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Response to Review no. 536

The authors would like to thank Dr Beaven for his generous review of The Playful Crowd. They have a few reservations about specific content and emphasis. They would not wish to argue that Blackpool’s playful crowd reached a ‘nadir’ after the Second World War: indeed, Blackpool’s resilience and adaptability, in contrast with the decline of Coney Island, forms a strong theme of chapter 4, which looks comparatively at the two resorts during the ‘long’ second half of the twentieth century. Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach is itself the British amusement park case study for the late twentieth century, and secondary work on Alton Towers and other amusement parks is used comparatively alongside it. Nor is Beamish perceived as the ‘antithesis’ of other kinds of playful crowd: it is a variant on the theme, linking up (as Dr Beaven suggests) with the British ‘rational recreation’ tradition, and providing an instructive British contrast to the Disney end of the spectrum. Its inclusion in the book is intended to provide this additional dimension, involving explicit attention to tensions between the global and the local. We do not share the view that Beamish is in any sense peripheral to the overall argument.

Readers will be able to make up their own minds about these and other issues, and about the relationships between these and other kinds of ‘crowd’, to which Dr Beaven has usefully drawn explicit attention. We thank him for a generally positive and very supportive review.