The funfair at Mannings Amusements in Felixstowe started in 1933 when the attraction was built by Sir Billy Butlin as one of his earliest resorts. The rides included in the park were innovative, exciting, and considered to be quite the spectacle at the time. The industry in this country, which was pioneered by Sir Billy Butlin, was inspired by the rides and attractions that were being dreamt up in early 20 th century America.
Originally, to the rear of the site, there was a zoo. According to legend (its actually true!) back before the war, the zoo had a lion who was considered to be old, harmless, friendly and partially blind. Due to the lion’s friendly nature, the staff would occasionally take the lion out of his cage and walk him towards the front of the zoo. They would then call the papers and tell them that ‘the lion’s escaped!’ – apparently there really was no such thing as ‘bad publicity’!
The zoo also included a man-made boating lake, with an island in the centre. This island was inhabited by monkeys which created an exciting attraction for visitors, who could take rowing boats around the island for a closer look.
The original art deco building facing the sea was initially used for catering (amusement arcades were not yet a thing), with a Tea Garden on the roof where the lucky holiday makers could enjoy a drink whilst taking in an incredible view of the Felixstowe seafront.
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