Big birthday for Big Dipper

The Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1928
The Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1928
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One of Blackpool Pleasure beach’s five classic “woodies” celebrates its 90th birthday in August.

These days the Big Dipper might be dwarfed by those steel monsters Infusion and The Big One, but it can still more than hold its own in the white knuckle stakes.

Building work started in 1921 and it was opened in 1923 at a cost of £25,000. Built by William Strickler, the idea came from John Miller and Harry Baker from Chicago who made great advances in roller coaster technology in 1914.

Pleasure Beach founder William Bean acquired the UK rights to the patent which enabled designers to use a much steeper and faster course with tighter bends. The Big Dipper was one of the first rides to incorporate the patented under-track wheel system to allow even more thrills for the rider.

The first riders were charged one shilling (5p) and to combat the local furore over the amount, William Bean built a mahogony and marble pay desk and handsome entrance hall to the ride to add to the experience.

The track length is 3,295ft, carriages take 840 riders an hour and the thrills last three minutes.

A party to celebrate is being held on Friday August 23, from 8pm to 11pm.

Prices are £18 for an unlimited ride wristband complete with party meal package or £10 for non-riders with the party package. Visit for more details.