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
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Last Minute Reprieve for Rhyl's
Following the disappointing
news that the
UK's last surviving circular water chute at the defunct
Ocean Beach Fun Fair in Rhyl had been demolished before it
could be dismantled for use in the proposed Dreamland
Heritage Amusement Park, the Save Dreamland Campaign has
managed to secure the key remaining mechanical parts of the
ride along with the boats. This means that a complete
rebuild of the ride is now a strong possibility.
The last minute rescue effort
followed a chance conversation between Nick Laister and a
heritage consultant in Nick's office kitchen late on
Thursday afternoon. Nick discovered that if enough of the
original mechanical parts of the Water Chute could be
salvaged, the prospect of rebuilding the ride would be
Nick explains: "I was told by
one of our heritage experts that salvaging the key
mechanical parts of the ride - the motor, gears, boats,
pumps, etc - means that a project to recreate the Water
Chute would technically be a rebuild rather than a replica,
as the ride is essentially a piece of industrial machinery.
This could potentially open up additional funding sources
that would not be available for a pure replica project. This
opinion was independently verified. Although the main
structure had been demolished, we knew that there was a
strong possibility that the key mechanical parts and the
boats may well still survive - at least for a few more
and Nick Laister then commenced a fairly intense period of
telephone calls to the owners of Ocean Beach, contractors,
transport companies and others who may be able to help with
the salvage operation, knowing that the deadline for the
handover of Ocean Beach was Wednesday 31 October.
Susan takes up the story:
"Thankfully, on this occasion luck was with us and enough of
the ride was still on site for us to be able to attempt a
With everything arranged
between Friday morning and Monday afternoon, Susan and her
husband Eric were on-site at Rhyl this morning to meet the
owner, Harold Robinson, and the Save Dreamland Campaign's
contractor, Jed Hopkinson, who gave up a day off to assist
Susan adds: "We rescued all
four boats, the main motor, gears, pumps, side motors, water
pump for the spray and other bits and pieces, filling a 45
foot trailer. The Campaign even had to demolish a building
to take out the gears!
Campaign did not have time to organise a round of fund
raising for this exercise and our wider funding for the
project is still not in place. We therefore had to take a
leap of faith and book a contractor to dismantle the gears
and to load the items and we had to book a trailer to get
the mechanical items off the park. Not only does the
Campaign now have to pay for the contractor and trailer, we
now have to transport the items to Thanet this week and hire
lifting equipment to unload it in Thanet."
announced on 13 October
that our funder - who was to have paid for the entire
dismantling and transport of the Water Chute to Thanet - had
pulled out, many campaigners offered financial support to
the campaign. Now we really do need financial help quickly
to enable us to get the key parts of the Water Chute down to
Thanet and safely in storage for the heritage project. The
Dreamland Trust needs up to £2,000 to pay for the
contractors, transport and plant. If you are able to
contribute please email
The photo gallery below
shows the Save Dreamland Campaign dismantling the main
mechanical items from the Water Chute at Ocean Beach earlier
The remains of the Water Chute pool.
The crane lifting the gears can be seen behind the
Contractor Jed Hopkinson and the Trust's Susan
The Water Chute gears being lifted.
The main Water Chute motor.
Susan Marsh, Ocean Beach owner Harold Robinson and
The first boat to be rescued.
Susan surveying the salvaged items: various motors,
gears and boat.
The first boat being lifted onto the trailer.
Eric Marsh surveys the loading.
More items are loaded onto the trailer.
Spray motor and car safely strapped to the trailer.
The Ocean Beach stairs are removed - the Dreamland
Trust is not taking these!
The steps are demolished.
Eric and driver load the boat cladding.
The final boat (minus its cladding) is loaded - this
boat was undergoing restoration.
The Campaign team at Ocean Beach, all items loaded.
A last tie down.
Ready to roll.
The full load being taken to temporary storage in
Saturday, 27 October 2007
A brief catch-up of minor news items.
The Thanet Times of 23 October provided more evidence that
the people of Thanet are suffering from Dreamland consultation
fatigue after yet another public consultation exercise on Dreamland.
The Isle of Thanet Gazette on
19 October featured a short letter on the future of Dreamland.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Plans for a heritage amusement
park at Dreamland in Margate were dealt a significant blow
as demolition started this week on Britain's last surviving
circular water chute at the
Ocean Beach Fun Fair, Rhyl. The ride, which was earmarked for the
Dreamland project, is the last surviving
example of a ride that was once common across Britain.
Identical rides once operated at Battersea Fun Fair
(London), Belle Vue (Manchester), Pleasure
Beach (Blackpool), Pleasure Beach (Great Yarmouth), Coney
Beach (Porthcawl) and at Dreamland itself.
The Save Dreamland Campaign had reached agreement to
dismantle the ride for use in the proposed heritage
amusement park, and contractors were booked to commence work
on Monday 15 October. As reported below (see news item on
Saturday, 13 October 2007), the Campaign's financier pulled
out just hours before dismantling was to commence.
Above: The remains of the
Water Chute at 8.30am on Wednesday 24 October.
Click here for more photos.
As the owners of Ocean beach, Rhyl Amusements Ltd, had to hand over a vacant site to
developer Modus Properties on 31 October, it was not
possible for the Campaign to raise the necessary funds to
pay for the dismantling of the ride in the time available.
On 20 October, the demolition of the Water Chute sadly
commenced, and all the team involved in the Dreamland
heritage amusement park project could do was watch
A photo gallery of the
demolition of the ride, showing progress over the last few
days, appears on relaunched amusement park history website,
Click here for the gallery and
an earlier gallery of Ocean Beach photographs.
In other news, last week
(16th and 17th October) saw Susan Marsh attending the English Heritage Conference in
Seaside Heritage, colourful past, bright future, to
represent the Dreamland Trust/Save Dreamland Campaign.
There she met up with Campaign Leader and Dreamland Trust
Chairman Nick Laister, who was attending for the two days on
behalf of his company.
Susan reports: "It was a
very interesting two days which saw many mentions of
Margate, references to Dreamland and even the Campaign by
the last afternoon it was suggested from the platform that
perhaps the ĎMí word should be omitted as the conference was
supposed to be about the whole of England!"
During one question and
answer session the panel were asked to name their
suggestions for the seaside town that was likely to prosper
in the future and Margate was there on the list.
The first day was followed
by a reception in Bexhill to launch the English Heritage
book England's Seaside Resorts by Allan Brodie and Gary
Winter. Nick and Susan spent time
during all the breaks in the conference programme, and at the
evening reception, talking to senior directors of several organisations attempting to raise the
funds required to
dismantle the Water Chute at Rhyl.
Susan then represented the
Dreamland Trust and the Campaign at the launch of English
Heritageís book Margate's Seaside Heritage
by Nigel Barker, Allan Brodie, Nick Dermott, Lucy Jessop and
Gary Winter on 18 October at the Theatre Royal, which gave her another opportunity
to attempt to find a benefactor for the Water Chute.
Susan comments: "Sadly all our efforts were
doomed for failure as the plans for Dreamland were not far
enough advanced, and the land not transferred to a trust
(or other not-for-profit organisation) which
would have allowed the money to have been made available to
us. Many were sympathetic but their hands were tied."
Whilst in Margate, Susan met
with Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership,
Jason Wood (the Heritage Consultant advising on the heritage
amusement park proposals) and Professor John Walton
(author of the acclaimed new book on the history of
Blackpool Pleasure Beach,
Rainbows), to discuss the outcomes of the meeting with the
Heritage Lottery Fund (previously reported) and
the next steps for the project. Susan also had some
discussions with Sandy Ezekiel, Leader of Thanet District
Council , and he reaffirmed Council support for the work
the Campaign and Trust are doing.
Saturday, 13 October 2007
The Save Dreamland
Campaign has announced that it is unlikely to be
able to save the world's last surviving circular water
chute, currently standing awaiting demolition at Ocean
Beach Amusement Park in Rhyl. The Campaign had agreed
some time ago with the owners of the park, which closed
for good last month, to acquire and dismantle the ride
for use in the proposed Heritage Amusement Park project
at Dreamland. Hopkinson Construction Engineering were
due to go on site on Monday 15 October and commence
dismantling. Although the ownership of the park was to
pass to developers Modus Properties on 1 November, an
extension had provisionally been agreed to allow the
dismantling to continue to 14 November. Unfortunately,
the Campaign's funders pulled out yesterday evening,
making it unlikely that the Campaign can now save this
Click on the image for a larger picture.
Campaign Leader Nick
Laister said: "This is very disappointing after all the
work campaign members have done over the past few
months, especially as this is the last of its kind. It
would have been a signature ride at the Heritage
Amusement Park alongside the Scenic Railway.
Negotiations are of course continuing, but if we can't
find the £48,950 that we need by Monday morning, the
chances of us saving the ride will have significantly
chutes once operated at Great Yarmouth, Porthcawl, Belle
Vue, Blackpool, Battersea, Southend and of course
Margate, but all have now been demolished. The Rhyl
Water Chute, which originates from the Kursaal Amusement
Park in Southend-on-Sea, is identical to the water chute
that operated at Dreamland until about 1996.
Nick Laister continues: "If anyone can think of any way
we can get our hands on £49k, plus cover transport
costs, in 48 hours, we would love to hear from you! We
need somebody with very deep pockets and a love for
amusement park rides! (This cannot be in the form of a
loan, as we cannot guarantee that it can be repaid)."
other news, the future of Dreamland was covered
extensively in yesterday's Isle of Thanet Gazette.
Saturday, 6 October 2007
Representatives of the
Save Dreamland Campaign and Thanet District Council had a
meeting with the Heritage Lottery Fund at their
offices in London. The Campaign, represented by Nick Laister
and Susan Marsh, were greeted in reception with a welcome
notice (see right). The meeting, which ran for well over two
hours, was an initial discussion on the prospects of the
Dreamland Trust making a successful application for grant
funding to assist with the Heritage Amusement Park proposal.
Also in attendance at the
meeting were Doug Brown and Nick Dermott of Thanet District
Council and heritage consultant Jason Wood. Susan Marsh,
secretary of the Dreamland Trust, described the day as
In other Heritage Amusement Park
Brown, Head of Planning at Thanet District Council, has
invited the Save Dreamland Campaign to put forward its views
on the new Dreamland Planning Brief in a special meeting
next week. The meeting is to be held at the Shell Grotto
in Margate at 7pm on Tuesday 9 October and all are welcome.
planning applications for the Dreamland site will be
considered against the brief, so it is important that your
views are heard by the Council. To download the brief in
click here. To view the summary brief on the Council's
click here. If you canít make the meeting, you can tell
the Council what you think of the brief by filling in the
online survey form
here. The consultation ends on Friday 12 October 2007,
so donít delay - get your comments in now!
Finally, an update on recent local Dreamland-related news.
The letters age of the Thanet Times on 25 September
featured a further letter on the closure of the Dreamland
on 26 September 2007 featured two small items.
And the Isle
of Thanet Gazette reported, perhaps somewhat prematurely, on a
name change for the Save Dreamland Campaign in its 28 September
here for the latest news
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