Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goodnight Dreamland

News that Dreamland cinema is to close in November should come as no shock to anyone, particularly those who have been to both the Dreamland cinema in Margate and any modern multiplex cinema.

I'm fairly sure that the last film I saw, at the Dreamland cinema was saving Private Ryan, during which I pondered whether Tom Hanks was less comfortable, fighting his way off the beach than me sitting in front of the big screen.

At the risk of offending local cinema operators, people's expectations have changed since the 1930s which I think is more then can be said for the decor of the dreamland the cinema, although butchered sometime in the late seventies, I for one have never felt any effort was put into customer comfort.

Although to be fair, there are worst cinemas in Thanet, like the one I saw King Kong at, which not only was tatty and grubby but unbelievably cold, fortunately I was saved from exposure by discovery of a woolly hat in my coat pocket.

Operating cinemas is a business, and the public expect a quality product, which is why the last time I went to the cinema, I travelled to Ashford so that I could enjoy the film, rather than endure the discomfort.

I don't suppose for 1 minute that the announcement of the closure, will change Thanet districts council's plans for Dreamland, the site. All that remains to be seen, is whether the building remains once it's been vacated, I personally think it will disappear before you can say art deco and listed building.

I doubt whether any cinema management teams, can operate 1930s buildings successfully as cinemas, in competition with multiplex venue's that have convenient parking, clean facilities, air conditioning and maybe heating in the winter months.


  1. Oh well, all my youth gone in an instant or so it appears. It wasn't quite the 1930's but the 1950's weren't too bad and we had a great ballroom too. Still its called "progress" isn't it? What a sad sorry sight Margate has become.
    What have we done to deserve the councils we have had over the last twenty years? I wish I knew.

  2. Don't forget the cinema in Westgate
    This was the cimema that in the early 90s was voted best cinema in the UK 2-years running if memory serves beating the likes of Leicester Square's.

  3. Another way in which the council are transferring everything to Westwood. I am sure they think they can make Margate into a Artistic Centre with a café society. This will never happen with the arcades etc near the beach. Perhaps they should give the locals the choice!

  4. Margate is stuck in 50's time warp.
    We need to stop trying to preserve her in aspic.

  5. In Brighton, where I live (although grew up in Margate) we have an alternative cinema which shows art house films, old movies. It has a bar as well and is multi-purpose.

    They could restore Dreamland cinema back to its former glory and use it for a cafe/bar and a cinema.

    Its a crying shame that on a prime site opposite the beach, in the centre of town, an art deco building can be treated in this way.

    Yet again another fatal mistake by the rubbish Thanet Council. It makes me laugh they actually think they could be like Brighton...get in the real world!

  6. In a way I am glad that Dreamland cinema has closed, because, honestly, it was awful. I don't even go to the Carlton anymore and that was my favourite cinema for a long time. I go to Vue. I'm sorry, but their leather seats are so comfortable and their cinemas are clean and tidy.

    However, I don't believe Dreamland cinema should go entirely. I think it needs to be different, but not in the way many people have suggested. I honestly see very little interest in art house films amongst Thanet's population and doubt the viability of such an idea.

    I'm an architecture student and I can really appreciate the lovely architecture of the cinema's facade. However, beyond that I see a building which has too many constraints to be used in a worthwhile manner. There is also very little of the interior left that is worth keeping now.

    My suggestion is something a little more contemporary. I think the facade should be restored and the ghastly arcade and terrible Cosmo restaurant removed altogether. I would then build two new cinemas behind the facade. IMAX ones.

    Yes, specifically IMAX ones. The first would be a huge flat screen, a crowd pleaser, showing general and 3D effect movies. The second one an IMAX dome. These generally show 3D movies of an educational nature. They make great places for school trips because of this.

    The nearest IMAX cinemas are in London, so we could potentially get people coming to visit from all over the county and school trips would help generate all year round revenue.

    It's bold, I know, but why not start over, keep the lovely facade and create something to excite.