A NEW million-pound attraction could be coming to Whitby in the near future, the Gazette can exclusively reveal. Paragon Entertainment, the company which designed the Jorvik Centre in York, has recently signed a deal to create visitor attractions based upon the legendary studio, the Hammer House of Horror.
Paragon chief executive and Whitby resident Mark Pyrah said the town is ‘number one’ on his list of preferred locations.He explained: “I strongly believe Whitby is a fantastic site for one of these attractions.“We’re hoping Hammer is going to be a groundbreaking attraction and we won’t look at another site, other than Whitby, in the north east.”
The Whitby attraction would be one of only four in the United Kingdom and could provide a welcome boost to the Whitby tourist industry – Paragon designed the Titanic Belfast experience in Northern Ireland which has received over a million visitors in its first year alone.“We’re hoping Hammer is going to be a groundbreaking attraction,” said Mr Pyrah, whose father Colin Pyrah MBE established the company in the 1980s when they won the commission to design the Jorvik centre.
After a year of discussions, on 17 December Paragon reached the agreement with Exclusive Media, for the rights to exclusively use the ‘Hammer’ brand.The agreement runs for 10 years and provides for further extensions thereafter.
Simon Oakes, CEO and President of Hammer Films and vice-chairman of Exclusive Media commented: “We are excited to be working with Paragon.“They are one of the leading companies in the UK who have a deep understanding of what UK customers want in terms of exciting visitor attractions.“This deal with Paragon gives Hammer another exciting way to give our audiences and fans a chance to get involved with the characters and worlds created in our films and take fans to the next level in terms of visitor attraction and experience.”
Hammer has an illustrious history of successful horror productions, including classics such as The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). More recently, the return of Hammer to the horror scene was heralded with The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, which broke UK box office records and received considerable critical acclaim.“We want to create a series of horror visitor attractions,” said Mr Pyrah.“They could be museum-based or attraction-based – by picking things from the films – or it could be a scare attraction, it depends on the local audience.”
The next task for Paragon is to find a suitable location within Whitby and so the company is on the look-out for heritage-style or gothic buildings in a prime location near the harbour or seafront.
Anyone who believes they own or know of a suitable site is urged to get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.