History of Dreamland

Historical Timeline Inspired by Perry Kulper

From 1870 George Sanger was the owner of the Hall By The Sea and the land behind this was his pleasure garden which contained a menagerie of animals he kept for show. Shortly after this the first amusement rides were introduced. to Margate.

In 1911 George Sanger died leaving the uncertainty of the Pleasure Park as its future was unknown. Most of the visitors came for the attraction of Sanger and his charisma. The site was sold to John Henry Iles.

In 1919 John Henry Iles purchased the Hall By The Sea. He brought the site for £40,000 but spent £500,000 creating his vision of an amusement park which he called Dreamland. He also built the iconic wooden roller coaster also known as the Scenic Railway.

The famous Art-Deco inspired Dreamland Cinema was built in 1935 by architects Julian Leathart and WF Granger. Arguably one the most iconic buildings of Margate inspired cinema design around the UK. The cinema is now Grade II listed..

In 1940 Dreamland was requisitioned by the government and held over 2000 troops and allies after the attack at Dunkirk and continued to serve soldiers throughout the war. In 1946 Dreamland reopened again.

The 1950s welcomed a new era of optimism after the war years sparking new hope and interests in the design and entertainment industry. Dreamland was where people could dress up to impress and enjoy good music and entertainment.

Like most seaside towns in the 1960s, Margate was in it’s golden era with the economy and tourism on the rise with day trippers and holiday makers staying at the popular seaside resort. Margate was a town thriving in life.

In the 1970s, Dreamland was taken over by Associated Leisure Entertainments LTD. They introduced new rides, renovated the cinema and welcomed a small zoo in Dreamland.

In 1980s the park was again sold to Bembom Brothers who owned a Dutch theme park. They welcomed new rides and put a more family-fun feeling on Dreamland.

The theme park was given its previous name Dreamland and was sold off by the Bembom Brothers to Folkestone amusement park owner Jimmy Goodden. He welcomed a larger family appeal by introducing more traditional rides. However, the decline of Dreamland had began with the approach of a new millennium. There were rumours that the site would be turned into a supermarket or made into flats.

The early 2000s brought an uncertain future for Dreamland and its heritage meaning that the Scenic Railway was made a Grade II listed rollercoaster. In 2003 there was a Save Dreamland Campaign as residents did not want the site to be sold however, in 2007 the park closed. in 2008 there was an arson attack in the park destroying part of the Scenic railway and prompting people to protect Dreamland. The Heritage Lottery Fund, Thanet District Council and the Sea Change Fund supported the redevelopment of Dreamland.

After several years of campaigning, Dreamland site saw a redevelopment of design and change and finally reopened in June 2015. Dreamland continues to expand and remain at the heart of Margate.

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