News: September 2004

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

Friday, 17 September 2004

French theme park webzine NewsParcs features an article on the Dreamland Farewell event held on Saturday 4 September. Written by French Campaign member and theme park designer Jean-Marc Toussaint, the article notes the high level of interest in the park from internationally renowned operators:

"What does the future hold? Uncertain, undoubtedly, but the hope is also strong. Recognized operators have proposed the continuation of Dreamland, a park which, at one time, accommodated up to 2 million visitors per annum. Grévin & Company, owner of Parc Astérix in France, started negotiations with Godden which, at the present time, do not seem to have succeeded. Philip Miller, director of Adventure Island, a very popular park in Great Britain, has also confirmed that he is ready to invest several million pounds sterling for the acquisition and refurbishment of the site."

The article notes the high level of interest in the farewell event:

"...a few hundred people attended the park on Saturday September 4, from 7pm to midnight, to celebrate with dignity the last day of the season. For five hours, the Scenic Railway trains did not stop running in an environment that resembled a discotheque, with the addition of smoke, bubbles, thundering music and multicoloured lighting. In this festive atmosphere, everyone could appreciate the meticulous care taken on the maintenance of the coaster, as fluid and pleasant as on the day of its inauguration, 84 years ago."

Read the full article by clicking here (the article is written in French).

Thursday, 16 September 2004

Dreamland features heavily in a new film from British artist Tracey Emin. 'Top Spot' is showing as part of the London Film Festival on 22 October at the Odeon West End. A trailer of the 63 minute film can be seen by clicking here. Margate-born Emin, a long-standing supporter of the Save Dreamland Campaign, personally loaned her film 'Riding for a Fall' to the Save Dreamland Convention in 2003, the first time an Emin film had been screened in her home town.

Monday, 13 September 2004

A Photo Gallery of the successful Farewell Event at Dreamland on 4 September has been added. Click here to relive that fun evening.

In other news, the Save Dreamland Campaign is featured in a wooden coaster calendar for 2005, published by S&D Greetings. The 14x22 inch full-sized wall calendar also includes over 35 colour photos, information and stats for all the coasters and amusement parks featured and bios on contributing photographers. The Calendar should be available to purchase from this site soon.

Click here for many more Dreamland photo galleries.


Thursday, 9 September 2004

Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, was a guest on The Evening Show with Sue Dougan on BBC radio networked across the south of England, discussing the Save Dreamland Campaign and Britain's seaside heritage in general. Nick also answered listeners questions on subject as diverse as DSS hostels in Hastings and the price of beer at Butlins!

Sunday, 5 September 2004

The Dreamland 'farewell' evening was covered extensively by the media, including Amusement Today, Coaster World, Theme Park Adventure, Teletext and Screamscape, amongst others.

Saturday, 4 September 2004

The Save Dreamland Campaign held its hugely successful 'Dreamland says Goodnight' evening. Campaign Leader, Nick Laister says that the evening exceeded his expectations:

"It was a fantastic night. We had a great turnout, the weather was good, and the Scenic Railway was just perfect. The ride was fully illuminated and looked quite an amazing sight as darkness fell. Dave Collard had two trains running fairly early on in the proceedings and they were running at capacity until late in the night. In the end we all had to stop riding at midnight, but I know we could have all continued for much longer. This event demonstrated to me just how many people really care about the future of Dreamland."

The crowd was made up of everyone from long-standing campaign members to holidaymakers who dropped by to show their support:

"I would like to thank everybody for coming, and also those who helped put the evening together. Firstly, David Wallis for hosting the event, and for partly funding the catering. A big thank you to Dave Collard and Simon Goodenough for making the Scenic Railway run so smoothly. Thanks also to Mick Twyman of the Margate Historical Society, and to all the people who did the lighting - Steve and Caroline Pankhurst, Dave and Adam - several people said they had never seen the Scenic looking so good, and I would agree!"

"I would also like to mention some of the people who travelled great distances to be with us: our public inquiry advocate Susan Marsh and her family from Manchester; Nick and his wife from Cornwall; Gez and Cheryl from Birmingham; AJ; Jean-Marc Toussaint (theme park designer for Grevin & Cie and other international operators), who travelled over from France especially to be with us this evening; and Justin Garvanovic, founder of the European Coaster Club. I can honestly say with complete conviction that it was worth it - I travelled down from Blackpool on Saturday afternoon and only just made it for the Scenic's first ride, but I would do it all over again!"

"Finally, I would like to thank the remarkable Sarah Vickery, without whom this event would not have happened. Against all odds (and I can definitely say there were several major obstacles along the way), she managed to put together a fantastic evening, and kept battling the odds right through Saturday evening (Sarah overcame a technical hitch with the catering and the park owner, just as the event started, in her usual style!)."

"I hope that we can do it again next year!"

Click here for a Photo Gallery of the evening. Discuss Saturday's event on our Forum.

Friday, 3 September 2004

The Isle of Thanet Gazette carries a report on Dreamland under the headline 'Doors close on Dreamland but fight continues', with yet further evidence that Dreamland is viable and should continue to operate. David Wallis, who operated the park for 2004 season on a lease from the park's owner, has said that he would like to return for another season if owner Jimmy Godden lets him. Wallis told the Gazette:

"We do feel that there is a need for this type of entertainment in Margate."

The Save Dreamland Campaign couldn't agree more! Mr Wallis also ran Dreamland in 2003, and described the 2004 season as "successful", despite the bad weather and uncertainty over the park's future.

The article also previewed the Save Dreamland Campaign's 'Dreamland says Goodnight' event on Saturday, noting the high level of interest from established park operators in acquiring and running the site.

Thursday, 2 September 2004

Campaign Leader Nick Laister is interviewed on KMFM about the forthcoming farewell event on Saturday, and provided an update on campaign progress.