News: November 2003

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

Sunday, 30 November 2003

Today was a worrying day for members of the Save Dreamland Campaign as another fire hit Dreamland. Six fire engines attended the blaze, which broke out at around 1500. Sarah Vickery reported from the site that the fire had broken out on the Waltzer (pictured earlier in the year, right), and that the Scenic Railway was unaffected. By 1600 the fire had been brought under control, but the Waltzer ride was completely destroyed. The ride had recently been advertised for sale in trade newspaper World's Fair.

Discuss today's Dreamland fire in the Save Dreamland Forum.

The Save Dreamland Campaign is not alone in its struggle to save an amusement park and its heritage. Click here for an interview with Mike Short, who is heading up a campaign to save the Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds, Bradford, and the Grade II listed Aerial Glide ride. Courtesy of The Magic Eye.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003

Antique Amusement Magazine features a full-page article on the Save Dreamland Campaign's progress through 2003 in its November issue (Issue 122). In the article, Campaign Leader Nick Laister says:

"The Save Dreamland Campaign is undoubtedly in a much stronger position now than it was at the start of the year. The profile of the issue has been raised locally, decision-makers have been lobbied and we now have support from all over the world. Most newspapers are giving us positive press, although one local newspaper famously described Campaign members as a 'rather pathetic group of mourners'. That did not go unnoticed by our members."

You can subscribe to Antique Amusement Magazine, which regularly features stories on amusement park and fairground preservation, by clicking here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003

One for the collector. Steve Hunt of Antique Amusement Magazine has informed us that these scenic railway carvings appear in the catalogue for this Sunday's Vintage Amusement Auction at the Huntingdon Racecourse, Brampton. As the photograph on the right shows, they look identical to those on the Dreamland trains, but Steve is not certain of their origin. Can anyone shed any light on this? The sale starts at 11am and further details can be found on the Auction website:

Dreamland Remembered author Nick Evans will be offering copies of Dreamland Remembered, the Dreamland mug and
framed reproductions of old Dreamland posters from his stand at the following events:

Sun 30 November, Antique & Collectors Fair, Court Stairs, Pegwell near Ramsgate, 10am to 4pm

Sun 7 December, Tankerton Christmas Street Market, High Street, Tankerton, Whitstable, 1pm to 6pm.

Sun 14 December, Christmas Craft Fair, Broadstairs Pavilion, off York Street, Broadstairs, 10am to 4pm.

Dreamland mugs are also now on sale at the tourism centres in Thanet at 4.50 over the counter and also from The Shell Grotto, Margate. The Shell Grotto also has some of Nick Evans' framed posters on sale too. The frames are 24 each or two for 45.

A range of Dreamland photographs and gifts, celebrating the park's years under the ownership of the Bembom Brothers, is also available to buy online via the Save Dreamland website by clicking here.

Above: Scenic Railway carvings at the Vintage Amusement Auction, 30 November 2003. Below: Nick Evans' Dreamland Posters


Saturday, 15 November 2003

Nick Laister and Sarah Vickery have completed a very busy week of meetings in their campaign to save Dreamland. Nick Laister says:

"We are both aware that there has been very little news about the campaign over the past few weeks. But please don't assume that because there is no news that nothing is happening - that couldn't be further from the truth. We have spent the last couple of weeks meeting lots of different people who can really make a difference when it comes to the future of Dreamland. At this moment in time, things are looking positive, but we can't say more than that at the moment. In my experience planning and development is a very slow process, with numerous different parties involved; things rarely happen quickly. But as soon as anything firm is announced, we will let all our members know straight away. Stay tuned!"

Tuesday, 4 November 2003

Following on from yesterday's story about Britain's second listed amusement park ride, an attempt was made today by the owner of Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds to demolish the ride. Police were called, and council officials attended the scene and the attempt was halted. It is not yet known whether the park owner will be charged. 

Before the police arrived at the scene, a substantial section of the running rail was removed, and one of the support towers was partly dismantled.

Demolition - in whole or in part - of a listed building is a criminal offence and, if prosecuted, comes with a hefty fine and/or a prison sentence. More details of this unfolding drama will be posted on the Joyland Books News page and on the dedicated Aerial Glide/Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds website.

On a brighter note, Dreamland Remembered author Nick Evans will be at Broadstairs Pavilion this Sunday with his table full of Dreamland goodies. See news report on Tuesday 28 November for details of his range of merchandise.

Monday, 3 November 2003

As of Friday 31 October, Dreamland's Scenic Railway is no longer Britain's only listed amusement park ride. Save Dreamland Campaign Leader Nick Laister was drafted in by a campaign group fighting to save the Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds (Shipley, West Yorkshire), which the owner wants to redevelop as a housing estate. The campaign group had heard rumours that the biggest ride at the Pleasure Grounds, the circa 1900 Aerial Glide (the oldest surviving amusement park ride in the UK) was about to be demolished. Nick Laister and local campaigner Mike Short put together a report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) requesting the ride be spot listed. The report, which was received by the DCMS on Thursday 30 October, was given emergency status by English Heritage. The ride was listed the following day. Click here to find out more about the ride and to download for free the report that resulted in the ride being listed.
Above: The Aerial Glide at Shipley Glen Pleasure Grounds, West Yorkshire (Photo:

Sunday, 2 November 2003

A new Photo Gallery has been added to the Save Dreamland website. Dreamland: The Bembom Years takes you on a trip back in time to a period when Dreamland was drawing in 2 million visitors a year, and was the UK's number 2 pay-on-entry park (second only to Alton Towers). See the Scenic Railway, Water Chute, Big Wheel and the famous Looping Star. Plus, we have teamed up with Joyland Books to offer you the chance to buy large 8"x10" colour prints of all the photographs. You can also turn your favourite photograph into a Dreamland gift - choose from Mouse Mats, T-Shirts, Mugs and much more. 

Click here for the new Photo Gallery.

Click here for the latest news

Return to Save Dreamland

Return to Joyland Books: for the biggest selection of amusement park books on the Web!