When I was little I used to see these slot machines at the funfair at the seaside though I was never allowed to
spend waste pocketmoney on them.
My pals at primary school in Scotland spoke in knowledgeable terms about “playing the puggies” and it always sounded daring with a hint of the dark arts about it.
This afternoon I’ve whiled away a good
half hour reading screeds about fruit machines on Wikipedia and following loads of links (I’ve even found some for sale on eBay).
The one I’ve pictured is in an old-fashioned Penny Arcade on Southport Pier where they have a great collection of old fairground amusements. You need to exchange a pound coin for real old pennies to play these machines and, in line with inflation, you get 10 old pennies for £1 instead of the 240 we got in the days of “Pounds, Shilling and Pence“. But then in those days only a desperate addict would have spent a whole pound gambling.
A pier was first suggested in the 1840s but a company was not created until 1859. Work began the same year. Designed by James Brunlees, the 3600 foot pier opened in 1860. Waiting and refreshment rooms for boat passengers were added in 1862. A baggage line opened on May 7th 1863 but was re-laid the following year when the pier was widened and extended. It was upgraded to a cable-operated tramway in 1865. A further extension, in 1868, brought the length to 4380 feet. Storm damage and fires (in 1933 and 1957) reduced the length to the present 3633 foot, the second longest in Britain. (National Piers Society – Southport Pier)