The Catacombs Catacombs Model Gallery
Space City

Space City models

In 1977, almost all the models, props, costumes and drawings left from Space 1999 were displayed in an exhibition called Space City, in Blackpool, a seaside resort in the north of England. The exhibition moved in 1981 to a smaller location at the Pleasure Beach for one season. Afterwards, most of the exhibition moved to the Alton Towers theme park.

A short film of clips was shown on a monitor showing the effects in action.

Look-In photo spread from 1977 Look-In competition winner meets Gerry Anderson

The exhibition was in the Golden Mile Centre on Blackpool Seafront, at the heart of the seaside town's attractions. It was a short distance from the Dr Who exhibition, which obviously inspired it (that ran from 1974 to 1985, and then in the Golden Mile Centre itself from 2004 to 2009). Space City opened on Saturday 26th March 1977 with limited hours in April, opening fully every day from 10am to 10pm from 1st May to 31 October (it was closed for winter). Admission was initially 25 pence, then dropped to 20 pence.

The exhibition was promoted in the weekly children's comic "Look-In" where Gerry Anderson ran a question-and-answer column. Look-In artwork was on display at the exhibition, along with entries to a Look-In "Space City Design competition", where children designed space cities. The winner (judged by Gerry Anderson and Keith Wilson, with Look-In editor Colin Shelbourn) was 13 year old Mark Craig of Holyhead. He won a visit to the exhibition conducted by Gerry Anderson in person.

Brain The Brain Taybor's ship, Swift, Hawk, tanks and moonbuggy The Ultra Probe and Superswift, with pilot ship and Dorzak ship to the side

Visitors bought tickets from the small shop in the ground floor amusement arcade. The shop also sold "Space City" stickers and woven badges, the blue and red box stun guns and Space 1999 metal badges. They then took an escalator (marked "Travel Tube") up to a section of Command Center computers, in front of which Brian the Brain greeted them (it was not the voice of Bernard Cribbins).

Behind the models, the large photos of Moonbase Alpha and lunar hills were the original special effects blow-ups, used as foreground or background when filming alien ships or planets over the Moon. These pictures thanks to Simon Rhodes.

Deltan battleship and Hawk Spaceships FAB1 and moonbuggy Astronaut

Most of the models were in excellent condition at the time. A few that had been damaged were restored or repainted by Martin Bower especially for exhibition. The public could easily reach out and touch many of the models, and consequently at the end of the exhibition many of them were damaged or even stolen.

Sky 1

A number of models from earlier series were displayed in a glass case. Bower loaned an original Thunderbird 4 and Sky 1 (from UFO), with replica models of Thunderbird 1 and Fireball XL5 (when the exhibition closed, Bower got the latter two models back severely damaged, while the two originals had been lost). Reg Hill loaned the original model of Stingray. Thanks to Shaun Evans for the picture.

Images copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Page copyright Martin Willey