Monday, March 09, 2009

Its back to the future for Dreamland

Although Margate no longer has a town museum, it has a hotel which boasts the fact it's, part museum and has its own curator, which clearly works well in the hospitality industry, as I'm sure most of us prefer traditional surroundings to that of the impersonal cells offered by the large hotel chains.

The Save Dreamland campaign, are making a big public announcement this coming Sunday, about their plans to create a heritage theme park, if you'd care to take a butcher's at their website you will find copious details on recent meetings they have had with various organisations.

Clearly much work has been done recently to pursue the dream of an amusement park, so enthusiasts can dust off ancient fairground attractions and breathe life into them once more.

A lot will depend on whether the Margate Regeneration Partnership support their plans, since this unelected and unrepresentative (of Margate People) quango will be pivotal in encouraging organisations like SEEDA and English heritage into coughing up the dosh needed.

Also they will need to get a reasonable deal (cheap) with the grandly titled “Margate Town Centre Regeneration Co” which I take is just a fancy name for the property speculators who own the Dreamland site, hopefully at this point in time, it will be possible to screw a decent price out of them, since it cannot be easy to have large capital assets in times like these sitting their depreciating.

Whether a heritage theme park will work is a different matter, I understand this is a world first for which their might be a reason. Dreamland is a world famous brand, and I find it astonishing that no company has come forward in recent times to make something of it.

Still what do I know, the thing about all fairgrounds, theme parks that I have been to date is their freshness, topicality even if the rides are old, they generally display graphics which are fresh, so I just hope this doesn't turn out like some sad heritage railway, all about the enthusiast and not the punter.

Finally and again I’m just speaking for myself, unlike a hotel room where I want comfortable cosy reassuring surroundings, at an amusement park I want the unfamiliar uncomfortable and to be frightened er sh witless!


  1. Knock it all down and develop it into flats, shops make the area marketable! Why go back to having a theme park? Move with the times, people aren't interested in this anymore. Why not build a skatepark for the kids, 5-a side football pitches, a sports centre, youth centre?

  2. 3.43 Yep they tell me that we are so short of flats and shops at the moment that there may be panic buying.

  3. if its to be a theme park old and quaint dont quiet do it but then nor does flats and shops so we are stuk with an eyesore

  4. As a volunteer assistant at Margate Museum, could I just say that Margate DOES still have a town museum, albeit not at present open to the passing public. It is open to groups of all kinds (eg schools, societies, etc.) and to researchers and we also visit schools. Unfortunately the future is very uncertain but the museum is just about hanging on at the moment.

  5. excuse me, as a Person who lived in Thanet I can't tell you how many times I have been to Blackpool, but it is embarrasing, I used to go at least twice a year, it fun, its tacky...its British, Margate lost sight of that, I am not saying pleasure beach or lights, but good fun, egg and chips, kiss me quick, buckets and spades, I once when Tony's Mini Me was actually mini! took him round Margate recreating a day my mum took me and her sister on, it was about 1986 one armed bandits, rides, open topped bus, beach and the shell grotto brilliant day, and at 16 I managed all this on my pocket money!! opps now you know how old I am!

  6. Sorry,but margate as a tourist destination is a no no. Badly paid jobs, 8 week season, and pensioners spending a fiver a day. A tourist destination needs a 6month season, and visitors spending £50 a day. No sane person would come to Thanet for a holiday, maybe a day trip. Lets get real jobs, stop subsidising the hotels and let the local folk have a community to be proud of. Dream Land, too small too cheap too old. Bit like a dinosaur

  7. I kind of agree that Dremland is to small nowadays.

    Alton Towers the big theme park in Staffordshire attracts people from Easter to Autumn often for weekend and school holiday breaks. The nearest decent theme park to here is Thorpe park right around the M25 near the M4 - Can you imagine a huge theme park at Thanet which could draw on a substantial catchment area, we have ready-made hotels and a theme park here would be the only one by the sea south of Blackpool so there would be other attractions.

    A large flat area would be required perhaps in the centre of the Island so that all the towns other attractions and hotels would benefit.

    Anyone for Manston Disneyworld????

  8. I think the dreamland site would be a fantastic opportunity for a professional company and right now would be the ideal time to develop it, more people take holidays at home, I'd imagine the owners might not be to troubled by a reasonable offer.

    Dreamland Museum might work but I'd be surprised

  9. 6.29pm

    I'm not usually slow at coming forward but I wasn't sure if I was the only person thinking like this.

    I think the best use of Manston would be if an operator like CenterParcs were to develop the site (look at their website and see what I mean). It wouldn't be weather reliant. It would attract families to my wonderful Ramsgate, Tony's Margate and of course to Broadstairs.

    I am a DFL but I know and appreciate what Dreamland means to so many Margate residents. There must be something put there that is a year-round draw. People laughed when the London Aquarium was launched at County Hall on the South Bank but it really worked. Why not our version of Nausicaa in France, A huge Ferris wheel like the London Eye etc. These would sit perfectly alongside and compliment some kind of 'mini-dreamland' experience.

    These things do draw visitors year in, year out. Add some kind of educational draw and kids will pester their parents to make repeat visits - just what Margate needs.

    This type of thinking is what the towns need. All partisanship aside, the airport will blight Ramsgate for good, a failed old-model theme park will not give Margate what it deserves either.

    Dare I say it, Dare we aspire?

  10. To add to the post I've just made, isn't it time we started working together as a community. We may not agree always but at least we care about where we live.

    TDC work on a divide and rule basis. The history of the 3 towns shows that can't go on.

  11. There are about 50 bikers and 30 longboarders who ride Hartsdown parks concrete banks all year round we keep quite dont cause trouble. We have requested a skate park for a while and so far we have had no reply. at the very least we would like our bowl to be resurfaced as some us older riders have seen so many younger kids fall and injure them selfs on rough graveled ground full of glass and disgarded rubbish. There is also a drain that does not function properly and the area is flooded for days after any rain. This then means we are unable to ride, when we cant ride there and then many people are told off and escorted out of other areas they ride. All we ask is for a bit of maintenence, any thing else is a bonus.
    The bowl has been around and has been ridin for close to thirty years and needs to be revamped.

    from the kids and local riders.