Save Dreamland Convention: 1st June 2003
The Save Dreamland Convention on 1 June 2003 at Margate's historic Theatre Royal was a massive success, and received extensive press coverage. Below are some of the highlights of the Convention in pictures...
The day began at 10.00am for advance ticket holders with an exclusive
behind-the-scenes tour of the Scenic Railway, courtesy of brakemen Dave
Collard and John Husband. The tour included a visit to the huge Scenic
The day began at 10.00am for advance ticket holders with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Scenic Railway, courtesy of brakemen Dave Collard and John Husband. The tour included a visit to the huge Scenic Railway workshops.
During the workshop tour, John Husband - who has worked on the ride for a quarter of a century - explained that the ride could not feasibly be moved. Given its age, when wood has to be replaced it has to actually be sawn from the ride to be removed. Only very small amounts of wood (the most recently replaced) could ever be salvaged; the vast majority would need to be scrapped.
doors to the Theatre Royal opened at 11.30am, with crowds having
gathered outside. Both the BBC and Meridian film crews were already
inside the venue interviewing Nick Laister, Sarah Vickery and Richard
The first hour gave the audience an opportunity to enjoy the trade stands and Dreamland memorabilia and chat to fellow campaigners. The 10-foot model of the Scenic Railway, built by Mick Tomlinson and on display at the park for many years, proved particularly popular.
12.30pm local Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery welcomed everyone to
the event and thanked our hosts the Theatre Royal.
The programme began with Mick Tomlinson, a Margatonian and local councillor who has organised Margate Carnival for many years. Mick worked at Dreamland for a number of years and was well qualified to take us on a journey through the highs and lows of the park’s colourful history.
first film was a bit of a surprise. Margate’s most famous daughter
Tracey Emin is very supportive of the Campaign and sent her film Riding
for a Fall for us to show. To our knowledge, an Emin film has never been
screened in her home town, so this was a coup!
Our next speakers focussed on the importance of the Scenic Railway. Richard Foster, Chairman of the 1500-strong European Coaster Club (ECC), came to us fresh from his recent appearance on the Richard and Judy Show! Justin Garvanovic, Founder of the ECC and co-founder of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, is regarded as one of the world's leading roller coaster experts and is editor of First Drop magazine. They reiterated why the ride is so well loved by enthusiasts around the world, and also noted its huge international historical importance.
Our next short film was filmed in Super 8mm, and featured the park in the mid-1970s, demonstrating how much the park had changed. The Scenic Railway had, however, changed very little.
Now go to Part Two for a report of the rest of the Convention, plus the gathering of campaigners in front of the Scenic Railway itself for photographs and many roller coaster rides!
With thanks to the Theatre Royal, Margate, for hosting the event.
Back to Save Dreamland Campaign