Drayton Manor

A few years ago, on a visit to Tamworth Castle, I discovered that Drayton Manor had been the home of former Prime Minister and founder of the modern police force, Sir Robert Peel. The story of Peel and his achievements and that of his descendants, who frittered away the estate until pretty much only the ivy-covered bell tower remained now holds far more appeal for me than any theme park but it wasn’t always that way…….

Pretty much all that remains of Peel’s Manor

Growing up in the West Midlands, Drayton Manor featured quite a lot in my childhood.  From a little girl, to going with my friends as a teenager on the Drayton Manor bus I have lots of memories of the place, but not all of them are happy…… I remember being aged 5, and really hating the Jungle Cruise, crying on my teacher’s lap after a hippo reared its ugly plastic head out of the water. Ten years later I was crying again, this time in my friend’s lap on the Skyflier, with people’s shoes and coins flying past me. It was probably themepark karma though as up until that point a group of friends and I had continuously shouted ‘Where are we?’ ‘Drayton Manor Park and Zooooo!’, as a homage to the TV advert of the time featuring Tommy Boyd (Wacaday?). We, and I suspect we alone, thought we were hilarious.   Everyone probably thought that the sound of me bawling my eyes out was preferable.

Buffalo Coaster 

I seem to recall spending a good proportion of the early years at Drayton Manor on the car park. We’d get about 5 ride tickets each (which equated to not much more than a go on the snake train) and when they were gone and we’d had a wander around the zoo, my Mum, to our disgust, would pop into the plant nursery, and then we’d have to spend the rest of the day making our own fun. Don’t be mistaken, if this sounds like one of those ‘ah, when I were a lass’ happy nostalgia trips, it’s not. I wanted more tickets and more goes on rides, not a game of swingball. Actually, what I really wanted was a wristband.

Not a family heirloom but a recent acquisition

Incidentally, Drayton Manor is said to be haunted by a gentleman said to be ‘Sir Bobby’, who according to a Drayton Manor press release can be seen standing looking woefully into the distance. Last time I went I did see a man in a top hat and old fashioned clothing walking about, but it was the Fat Controller from Thomas Land.

Maelstrom. Too scary for me, but not my little sister

 

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5 thoughts on “Drayton Manor

  1. Wonderful memories Kate,My own visits to Drayton Manor Park were a adventure
    from the onset as they were in a 1953 Austin A30 as a 18 year old driver having just past
    his driving test also rebuilt the car,Living in Pelsall anywhere that was more than 5 miles
    away was a journey of discovery and not undertaken lightly,
    I love reading your blog keep up the good work.
    Regards Pat.

    Like

    • As always thanks for your comment Pat. I do like Austin cars!

      As you may have noticed the Drayton Manor post is going towards the Pastorm project, and forming an ebook. If you’d like, it would be wonderful if we could include your memories of Drayton Manor, but don’t feel obliged. It doesn’t have to be lots, just a paragraph or two 🙂 Let me know if you’re interested.
      Regards,
      Kate

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      • Two memories that stand out for me are one Saturday night three
        mates and myself togged out in our best ‘Knock em dead’ suits scrubbed clean head to foot dowsed in enough aftershave to float
        a battleship turned up at the Tower Ballroom for the Saturday
        night dance ,As we got out of the car we watched two lads in jeans
        and teeshirts walk straight in when we got to the door Godzilla
        and his mate growled NO single men in the dance ,Bob our most
        diplomatic mate said “You have just let two guys in dressed in
        jeans and teeshirts”.”No I ain’t them are plumbers cum ter fix
        the bog OK”,My other memory is of sitting in a line of traffic
        for two hours waiting to get into the park and eating the picnic
        lunch in the car that we had planned to sit and eat in the park
        Happy days for all that.
        Regards Pat.

        Like

      • Thanks Pat, I’ve added them to the project 🙂
        The Tower Ballroom used to be a disco type place? I know my husband had a Xmas party there a few years back. I’ve had a few run ins with Bouncers. Not in Lichfield I hasten to add 😉
        And sometimes I start on my picnic before we’ve even left Lichfield…

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