This is the first time a book will have ever been reviewed on Ride Rater – even John Wardley’s autobiography was reported as merely news.
However when we were approached by Tales from the Towers – and ThemeParkTourist.com’s – creator Nick Sim, the opportunity was too good to miss.
The acknowledgements and foreword sections include touching mentions of Nick’s struggles with chemotherapy, but also the joy brought to his life by his wife and young son.
An Alton Towers fanatic might be skeptical of the book, believing that it would offer virtually no information not widely known by enthusiasts, however this doubt would be extremely misplaced.
And despite looking forward to reading it after Nick offered Ride Rater a pre-release copy, I will admit to not necessarily expecting to learn large amounts of new information from the book.
However, I was wrong – because from the first paragraphs of the first chapter, the level of detail of the park’s history is immense.
Centuries of history
Details of the site’s past – stretching back over a thousand years – have been extensively researched and form the basis of the opening chapter.
The book interestingly reveals why the ruined towers complex was stripped of virtually every component from carpet to curtain post following the army’s lease of the estate during the Second World War.
A number of special notes – or ‘hidden secrets’ – are highlighted at the bottom of some pages, including how the Mutiny Bay information kiosk was a station on the park’s miniature railway line.
The book is highly and reliably referenced throughout, with Wikipedia-style numbered citations.
The dramatic effect of the Corkscrew rollercoaster’s arrival is documented with quotes regarding guests standing in “6 to 9 hour queues” for the ride and “roads completely blocked back to Derby and Stoke.”
The book has been painstakingly compiled, with a great number of people sought out for quotes and other contributions.
Perhaps the considerable number of page’s covering former Alton Towers owner John Broome’s other ventures in the tourist industry will test the interest level of those purely interested in the park itself.
Research has been conducted with much digging, and the exposure of the hypocrisy of the noise-battling Roper couple is a particularly enjoyable moment.
There is also detailed chapter entitled ‘When Things Go Wrong’, which covers the park’s history of isolated ride accidents and incidents over the year.
The book is clearly the work of an extremely talented fan, who has somehow managed to reveal many interesting and little-known facts about one of Britain’s most well-known (or so we thought) tourist attractions.
It is the single most comprehensive and informative work on Alton Towers ever produced.