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GALLERY: Drayton Manor releases never-before-seen archive photos to celebrate 70th anniversary

By Rebecca Sayce | Staffordshire | Attractions | Published:

Drayton Manor has released never-before-seen archive photographs to mark the attraction's 70th anniversary.

Drayton Manor pictured in 1956

The rare black and white images show what life in the park was like when it first opened in 1950 – when entry cost one shilling and ninepence.

The images, showing families in rowboats and children enjoying donkey rides, have been made available for the first time for visitors to view.

The photos show historic rides throughout the years, such as Buffalo, The Snake Train and Balloon Race.

They also show entertainment that has taken place at the park over seven decades, from puppet shows to famous faces like Thomas the Tank Engine's Fat Controller.

Drayton Manor pictured in 1962
Drayton Manor as it is now in 2020

Hit musical artists such as Atomic Kitten and The Vamps can also be seen enjoying the park in these newly-released photographs.

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The park is open now to visitors with pre-booked tickets.

Atomic Kitten on the Polperro Express Steam Train in 2003
The Vamps opening new ride Air Race at Drayton Manor in 2014

Drayton Manor Park recently reopened to visitors after being closed for months during the coronavirus pandemic. New safety measures are in place including social distancing, hand sanitiser stations and the regular routine cleaning of rides. Most of the park's much-loved rides and attractions, including Thomas Land, Stormforce 10, Apocalypse and Maelstrom have all reopened.

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Families can also visit the park's conservation zoo, which is home to more than 100 animals, including the scarlet macaw, slender-tailed meerkat and red pandas.

Balloon Race in 1988
Buffalo in 1988

Earlier this year, the Staffordshire attraction was sold to the firm which owns West Midland Safari Park.

Buyers, the Looping Group, will retain Drayton Manor’s 599 employees as part of the buy-out under the same terms and conditions.

A view of Drayton Manor from the lake in 1952
A view of Drayton Manor from the lake now in 2020

The group also said it has very ambitious development plans to ensure the park’s long-term sustainability and make it an even more attractive leisure destination for families.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Rebecca Sayce

By Rebecca Sayce
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.sayce@expressandstar.co.uk

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