News: September 2006

In  January 2003 the owner of Dreamland, Jimmy Godden, announced the closure of Dreamland. The park is to be redeveloped as "leisure boxes, some retail and a supermarket". Joyland Books will provide updates on the campaign to save Dreamland and its internationally-important Scenic Railway ride.

Click here for the latest news

Saturday, 30 September 2006

Campaign members were in attendance at the Margate Exodus Burning of the Waste Man this evening, along with thousands of spectators. After the Burn campaigners handed out leaflets to the departing crowds. Local Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery comments: "We must have distributed around 1000 Campaign leaflets - we ran out very quickly because people were seeking us out to take one. We did try to hand one over to Jimmy Godden as he left, but he wasn't inclined to wind his car window down sadly." With thanks to Dave Collard, Paul Freeman and Rhyannon Richardson for helping out. (Photograph: Paul Freeman)

The owners of Dreamland, the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC), has launched its consultation website, www.textmargate.com. The website does not yet provide any information on MTCRC, nor does it state that the company owns Dreamland, but people can already send their "ideas on the future of Margate town centre".

The launch of the new website is covered in Friday's Isle of Thanet Gazette, with the curious headline 'Dreamland: Now it's time to have you say'.



Tuesday, 26 September 2006

An article on the Channel 4 film The Margate Exodus is in today's Guardian. You can read the article, written by Save Dreamland Campaign member Iain Aitch, here. Margate Exodus, organised by arts charity Artangel, will involve hundreds of local people in a retelling of the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery and will culminate in the burning of a 25m high figurative sculpture in Dreamland. 'Exodus Day' is on September 30 - see themargateexodus.org.uk for full details.

Friday, 22 September 2006

London's Burning star Rupert Baker has joined the Save Dreamland Campaign. The actor, who originates from Kent, is most well-known for playing leading fire-fighter Malcolm Cross in five seasons of the long-running ITV drama series, which ran from 1988 to 2002.

Rupert says: "I have very strong feelings about saving Dreamland and keeping an amusement park in the town. I also have many happy memories of the park from childhood and later on visits with girlfriends on the motor bike".

Rupert is currently on tour in Tunes of Glory with the Middle Ground Theatre Company.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Channel 4 airs the documentary 'The Ups and Downs of the Scenic', the history of the Dreamland Scenic Railway. Forming part of the Seaside Secrets Series, the programme included extensive footage of the Scenic Railway and features Save Dreamland Campaign leader Nick Laister telling the story of how the ride came to be built at Margate. Click here to view the documentary online.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

The Scenic Railway features as The 20th Century Society's Building of the Month for September, with a piece written by TDC Conservation Architect Nick Dermott highlighting the coaster's plight. Click here to visit the Society's site and read the article.

In less positive news, the Save Dreamland Campaign is sad to report that demolition of the Cyclone roller coaster in Southport, built in 1937, has now commenced. This follows the surprise closure of the park on 6 September. Click here for photographs and to read the comments of Southport residents. Discuss this news on the Save Dreamland Forum.

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

A brand new documentary about Dreamland's Scenic Railway will air on Channel 4 this coming Monday, 18 September 2006. Part of the popular Seaside Secrets series, the programme is called 'The Ups and Downs of the Scenic' and tells the story of this historic ride. Presented by Tony Livesey, editor-in-chief and managing director of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers, presenter of the BBC Radio Lancashire breakfast show and sports reporter on BBC North West Tonight, the programme is understood to include interviews with Dreamland operator George Webb, Save Dreamland Campaigner Nick Laister and Dreamland historian Mick Tomlinson. The programme airs at 1.20pm - set your video recorders!

Saturday, 9 September 2006

News on Dreamland appeared in Tuesday's Thanet Times:

The Exodus has started

Dreamland was due to close on Sunday as Channel 4 crews get ready to film Margate Exodus. Showman George Webb says he hopes to come back next season and is in negotiations with the park's owners.

George said:" The bungee has been running and people have been using it. The film company is due to take over on September 10, and it takes a couple of days to pack up the park. We are negotiating bits and pieces with the contract but I want to come back. It is not making vast money but it will pick up. I am also going to see if the bungee can be kept running in the car park for a bit longer."

Channel 4 are using local people to film Margate Exodus. which is a retelling of a biblical story.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Southport's Pleasureland amusement park has announced that it has closed down, with immediate effect. The announcement was made to staff yesterday at a special meeting; most of the staff have been made redundant. This closure comes little over two years after its owners, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, acquired the adjacent Southport Zoo in order to expand the park. A statement issued today reads:

"It is with regret that the Directors of Pleasureland Ltd announce the closure of their Pleasureland Amusement Park. We are extremely saddened to have to make this announcement, especially as our hard-working and loyal team here has helped us so much in our endeavours over the years.


"Pleasureland has proved unsustainable as a ride park, despite our repeated significant investments in capital attractions. These include the 5million TRAUMAtizer roller coaster, the Space Shot vertical drop ride, and the Casablanca Family Entertainment Centre, none of which sadly has generated a return on capital."

"It must be acknowledged that the UK theme park industry as a whole is facing increased competition from publicly-funded and lottery-funded attractions which have significantly distorted the visitor attractions market. This situation has been compounded by our weekend trading now competing with extended Sunday shopping rules and Sunday sporting events. We recognise that Pleasureland has long been an integral part of the resort and we will be working closely with Sefton Council to discuss a practicable future for the site. Our immediate efforts will now be with our staff; our Human Resources team will be working together with external agencies to help and advise them as much as we possibly can, at what is a difficult time for
all of us involved."

Save Dreamland Campaign Local Coordinator Sarah Vickery commented: "Of course, we're saddened by this news. However, contrary to the owner's cry of 'unsustainable', this closure has very little, if anything, to do with the park's viability, and is no reflection on the future of seaside amusement parks. It has no impact on the Campaign except, inevitably, to make us fight all the more vehemently for the future of Dreamland."

Discuss this news on our Forum here.

And read the history of Pleasureland Amusement Park in the 2005 book Pleasureland Memories. Click here for more details.