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Rails by The Sea

Rooks, Marcus (2012) Rails by The Sea. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Little academic research has been undertaken concerning Seaside Miniature Railways as they fall outside more traditional subjects such as standard and narrow gauge history and development. This dissertation is the first academic study and throws new light upon the subject, drawing together aspects of miniature railways, fairground and leisure culture. It examines their histories from inception within the newly developing fairground culture in the United States and their subsequent establishment and development in the UK and illustrates that they are worthy of further academic study.. The development of the seaside and fairground spectacle was the catalyst for the establishment of the SMR in Britain. Their development was always under the control of individuals and entrepreneurs such as W. Bassett-Lowke. He was able to see the potential of SMRs and the need to ally them with another successful product, the seaside resort. In that way they could be made into profitable ventures. Although embedded in the fairground culture they were not totally reliant on it which allowed them to flourish within the seaside resort as a whole even when the traditional fairground went into decline. Unfortunately they were still associated intimately with the host resort and the leisure industry in general. Consequently went their popularity declined so did the SMR’s. SMRs were the orphans of their day, finding it difficult to compete with the thrill of other fairground rides as their complexity increased; they were not welcome in the more sedate setting of leisure parks, were they were undoubtedly much better suited. However, individual entrepreneurs still maintained these lines and along with a flourishing preservation scene, they should still be around in another 100 years.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Dr Marcus Rooks
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2013 11:55
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3289

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