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History of Lofthouse Park.

In 1908 Britain's first "Amusement Park" was built at Lofthouse by "Lofthouse Park Ltd.", owned by Yorkshire West Riding Electric Tramway Company. It opened around Whitsuntide 1908. There was a pavillion, containing a theatre and a cinema screen, a bandstand and a 'Helter Skelter'.
This is a photo of the pavilion.

The cinema was a silent screen one and had an orchesta playing music to the films.

According to the Wakefield Express, there were daily firework shows and galas.

The entrance to the park was a decorative arch and the area lit with coloured electric lights.

Inside the Park itself (according to R P Rhodes book, 'Going Back a bit 2'), were a Privet hedge maze, a hall of mirrors and a haunted house called "Kelly's Cottage".
There was also a roller skating rink.

In the later days of the park a zoo was added. However the Park's days were numbered and it closed soon after.

This is part of a 1921 map of the area.

On 14th August 1913, a Blackburn Type 1 aeroplane first flew from Lofthouse Park piloted by Harold Blackburn.
Harold Blackburn set up the first scheduled airline in July 1914 in the UK between Leeds and Bradford. It operated every half an hour during the Yorkshire Show.

Here are photos and details of the Blackburn airplane

In the early part of World War 1 the site was taken over to be used as a Prisoner of War internment camp.
It housed up to 1500, mainly civilian, Germans who each paid ten shillings a week 'for the privilege of being there'.
A very thorough educational scheme was organised on university lines and equivalent to a university standard. It started on 1st October 1917 but didn't last long. Lofthouse Park closed in 1918.
Here are copies of postcards sent from the camp

There was a canteen and tailoring department as these photos show

After the war the site became derelict and the Pavilion was burnt down in the 1930s.

Later the site became Ropers brickworks.

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This page (index.html) was last modified on Saturday 10/08/2013