BALPPA has been looking after the interests of the theme park, pier and visitor attraction sector since 1936.
The below timeline highlights the key historical developments. Or you can download our special 75th centenary publication for a more detailed overview.
The Association of Amusement Park Proprietors of Great Britain was formed following a report made by the Chief Police Constables on giving prizes in Amusements Parks.
Once the industry heard about the report and the planned actions of the police, Leonard Thompson of Blackpool Pleasure Beach called together a group of prominent Amusement Park Proprietors to develop a code of Ethics, which would allow them to carry on their business without contravening the law.
The following Amuseument Parks were invited to join in 1936:
Leonard Thompson was the first Chairman of the AAPP and Captain J Russell Pickering was the Secretary. The agreed first annual subscription for Membership was twenty guineas (around £1000 in today’s terms).</p
Due to the Second World War the Association was 'practically defunct, although kept alive by the Secretary with his usual thoroughness.' Wartime in the UK impacted upon the amusement park proprietors with the Government requisition of several parks including Butlins holiday camps and Dreamland.
During the war subscription to the AAPP continued but was halved to ten guineas due to the reduced activity of the Association.
The Association met and agreed to form the National Amusements Council with other Associations in similar industries including live entertainment, circuses, showmen and theatres.
The principle aim of the Council was to coordinate Association activity and express a united voice to Parliament on matters where interests were identical, particularly in relation to obtaining labour and materials for the amusement industry.
The AAPP also instigated an initiative through the NAC to provide returning ex-servicemen, including those disabled during the war, with employment in the amusement park industry.
On accepting his appointment Ronald Pickering recorded that he 'remembered the inaugural meeting of the Association and knew how interested his Father was in the Association and how much he had it at heart. I am happy to follow in his footsteps and do what I can to watch over the M embers interests.'
The Members of the AAPP welcomed the American Members of the NAAPPB, marking their first official visit to the UK to increase their Association's involvement on a global scale.
The group attended a cocktail party hosted by Billy Butlin, as well as visited the Festival Gardens, Dreamland in Margate, Merrie England at Ramsgate, Clacton Pier and the Kursaal at Southend.
The Gambling Act legislation was viewed to be experimental and introduced an entirely new set of provisions for amusement parks. A special levy of £21 each on top of subscriptions was applied in 1961 to cover the cost of the work and legal advice.
Following the Betting and Gaming Act, the AAPP resolved to adapt their Concession Agreements to reflect the changes in legislation. This included adding a limit on the accumulation of prize vouchers, which the Act did not limit, however, was a cause of concern to the Membership.
Following a request from Mr Iles, the AAPP conducted its first official 'Exchange of Information' to survey members on prices for rides and games, wages paid, water and electricity charges and percentages received from concessionaires. This marked a change in the Association as it became involved for the first time in frank and open discussions on Park Operations.
The AAPP officially becomes an affiliated Member of IAAP
Standard Association approved certificates were introduced and each Member was obligated to provide the certificates each year for every ride on his premises.
In February 1984, the Association held its inaugural Parliamentary Lunch attended by 27 Parliamentarians and 40 Members.
John Gummer MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister responsible for Health and Safety was the guest of honour.
On the 11th May 1987, it was agreed to allow Suppliers to the Industry to join.
The fee was £350 per annum and Nick Farmer of Farmer Attraction Ltd was amongst the first to join. He remains a Member today.
Stan Bollom becomes President of the Association and remains in the position until his death in 2010.
The first Parks Sub Group meeting discussed performance, gate and secondary spends, staffing and promotions.
More Sub Groups were formed in the early 1990's for Park Engineers, Marketing, Retail and Catering Managers and Zoo Operators.
Rollercoaster sees the opening of Nemesis at Alton Towers, the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Shockwave at Drayton Manor Park.
The Year of the Pier is launched in March on Brighton Pier by the Rt Hon. Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for National Heritage.
BALPPA celebrates 60 years of the Association with a Diamond Jubilee Dinner at Thorpe Park.
HSG 175 is published and the Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADIPS) is launched, the culmination of the work done by BALPPA Members and other industry bodies with the HSE through the Fairground Joint Advisory Committee.
Coastal Arcades and FECs are added to BALPPA Membership.