News: May 2005

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

Monday, 30 May 2005

Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, was interviewed live on Sky News at 11.40am today. Nick was originally to have talked about Dreamland, as well as the opening of Thorpe Park's new ride, as Sky had planned to film footage in Margate over the opening weekend to use alongside the piece. Unfortunately, Sky was unable to gain the necessary permission to film at Dreamland, so the interview was changed and no reference was made to the Margate fun park. Nick, who was introduced as "a planning consultant for theme parks", talked about Thorpe's new ride, discussed other major new rides opening this year in the UK, and talked about the future of theme parks in general. The photograph on the right, showing the interview, is courtesy of Richard Foster of the European Coaster Club (click on the photo for a larger version and click here for another image from Thorpe Park).

Meridian Television also planned to cover Dreamland's opening for the 2005 season, but told the Save Dreamland Campaign that they couldn't come to an agreement about filming on the site, so cancelled the item.

Sunday, 29 May 2005

The operator of Dreamland, Harry Ayers, is reportedly happy with the park's first full day of operation, as Dreamland opens for the second day of the Bank Holiday Weekend. From reports, most rides are now operating, including the Scenic Railway. Entry to the park is on the purchase of tokens, but only one person in a family group needs to purchase the tokens.

The picture to the right shows one of Dreamland's biggest rides for the 2005 season, the Booster. We have added several new photographs of the park's first weekend on our Dreamland 2005 page.

Saturday, 28 May 2005

Dreamland opens for the 2005 season, on this sunny Bank Holiday weekend, and will now be open daily until 4 September. We hope to bring you pictures from new Dreamland shortly.

The opening of Dreamland will be featured on Sky News on Bank Holiday Monday. Save Dreamland Campaign Leader Nick Laister will be speaking live from Thorpe Park about the reopening of Dreamland and the opening of Thorpe Park's new ride, Rush, from 10am. Both Dreamland and Thorpe Park - the south east's two leading theme park attractions for 2005 - will be featured on Sky News throughout the day.

Saturday, 21 May 2005

Dreamland fails to open as planned. Reports suggest that not all rides have arrived and that there is still some further work to complete in preparing the park. Other reports have stated that a large number of people were seen around the park expecting it to be open. However, the park reportedly looks better than it has for a long time, with an interesting selection of rides.

For the latest pictures from Dreamland on 21 May, click here. For more details about Dreamland's news season, visit Dreamland 2005. With thanks to Alan Cooksey for the new photographs.


Tuesday, 17 May 2005

Further to yesterday's report, the Save Dreamland Campaign has learnt that there will be 15 major rides at the park for the summer season. A new Junior Log Flume has arrived today and a 100ft family coaster will be delivered later this evening. Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, said:

"I have spoken to Mr Ayers again this evening and I am convinced that, regardless of what we have reported about next year, this summer is going to be a fantastic season for Dreamland. More new rides are arriving on-site as I write, the site is tidier than it has been for years and a lot of money has already been spent. I think visitors to Margate are going to be surprised about how different Dreamland looks this year."

The park will have a family theme park atmosphere, with costumed characters in the park and a massive 20,000 has already been spent on upgrading the Scenic Railway.

Nick Laister adds: "The ride line-up is going to be very different to previous years. The only way that people can find out just how good Dreamland is looking this year is by getting down to the park and visiting it from next Saturday."

Posters advertising the New Dreamland have started appearing around Margate (see picture to the right). The posters advertise that Dreamland, "a fun filled day for all the family", will be open from 21 May to 4 September this year, and that there will be thrill rides, kiddies rides and family rides at the park. Click here for more details of the 2005 season.

Monday, 16 May 2005

The man who will operate Dreamland for 2005, Harry Ayers, has told the Save Dreamland Campaign that he will not return next year. This news comes only a matter of days before the park's long-awaited reopening on 21 May. Mr Ayers said that he has been disappointed by a lack of support from the Council and the people of Margate, including members of the Save Dreamland Campaign, in helping to clear up the site. Mr Ayers has told the Campaign that he would "leave the park tomorrow" if he could.

Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, spoke to Mr Ayers on Friday:

"This is very disappointing news from the person who is to open the park for the 2005 season, especially as the park hasn't even opened yet. Clearly, I cannot comment on the Council's support or lack of support, but I know there are people at the Council who were looking forward to the 2005 season as much as Campaign members.

"This is particularly disappointing because there is so much we could have done to help. Offers of help were made to Mr Ayers the first time we spoke several months ago, and repeated several times since. We could have organised a series of special days to get the park back into shape; I am sure that many of our members would have jumped at the chance to get involved in preparing Margate's biggest tourist attraction for the new season.

"We also offered to set up a special Dreamland website on this site, showing opening times, ride ticket prices and providing information about the park. This offer was also not accepted. Many people searching for details of Dreamland end up on the Save Dreamland website, and I get numerous telephone calls and emails from people asking me when the park is opening and how much ride tickets are. I think that people believe our site to be the official website. So it seemed obvious that we should provide this information on our website, but Mr Ayers has declined to provide us with details. This website attracts on average 10,500 visitors per day - that is a lot of potential park visitors! A real missed opportunity.

"In addition, the Save Dreamland Campaign has its own good media contacts, which I offered to get in touch with, to ensure that Dreamland's opening next week was a high profile media event, but Mr Ayers has decided not to avail himself of this offer either.

"It is very disappointing that Mr Ayers has written off the 2005 season before it has even started. Of course, this Campaign wishes Mr Ayers and all the staff at Dreamland the best of luck for the new season, but my personal hope is that the park will be in the hands of a more committed operator next year."

To the right is a close-up of the new Tower Drop ride, one of several rides that have now arrived at Dreamland. Click here for our Dreamland 2005 page, which now has several new photographs of the rides that visitors to Margate will see operating in a few days.

(The photograph to the right is reproduced with the permission of Richard Holland)

Finally, Margate's Shell Grotto will be featured on tomorrow evening's edition of Flog It (6pm, BBC2). Tell your friends, tune in, set the video and wonder at the beauty of the Grotto, the overwhelming enthusiasm of the presenter and the very scared interviewee (that's Local Save Dreamland Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery). And the new Shell Grotto website also launches tomorrow at

Thursday, 12 May 2005

Three large rides now tower over Dreamland as the park prepares to open for the 2005 season. The photograph on the right shows the Booster (left) and Drop Tower (right) above the Scenic Railway.

To celebrate Dreamland's two-year reprieve - as its long-term future is decided - the Save Dreamland Campaign is launching a special page devoted to the new season. We will include information on ride ticket prices, opening times, photographs of the park and other information on this page. If members have photographs of Dreamland please send them to

Click here for the Dreamland 2005 page!

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

The Save Dreamland Campaign has now commenced formal consultation with Thanet District Council about the future of Dreamland, having recently submitted its vision for the site to the Council as part of the current Local Plan review. The Campaign will be asking the Council to retain a major amusement park on the site and protect the site's key heritage, most notably the Scenic Railway and Cinema. With the backing of many of the town's community and business organisations, interest from established theme park operators and the results of the Council's Margate Masterplan consultation, the Council does not have to accept anything less. Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, has also met with the new owners of the site, Waterbridge Group, to discuss the future of the park. Discussions on the future of Dreamland are likely to continue well into 2006, and the Save Dreamland Campaign will be an important participant.

Friday, 6 May 2005

The BBC's Video Nation now features a short, 2 minute, 55 second, film of Margate, featuring Dreamland. Film maker Martin McDonald laments the forthcoming closure of Dreamland and explains how the town could improve its image. The film - called simply 'Margate' - can be viewed from the BBC Video Nation website.

Thursday, 5 May 2005

The front page of today's Thanet Adscene carries a report on Dreamland.