake with the path that takes you back into the front section of the park. Moving down an avenue lined with trimmed trees, you arrive at the Oriental Greenhouse. Constructed during the insitial project spearheaded by Hall, the Oriental Greenhouse holds many of the flora brought back from India that require the balmy conditions of India to live. Since the regenetation of the park by the Horticultural Society; their experience in cultivating the flora has seen more new additions than ever added to this small greenhouse.



« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 02:18 PM by AcesCalifornia »

Re: The Timeline; 1957
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2020, 05:57 AM »
nice project to start with...glad you are sharing as its beautiful. these all look like real photos

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Offline Fisherman

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Re: The Timeline; 1957
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2020, 06:19 PM »
That's GORGEOUS!

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Offline AcesCalifornia

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Re: The Timeline; 1957
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 02:17 PM »

nice project to start with...glad you are sharing as its beautiful. these all look like real photos

That's GORGEOUS!

Before we proceed with the update, I want to thank both of these fine folk for their kind words. Thank you wowmanrct and I hope that as the park goes down the timeline, that the project will only get more beautiful and spectacular! I don't want to spoil or promise anything, but we got some amazing plans coming down the line. And thank you Fisherman, your compliments mean a ton to me as one of the stars of the old RCT3 days I use to look up to as a little-one!

I would like to remind everyone, not to shill, but this update is coming to us a few months after it was published for all to read on the BN Bugle, unofficial magazine of the Planet Coaster community, and what is basically my second hobby! Do enjoy this update anyway!


The Timeline; 1968



Before the Indian Gardens were lost to re-purposing in World War II, the owner of the oriental themed attraction; Maximillian Hall, had grand plans for his little taste of the Raj in the United Kingdom. A large scale expansion, first imagined in 1943, was to come to the east of the original gardens, and was to include large indoor greenhouses much like Kew Gardens of London. However, best laid plans do not always come to fruition.

After the onset of World War II, development of the project was cancelled, even after the laying of the greenhouses' foundations were started.

Now under the ownership of the Horticultural Society who had cleaned up the Indian Gardens and restored it to it's pre-World War II status, plans were placed back on the table for development on the empty plot of land to the east. However, factors were not right for new developments to grow on the land, as the society was just a volunteer and charity led one. In a 1957 assessment on possible expansions, it was decided that to build anything new would be too costly for a small society as the Horticultural Society to accomplish.

However, the assessment did not say the land could not be rented out. And as such, from the late 1950s into the 1960s the large parcel of land was rented out by many different small scale attractions and farmers markets. Eventually, come 1965, one of the most popular tenants were to become a permanent fixture.



In 1963, Cecil Atwater brought a temporary arcade and small funfair to the Indian Garden's rent-able land for the first time. Named Sunland Amusements, the development was a traditional sea-side type arcade with penny-pushers, competitive games, and prizes on top of prizes. Revolving around a temporary clapboard building, the attraction also had a small funfair on the side with attractions being "pay before you ride" and including a helter-Skelter, a carousel, and a second-hand Eyerly loop-o-plane. And from the first summer season of 1963, the arcade and funfair was a hit from the very start, and called for Atwater's attraction to return for successive summers.

And eventually, two years after the first appearance of Sunland Amusements, Cecil Atwater's own attraction in the south-east of England became a permanent fixture, as a deal was struck between his self and the Horticultural Society to become permanent fixtures to the gardens.







A new permanent entrance was designed, complete with coach and car parking, as well as a new arcade building to replace the temporary arcade. The entrance flanked the entrance gates where immediately past it was the funfair.

Past the entrance stood the funfair, as well as the backstage area which included the caravans of the funfair's workers and shipping containers of storage, hidden behind a high wooden wall from the rest of the funfair. The funfair had grown since the first time the amusements were held; with a new car ride, miniature train ride, a roundup, a custom built Monte Leone, as well as the park's newest edition for the 1965 opening, a whip ride located in a brand new covered building, the first designed to be permanent for the funfair.







The initial years of the funfair were hard. Since the establishing of the permanent attractions in 1965, Sunland Amusements had been making a loss on it's profits. However, this would not last long, as for the first time in 1968, the attraction began to make a profit, and as a result, the off-season was the first to introduce a new expansion for visitors.

Located downhill from the miniature railroad stood the new expansion, containing a new covered picnic area, a ferris-wheel and another second hand Eyerly, this time a rock-o-plane model.





Meanwhile, the Horticultural Society had been experiencing their own developments during this period. The group had been decisively hands-off on the operating of the Indian Gardens and the land rented to Sunland Amusements, since the start of the 1960s. The quick deal brokered with Atwater was the final straw for rumours to start floating that by the end of the decade, the society may no longer own either property. And that talks had been ongoing with a number of prominent private companies to offload the attractions onto.











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Offline AcesCalifornia

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Re: The Timeline; 1968 - Sunland Amusements
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2020, 12:11 PM »
A short announcement about this project. I've been feeling that this project is not going in the direction I'd like for it to go down, so I've bit the bullet and I'm totally redoing this project, saving the stuff I like, but working from the ground up otherwise. I will keep you informed on these developments. Thanking for sticking with me on this!

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Offline Plokoon111

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Re: The Timeline; 1968 - Sunland Amusements
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2020, 05:02 PM »
I can't wait to see how you update your vision!